Where to Stay
- Gingham curtains and rocking chairs give rooms at the Farmer's Daughter Hotel (from $200; farmersdaughterhotel.com) a homey feel. Bonus: It's right across the street from the famous Fairfax Farmer's Market.
- For prime beach, dining, and shopping access in Santa Monica, check into the upscale Fairmont Miramar (from $319; fairmont.com). Located at the corner of Wilshire and Ocean, it's close to the Third Street Promenade, the running path, Montana Avenue shopping, and the on-ramp for the Pacific Coast Highway-so you can zoom up to Malibu on a moment's notice.
Where to Work Up a Sweat
- Near the Ferndell Nature Museum in Griffith Park, you'll see the beginning of the Mount Hollywood Trail. It's a fairly easy hike-about five miles roundtrip, primarily on a paved fire road-yet the 1,626-foot summit yields views of the Hollywood sign, downtown L.A., and the valley.
- For just $15, you can purchase a day pass to Train West Hollywood (624 La Cienega Blvd.), a 10,000-square-foot gym. Besides celeb spotting, take advantage of the more than 80 weekly fitness classes a week.
- Look for the long line spilling out onto the sidewalk and you'll find The Griddle Café (7916 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood). The tiny restaurant boasts platter-size pancakes, French press coffee, and some of the best huevos rancheros in town.
- On weekends until 3p.m., everything from eggs to French toast gets a Carribbean twist at Cha Cha Cha (656 Virgil Ave in Silver Lake). Try the jerk chicken omelet with a side of black beans or scrambled eggs with guacamole and salsa.
- For eggs with a side of surf chic, drive down to Manhattan Beach and get in line at The Local Yolk. The laid back diner always draws a weekend crowd-the people-watching is fabulous-but the simple food (and flavored coffees) are worth the wait.
Dinner Hot Spots
- Indulge in Spanish tapas like the bacon-wrapped dates or garlic shrimp at The Courtyard (8453 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood).
- The Malibu Inn (22969 Pacific Coast Hwy in Malibu) serves some of the best BBQ in town-try the pulled chicken sandwich-but locals also flock here for live music and billiards.
- Don't let the strip-mall location fool you: Rambutan Thai (2835 Sunset Blvd in Silver Lake) is a chic, but casual restaurant. Skip your usual pad thai and try the drunken noodles, a delicious concoction of rice noodles and chicken dripping in a garlic sauce.
- For super-fresh sushi in a unique environment, drive (or fly) to The Hump at the Santa Monica Airport (3221 Donald Douglas Loop South, Santa Monica). It's upstairs from gargantuan Pan Asian palace Typhoon, but The Hump is intimate, quiet, and always top notch. Go at sunset for the best views.