23 New Ideas for What to Do in Venice and Santa Monica: A 48-Hour Staycation Itinerary
THR's itinerary offers a workout with Metta World Peace's trainer, Rihanna's favorite hangout, a private alchemy session with Gwyneth's natural-medicine woman and the club where Facebook made its investment debut.
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
WELLNESS It doesn’t get more Venice than a private alchemy session with Moon Juice (507 Rose Ave.; 310-399-2929) founder Amanda Chantal Bacon, during which she’ll hear health concerns and prescribe plant-based concoctions. It’s free, but the downside is you can’t simply book an appointment. The natural-medicine woman may grant a meeting if you are introduced personally by, say, Gwyneth Paltrow or Shailene Woodley. Or hit The Now, the most Instagrammable massage parlor in history — where Kendall Jenner got a birthday rubdown with Gigi Hadid ($60 for 50 minutes) at the first location near CBS before it opened to the public in November. It debuts its new outpost Aug. 2 on Main Street in Santa Monica.
LUNCH The Butcher’s Daughter is “the hot spot,” says Toby Fleischman, makeup artist to Evan Rachel Wood and Orange Is the New Black’s Ruby Rose. “Even during the week, there are a smattering of recognizable names enjoying the amazing vegetarian dishes. On weekends, expect a wait for bigger parties.” 1205 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; (310) 981-3004
SHOP The stretch of Lincoln starting at Superba Avenue is a burgeoning indie boutique district, featuring modern luxe-hippie shops The General Store and Late Sunday Afternoon. Adjoining Merchant Yard, with vintage Moroccan finds and macrame, LCD stocks emerging international designers. “Everything I pick is a slam dunk every time. It’s like having the teacher’s edition of a high school textbook. I almost feel guilty about it,” says Key & Peele writer Alex Rubens of the LCD gifts he buys his wife, actress Emily Chang. 1801-3002 Lincoln Blvd.
COFFEE/WINE The recently refreshed Rose Cafe (220 Rose Ave.) boasts a long bar with Verve nitrogen-infused cold brew coffee on tap ($5), perfect for sizzling afternoons. Or beat the heat with Chateau Saint-Pierre rosé at the intimate Venice Beach Wines (529 Rose Ave.), where this spring Ashley Olsen was overheard requesting “the most expensive bottle of Cabernet” to go, currently a 1984 Stag’s Leap ($250).
DRINKS + DINNER Major schmoozing goes on during happy hour at The Bungalow. The Fairmont Miramar’s “urban oasis” (101 Wilshire Blvd.; 310-576-7777) is where internet investor Jamie Montgomery hosts intimate concerts by The Beach Boys and The Eagles during his Montgomery Summit, the site of both Facebook’s and Oculus’ debut to the investment community. “The modern, residential bungalows, the Mediterranean-inspired cuisine at FIG and the nightlife at The Bungalow make for the ideal escape,” he says. At the newly revamped FIG, chef Yousef Ghalaini’s “Bread Balloon” ($11), charred heirloom carrots with vadouvan ($14) and wood-grilled Maine lobster (market price) are must-orders.
CLUBS On Thursdays and Saturdays, Kirsten Dunst, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Cameron Diaz can be found hanging at SHOREbar (112 W. Channel Road; 310-429-1851). Rihanna stops by, too, post-pasta from her favorite restaurant, Giorgio Baldi, next door. “SHOREbar is a one-of-a-kind place with the same feel as a Cheers yet has flair due to the design, drinks and the crowd,” says The h.wood Group co-founder John Terzian. It’s where Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel, with Miranda Kerr in tow, celebrated his birthday. (There’s also a super-private, locals-only Members Room, where favorite bottles can be stored in personal lockers, to be enjoyed during game nights.) Or seek out the “secret speakeasy that opened a few months ago on the side of Scopa Italian Rootsin Venice,” says Fleischman. “I got ushered back, cellphone taken, and was made one of the most amazing tiki cocktails from their extensive cocktail ‘book.’ ” Adds 20th Century Fox vp publicity Shari Rosenblum, “I heard they actually may deny that it exists!” Indeed, request for comment went unanswered. Next to 2905 W. Washington Blvd.
STAY Crash back at the Fairmont, where the just-renovated bilevel bungalows (from $3,000 a night) feature a fully equipped bar cart and $200 minibar credit for mixology misadventures, with fresh farmers market garnishes delivered via room service. Casa del Mar’s $6,000-a-night two-bedroom presidential suite — with panoramic Pacific views and hydrothermal massage tubs — may be one of the Westside’s most opulent accommodations (1910 Ocean Way). For upscale Venice vibes, Open Air Homes’ Under the Old Avocado Tree compound ($850 a night; 1744 Washington Way) is a pristinely renovated 1920 beach house, with original art, surfboards, outdoor showers and plenty of Soho House-inspired al fresco space for entertaining. Or channel Old Hollywood grandeur at the Douglas Fairbanks estate on Palisades Beach Road in Santa Monica, a 4,000-square-foot home and one-bedroom guesthouse with pool, fire pit and direct access to the sand (firstname.lastname@example.org serious inquiries).
YOGA Have celebrity yogi Rainbeau Mars come to you for a two-hour one-on-one session (starting at $250; rainbeaumarslifestyles.com) like she’s done with Ashley Olsen, David Duchovny, music producer Rick Rubin and Jeremy Piven. “It starts with yoga and branches out to other aspects of life, like a cleanse, activating people’s kitchens or recommending essential oils for insomnia,” says Mars. “Their intention becomes my intention and we work together toward the same goals.” For a group, book an ocean-view yoga class for up to 10 ($250) with Exhale at the Fairmont. 101 Wilshire Blvd.; (310) 576-7777
BRUNCH Copy Maria Bello’s order at Superba Food + Bread’s sprawling, dog-friendly space on Lincoln Boulevard: fried chicken with jalapeño and honey ($15). 1900 S. Lincoln Blvd.; (310) 907-5075
RIDE Take a beach cruiser for a spin around the boardwalk ($20 per day at Jay’s Rentals) or charming Venice canals, where South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone and jeweler Irene Neuwirth own homes among the walk-streets’ eclectic structures, from tiny cottages to canary yellow modernist manses. “At dusk,” says Pesce, “you can see some really cool artwork inside people’s windows.”
DINNER Of course, Gjelina (1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310-450-1429) — where the no-modification policy applies whether you’re Victoria Beckham or Robert Downey Jr. — and The Tasting Kitchen are major players come dinnertime. At the latter, Natalie Wood’s daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner, actress and Natalie Fragrance creator, orders the vodka and lavender water Baby Bird ($12), shrimp serrano tagliarini ($31) and, yes, extra carbs: “They have the best bread and butter I have ever had,” she says. “It is so good, you actually have to pay for it [$3.50].” 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; (310) 392-6644