The Collective Travel- A Weekend on the Westside
If you call LA home, you can relate to how living on opposite sides of the city can practically feel like being in another state! If you have friends in Venice but live in West Hollywood, chances are you don't see them as much as you wish you could. That being said, there are so many incredible places to explore in this "City of Angels" so planning a little staycation can be one of the best (and most fun) ways to experience them. This month we wanted to share our love of the westside, especially since The Collective Affair offices are fashionably situated in the shopping epicenter of Santa Monica. So get out your calendar and start visualizing a getaway that feels much like a tropical vacation!
This boutique hotel is a waterfront retreat with luxury amenities and a relaxing setting on the marina. One of our favorite things about the hotel is their nightly happy hour (4-6pm) at SALT restaurant. You can enjoy poolside or on comfy couches around fire pits as the sun sets on the marina. Located in Marina Del Ray and just a short bike ride from Venice Beach, the world is your oyster!
Shutters is Santa Monica's iconic beachfront hotel where "nothing stands between you and the sand." This beautiful hotel is reminiscent of Cape Cod's quintessential cottages with shutters opening onto panoramic views of the ocean and the famous Santa Monica pier. Between their two restaurants (1 Pico and Coast), and a beautiful spa and pool, you could spend the whole weekend without having to step foot into a car. And that's something we rarely say living in LA.
This healthy haven has a special place in our hearts as their Santa Monica location hosted #TheCollectiveFoodie event last year--our second is coming up on 4/4 which you can check out here! Not only is the space light and bright but the decor makes you feel as if you've stepped back into the 70's with a modern twist that makes it super instagrammable. And did we mention the locally sourced menu serving everything from hearty bowls to unique salads and of course a delicious avocado toast? The Mother Earth Bowl with ancient grains, sweet potatoes, portobello mushrooms, avocado and broccoli pesto is one of our absolute favorites and when paired with a seasonal lemonade, is the perfect meal (pictured below).
Make a reservation and get ready for a foodie's version of paradise. Located on the famous Abbot Kinney Blvd, this Venice staple is always packed and has a worldly feel to it, likely because the food is so diverse and the clientele travels from around the globe. Known for delicious wood-fired pizza, the menu also includes top-notch raw oysters, charcuterie & cheese and esoteric items like squid ink pipe rigate and purple potato gnocchi. And when you step outside the building, be sure to snap a pic in front of the ever-changing wall mural. Insider Tip: If you don't have a ressie, order a sandwich or salad from "Gjelina To-Go" next door and experience the same foodgasm without the wait.
If you've been to Venice more than a handful of times, chances are you've seen the Kapowui surf van in all its SoCal glory. Even if you've never touched a surfboard before, this is the place to learn from instructors who have years of experience, embody the "aloha spirit," and all live within a few blocks of the shore. Lessons take place on the border of Venice and Santa Monica and include all the equipment you need. Insider Tip: you'll want to stay hydrated so hop across the street to Venice Ale House and order a whole young coconut complete with a straw!
One of our go-to weekend activities is renting cruiser bikes in Venice and riding them all the way up to the Santa Monica pier. If you want to make a whole day of it, pick up a lunch from somewhere local like Erewhon Natural Foods or Egg Slut and pack it in your basket along with sunscreen, a good book and a blanket! You could also swing by Perry's Beach Café (and bike rentals) and indulge in some fish taco's with your toe's dug in the sand before you take off to the pier for carnival games, beautiful ocean views and of course, the ferris wheel (we love riding it when it's all lit up at night).
It's almost like you can't have one without the other. As soon as you hit the palm tree-lined Abbot Kinney Blvd., chances are you're going to find everything you don't need but absolutely must-have. From some of the city's best boutiques, galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, and bars, you can get lost for hours and trust us, it's dangerously fun. But before you head out on your Abbot adventure, swoop up a cone from Salt & Straw, an ice cream shop born in Portland, Oregon and known for its unique flavors like their "chocolate caramel potato chip cupcake"-- huh? We'll take two!
We love the name of this massage paradise because it embodies just that, being present and living in "the now," something that can often seem challenging in our modern world. The moment you step foot into this Santa Monica zen palace, you can take a deep breath and sink into the airy, bohemian vibe. And the best part? You can get a 50-minute Swedish massage for $65 and unwind or read a book in their relaxation room afterwards while you sip on cucumber spa water. After all the walking and bike riding you've done, you deserve it.
After your massage, make your way over to FIG restaurant for more rest and relaxation. Located at the stunning Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, happy hour takes place from 5pm-6pm every day of the week but get there early to claim a seat at the bar-top! Their menu is seasonal and Mediterranean-influenced and you can enjoy most everything (including craft cocktails) for half off! Oh, and if you want to continue getting pampered afterwards, stroll over to Exhale Spa for a mani-pedi or rejuvenating facial. Sounds like the perfect way to wrap up the weekend, wouldn't you agree?
Enjoy your weekend on the westside, and can't wait to hear what you thought of our guide!