The Insider's Guide to 24- and 48-Hour SoCal Summer Staycations

9:00 AM 7/25/2016

by THR staff

Get away for a day (or two) — but not too far away — with seven itineraries of the? au?courant? in Venice/Santa Monica, Malibu, Santa Barbara, San Diego and more.

Santa Barbara_Helena Avenue Bakery_Staycation - Publicity - H 2016
Rob Stark/Courtesy of Helena Avenue Bakery

Santa Barbara_Helena Avenue Bakery_Staycation - Publicity - H 2016

Times likes these, one might feel inclined not to stray too far from home. This tendency is not uncommon, says travel advisory data scientist Patrick Surry of Hopper Research: “We have certainly seen that there has been a trend away from international travel, particularly with the European crises and with Zika in South America.” Yet, as life goes on, so might the need to decompress, and new, innovative outposts within a 25-mile radius reassuringly continue to arise, as does the local economy.

The Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board reports that revenue per available rooms has gone up 15.2?percent since 2015, and, adds Surry, “The mix of domestic travel seems to be up in general.” And while private travel concierge Gen Hershey of Genuine Access hasn’t seen a decline in European bookings, “People are purchasing the ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance rather than just for business or sick reasons,” she says.

For those whose travel leanings are tending to the locavore lately, industry insiders recommend the following places to eat, stay, shop and relax in three microdestinations just a short drive away.

  • 48 Hours in Venice and Santa Monica

    BREAKFAST Get in the “express” line for the bialy egg sandwich with porchetta ($7.50) at Gjusta. Zach Galifianakis protested the opening of Gjelina’s sister spot (“It’s the soul-wrenching velvet-roping of Venice Beach, and we’re here to say enough is enough,” he declared at a city-planning hearing), but DJ Michelle Pesce calls it “dope.” Ordering at the counter lined with pizzas, pastries, cured fish and farm-fresh salads can feel overwhelming, but Jake Gyllenhaal and Patrick Dempsey do it patiently, too. 320 Sunset Ave.; (310) 314-0320

    WORKOUT Book a private Megaformer session (it’s like a Pilates reformer on steroids; $200) with trainer Ky Evans — who has trained Olympians, Rosario Dawson and NBA baller Metta World Peace — at Pilates Platinum. Says new Game of Thrones’ Red Priestess Melanie Liburd: “Ky is like a trainer and life coach in one. His passion and energy are contagious.” 1907 S. Lincoln Blvd.; (323) 466-0309

    Read the full 48-hour guide here.

  • 48 Hours in Malibu

    BREAKFAST Stop into Sunlife Organics at Malibu Country Mart or Point Dume Plaza for what the locals order, the Billion Dollar Smoothie ($28) with collagen and vitamin?C crystals. “It’s a meal and a beauty treatment. It gives you a serious glow,” says Lyndie Benson, photographer and ex-wife of Kenny?G. Or go off-menu like Kendall Jenner and Chris Hemsworth and fuel up on the Yoda (coconut meat, almond butter, dates, cinnamon, kale).

    HIKE With waterfalls, swimming holes and panoramic Pacific views, the two-mile Solstice Canyon Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains draws hikers like Taylor Swift and restaurateur Michael Chow, who says it’s “a great place to enjoy the outdoors.” For a more strenuous route, try Backbone Trail, where hard bodies like surfer Laird Hamilton hike and mountain bike. For 360-degree views out to Catalina and the Channel Islands, hang a left onto Zuma Ridge Trail to Buzzard’s Roost — what Khalil Rafati, of the upcoming Food Heals doc, calls “the ultimate hike.” Or do a group run. “We want to get people outside of the gym,” says Jenn Meredith Castillo, co-creator of locally based XPT ( for sign-ups). With co-founders Hamilton and Gabrielle Reece, the three-day training workshops ($5,000) — upcoming sessions are Aug. 17 to 19 and Sept. 19 to 21 — take groups of 15 to 20 to such locales as Paradise Cove for exercises like deep-sand running.

    Read the full 48-hour guide here.

  • 48 Hours on L.A.'s Westside

    BREAKFAST Maison Giraud may have closed its doors July?10 to make room for Rick Caruso’s massive new Palisades Village (film and TV director-producer Jon Turteltaub used to love the pain au chocolat), but chef Alain Giraud still can bring his classic French fare to you ($75 a guest, minimum of eight). His Four Stars Private Cuisine company has catered for Jodie Foster and Halle Berry. Or take a private cooking class ($1,500, includes ingredients; 10-person minimum).

    WELLNESS Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Amber Valletta are fans of Surya Spa ($245 consultations; (310) 459-7715), which specializes in ayurvedic alternative medicine. To maintain a private environment, the address to this rustic ranch on the bluffs overlooking the Palisades only is given out once an appointment is booked. For added Zen, founder Martha Soffer can arrange a fire purification ceremony with the head priest of the Malibu Hindu Temple.

    Read the full 48-hour guide here.

  • 24 Hours in Downtown L.A.

    BREAKFAST + SHOPPING Brooklyn’s beloved outdoor food market Smorgasburg has landed in commercial district ROW DTLA showcasing more than 100 food, design, craft and vintage vendors from both coasts every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., including L.A. favorite Guerilla Tacos and Gjusta alum Nicole Rucker’s Rucker Pies. Fans of the weekly event include celebrity stylist Benjamin Mohapi, whose new downtown salon is Benjamin Arts District (Courteney Cox and St. Vincent are patrons of his West Hollywood outpost); he comes for Elvio’s Chimichurri. Producer Phil Rosenthal told co-curator Zach Brooks that the weekly event is “the happiest place on Earth.” Rose Apodaca, co-founder of design resource A+R, who is opening a 7,000-square-foot flagship nearby, is partial to “the rolls made from lobster flown in from Maine weekly at Red Hook Lobster Pound.” Alameda and Bay Street

    JUICE Take a cue from the likes of downtown denizen Emily Ratajkowski, who refuels with organic, cold-pressed juices from The Springs, also home to a newly revamped plant-based restaurant, wine bar, yoga studio, wellness center (with detoxifying treatments ranging from nutritional consultations to infrared sauna) and workshops including a soundbath experience on July 30. 608 Mateo St.; (213) 223-6226

    Read the full 24-hour guide here.

  • 48 Hours in San Diego

    BRUNCH Drink endless rosé with your French toasts served with Chantilly and macerated strawberries ($17) on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at celebrity chef Brian Malarkey’s Herringbone La Jolla (7837 Herschel Ave.; 858-459-0221). The Top Chef’s overall surf-and-turf restaurant concept has welcomed guests including Steven Tyler and Joe Montana. Or get your caffeine fix at Bird Rock Coffee Roasters (5627 La Jolla Blvd.). “This place is always packed for a good reason,” says Mane Addicts founder Jen Atkin of the La Jolla location where Jeff Goldblum and Adrian Grenier also have visited. “The coffee is amazing and it’s just a short walk from the ocean.”

    COMIC-CON If you’re lucky enough to have bought a badge to this massive convention of all things genre entertainment and are a longtime pro, skip this section. But if you’re a newbie: “Have cash on hand,” says Rotten Tomatoes editor-in-chief Matt Atchity and panelist of Your Opinion Sucks!, about purchasing souvenirs from The Walking Dead to anything Marvel. “Some vendors don't take credit cards or can't get a signal for Square.” Atchity also suggests making dinner reservations days in advance. Rotten Tomatoes senior editor Grae Drake says, “Know that internet reception is awful.” As for getting in and out of the convention center, The Big Bang Theory’s Wil Wheaton advises to “use the bridge that goes from the bayfront, especially near the end of the day when a billion people are leaving.” Wheaton also emphasizes to stay hydrated. “Drink twice as much water as you think you need, and then drink more.” Screenwriter and comic book writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa recommends avoiding the restrooms on the main floor. “Take the escalator — any escalator — to the upper level and look for 'hidden' bathrooms off the beaten path. Usually there are a couple near Artists' Alley that are less trafficked.” Thursday through Sunday, July 21-24, San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Dr.; 619-525-5000

    Read the full 48-hour guide here.

  • 48 Hours in Santa Barbara and Ojai

    BREAKFAST Longtime area denizen and Charlie’s Angel Jaclyn Smith likes to start her day with breakfast at the locally loved Montecito Coffee Shop (1498 E. Valley Road; 805-969-6250), housed under the same roof as the San Ysidro Pharmacy. Smith is a fan of the pancakes with bacon and eggs. Her dinner favorites, in case you were wondering, include Carpinteria staple Giannfranco’s Trattoria: “It’s like being invited into someone’s home for delicious Italian food,” she says. 666 Linden Ave.; (805) 684-0720

    FOR THE KIDS One hundred miles north of Los Angeles, Santa Barbara has plenty of famous residents, but none older than “Sue,” the world’s largest and most-well-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex. A cast of Sue’s skeleton — 42 feet long and 12 feet high — is newly on display through Sept. 11 at the Mission Campus of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, also home to the equally Instagram-worthy “Chad,” a 73-foot-long blue whale skeleton. Private group tours of the museum can be reserved three weeks in advance. 2559 Puesta Del Sol; (805) 682-4711

    Read the full 48-hour guide here.

  • 24 Hours on L.A.'s Eastside

    BREAKFAST Fuel up with the popular vegan banana buckwheat pancakes ($12.50) and a matcha green tea latte ($4) at Los Feliz’s Stamp Proper Foods, a favorite of Rachel Bilson. 4500 Los Feliz Blvd.; (323) 953-5181

    SPA Kristin Hilton, Eastsider makeup artist to Ellie Kemper and Elisabeth Moss, says she loves treatments such as the 90-minute consultation and customized Well Being Facial ($250) at Being in LA with owner Jenette Serrins: “She makes all of her own products and has a holistic approach to skincare. Her products and space are beautiful and she really takes the time to care for you.” 2122 Hillhurst Ave.; (323) 741-8035

    Read the full 24-hour guide here.