2. L.A.'s best escape: Shop, dine, and relax in and around Santa Monica
Moments from LAX, breathe in the ocean air. And then get busy. Check out design stores and one-of-a-kind clothing boutiques along Santa Monica's Montana Avenue or Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard. For more conventional shopping, stroll the Third Street Promenade.
Take a long lunch at a nearby cafe. If you're feeling adventurous, rent kayaks and jet skis in Marina del Rey. Want more? Explore Santa Monica Pier and Venice Boardwalk. Stop for tea at Jin Patisserie. Absorb art at Bergamot Station. Indulge at a Zen retreat. The perfect end to one of these perfect days? Decompress with a sunset cocktail at the Huntley's 18th-floor restaurant bar before dining, then slowly sink into a comfy bed. ― Kathryn Harris
INFO: Marina del Rey Convention & Visitors Bureau. 310/305-9545.
Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau. 800/544-5319, or 310/393-7593.
Venice Chamber of Commerce. 310/822-5425.
Bergamot Station. Art center with 37 galleries, a cafe, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art. 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; www.bergamotstation.com
Marina Boat Rentals. Kayak rental from $15 per hour, jet skis $83 per hour. Fisherman's Village, 13719 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey; 310/574-2822.
One the Spa. Nautically themed spa by celebrity skin guru Olé Henriksen. Spa treatments from $65. 1 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; www.shuttersonthebeach.com or 310/587-1712.
Third Street Promenade. Downtown Santa Monica's heart; find shopping, dining, a movie theater, and street entertainers. www.thirdstreetpromenade.com or 310/393-8355.
LODGING & DINING
Café Del Rey. Pacific Rim cooking. $$$$; lunch Mon-Fri, dinner daily. 4451 Admiralty Way, Marina del Rey; 310/823-6395.
Fairmont Miramar. Casual and elegant; bluff location. From $299. 101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; www.fairmont.com/santamonica, 800/257-7544, or 310/576-7777.
The Huntley. Rooftop Toppers Restaurant ($$$) has great views of the ocean. 1111 Second St., Santa Monica; 310/393-8080.
Jin Patisserie. Handmade confections. Lunch ($$) and tea ($17) Tue-Sun. 1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; 310/399-8801.
Viceroy Santa Monica. Hipster haven near the beach. From $319. 1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; www.viceroysantamonica.com or 800/670-6185.
Travel tip: The temperature can be cooler close to the beach ― bring a sweater, pashmina, or jacket.
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