Find village charm, big-city sophistication, and a view for the ages in Southern California

High above Pacific Palisades, the view from Temescal Ridge takesin a vast area of Santa Monica Bay. As the sun drops to thehorizon, a hiker pauses to watch the denouement to the day.

"Struck by beauty?" asks a smiling woman passing him as sheraces down the trail.

Well, as a matter of fact, yes. It's one of those SouthernCalifornia moments when the light brings the ocean, the mountains,and the city into perfect harmony. "I'm giving in to it," hereplies. "Just for a few minutes."

Seconds later the big payoff comes.

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GETTING THERE

Pacific Palisades is centered on Sunset Blvd. between I-405 andState 1/Pacific Coast Hwy. For information, contact the Pacific Palisades Chamber ofCommerce; 310/459-7963.

WHAT TO DO

Getty Villa A reinvented landmark. INFO: Free advance timed ticketsrequired; $8 parking; 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy.; 310/440-7300.

Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine A soulful and meditative escape to a place of surpassingbeauty. INFO: Closed Mon; free; 17190 Sunset Blvd.;310/454-4114.

Temescal Gateway Park Shaded picnic area and 3-mile(round-trip) canyon loop hike to a small waterfall, as well ashiking access into Topanga State Park. INFO: 15601 Sunset Blvd. atTemescal Canyon Rd.; $5 parking; www.lamountains.com;310/454-1395.

Will Rogers State Historic Park Tour the ranch house (11, 1, and 2 Tue-Sun), or head out ontrails to outstanding city and ocean views. INFO: Off Sunset Blvd.at 1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd.; $7 parking; 310/454-8212.

WHERE TO EAT

Cafe Vida Popular local spot offers sidewalk seating and adiverse menu emphasizing fresh, natural ingredients. INFO: $$;15317 Antioch St.; 310/573-1335.

Intemperantia Save up some calories for these imported Swisschocolates. INFO: 15324 Antioch St.; 800/982-0088.

Modo Mio Traditional Italian in an Old World atmosphere.INFO: $$$;15200 Sunset Blvd.; 310/459-0979.

WHERE TO SHOP

BOCA Man The Palisades is filled with quality women's andchildren's stores; here's one for the guys. INFO: 15300 AntiochSt.; 310/454-3891.

Chefmakers High-end cookware and hands-on cooking classes. INFO: 872 Viade la Paz; 310/459-9444.

Elyse Walker Popular clothing, shoe, and handbag boutiquecarries a wide range of designers. INFO: 15306 Antioch St.;310/230-8882.

Village Books Thoughtful selection and a helpful,enthusiastic staff make it a perfect alternative to chain stores.INFO: 1049 Swarthmore Ave.; 310/454-4063.

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