Post card from Santa Monica

Santa Monica travels.

boy cycling on the beach in LA photographed by sara delaney

I love a city break as much as the next gal, but given the choice between staying in a bustling town or hanging on the beach in the sun, then I’d definitely snap up the latter. And so it was when we were looking for a base to stay while doing West Coast college tours with no.2 kid…(eeeek! Can’t believe there’s already another one of the brood beating a path back across the pond). We scoped out Shutters on the beach (too expensive) and ended up opting for The Viceroy – coincidentally one block behind Shutters, much better value for money (therefore freeing up a little spare shopping cash obvs) and plenty of beach bikes to use – huzzah!

the viceroy hotel, santa monica, photographed by sara delaney

the viceroy hotel santa monica photographed by sara delaney

By chance some lovely friends were also staying in Santa Monica – Kelli who runs a fab new lifestyle blog called  The Kelli Chronicles and her daughter, who were both far more efficient at making plans than me, so we jumped on their coat tails and proceeded to discover the neighbourhood.

vintage car on the highway in LA photographed by sara delaney

For immediate entertainment, there’s obviously the vast beaches to head to and Santa Monica Pier which entertained the kids for an hour or two.

lifeguard on duty on santa monica beach photographed by sara delaney

kids playing at santa monica pier photographed by sara delaney

kids eating ice cream at santa monica pier photographed by sara delaney

ferris wheel at santa monica pier photographed by sara delaney

busker singing at santa monica pier photographed by sara delaney

But there are also plenty of amazing places to eat and drink. We headed to Mastro’s Ocean Club in Malibu one evening for an awesome dining experience right smack bang next to the crashing waves at sundown.

cocktail being poured at Mastro's Malibu photographed by sara delaney

sunset at the beach in malibu photographed by sara delaney

We also road-tested Blue Plate Oysterette which had the most delicious fish and ceviche… 

fish at blue plate oysterette restaurant in santa monica photographed by sara delaney

blue plate oysterette

When we weren’t eating our only form of exercise seemed to be biking along the boardwalk. You can get to classic touristy spots like Venice Beach and stop for an ogle at the bods working out at Muscle Beach or check out people being generally more sporty than you along the way.

shutters on the beach bikes photographed by sara delaney

venice beach houses photographed by sara delaney

surf dude at venice beach photographed by sara delaney

The other great American sport is shopping which we also excelled at. We hit Third Street Promenade where we happened across and fell in love with the really cute West Coast store Johnny Was

johnny was store in santa monica photographed by sara delaney

We also scoped out Brentwood Country Mart packed with high-end eclectic boutiques where Beyoncé and Gwyneth Paltrow like to shop. Check out my earlier post on luxury lifestyle brand based there  Hudson Grace.

hudson grace store in brentwood shopping mart in santa monica

Initially, we had simply chosen to stay in Santa Monica for its proximity to the colleges we were checking out but ended up discovering the most vibrant and fun neighbourhood which I’d love to go back to and would definitely recommend.

Santa Monica… the travel deets…

We planned a pile of things via Trip Advisor.which was super useful while we were there.

Click below to find the pieces I packed for this part of our trip.

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