SANTA MONICA

DISCOVER MY WEEKEND ITINERARY

In April 2019, my sister and I spent Easter weekend in Santa Monica. Here's our itinerary with my recommendations:

Saturday

Santa Monica Pier

We arrived in Santa Monica too early to check into our hostel, so we locked up the luggage and headed straight to Santa Monica Pier! This famous landmark
is Santa Monica’s most visited tourist spot. It’s one of those
famous things you can’t miss (like Times Square), but it’s
nothing super special or anything. We walked around—it was
quite busy—and grabbed a pretzel and a treat here and there. 
Recommendation: Go for it! It’s iconic. Check it out, take some
pics, and keep on with your holiday. 

Snack at North Italia

Right next door to our hostel was a cute Italian restaurant called North Italia. I ordered a dirty almond chai (which was crazy delicious) and some zucchini chips (which were also crazy delicious). Recommendation: Go for it! We only got coffees and a small snack, but the menu looked great and it’s conveniently located to the hostel. 
Sant Monica Pier

Check into Hostel International

This is a beautiful, brand new hostel steps away from the beach in Santa Monica. It’s located is tough to beat. The beds were crazy comfortable, and all their amenities were new and nice. That being said… this is not a social hostel. I don’t think I met a single person. This felt like hotel where you share a room with people not interested in talking to you. Haha. If this is your jam… Go for it! But if you’re looking for an international hostel that’s social and cool… I would stay at Venice Beach Hostel. I stayed there the next time I came to LA and although VBH is not right on the beach as it would suggest, it does feel like a European hostel. Lots of friendly travelers and cool people. Recommendation: Eh, depends on what you’re looking for! 

Santa Monica Beach

After we checked in, we headed to the beach to relax in the sand. Although it’s packed with people, that California sunset will leave you breathless.
Recommendation: Go for it! 

Dinner at Trastevere

For dinner, we walked only a couple blocks to a nearby Italian place for a meal. It was… okay. I don’t have anything bad to say about it. But there are so many good restaurants in LA, I don’t know if I’d waste a dinner on this place. (But maybe that’s just me).
Recommendation: Eh, if you have time. 

Shopping on 3rd Street Promenade

I was with Caitlyn, so of course we had to go shopping! There are a ton of shops in Santa Monica and all the biggest brands. Shop around and don’t forget to check out the local entertainment on the street between vendors.
Recommendation: Eh, if you like shopping. We went to H&M and Urban Outfitters… not local places or anything, so nothing unique. 

Comedy Show at Rapp's

Our hostel offered a variety of nightly events, Saturday night was a comedy show hosted by Rapp’s. It was located inside the hostel… and boy, did it feel like it. This. Was. Rough. I’ve never felt so awkward in my life. And man were there some crazies in the audience too. We have a funny story to tell now, but Caitlyn and I would never do that again. I’d like two hours of my life back please. Recommendation: Skip it. Please. 

Drink's at Ye Olde King's Head

After shaking the comedy show off of us, we walked a couple blocks to Ye Ole King’s Head. It was a pretty sweet dive bar with an English theme. We got a couple drinks, played some cards. It was cool. Recommendation: Go for it! Would definitely go again. I love a good dive bar. 

Sunday

We walked the scenic jogging trails from Santa Monica Beach over to nearby Venice, and along the way stopped for some coffee at Perry’s Beach Cafe. This is the perfect spot to stop and refresh from the hot sun. We sat in their comfy beach chairs and watched the volleyball players play as we sipped coffees and woke up.
Recommendation: Go for it! Errbody needs coffee. 

Coffee at Perry's Beach Cafe

Shopping the Venice Boardwalk

Venice has a life of its own! You can immediately see the difference between Santa Monica and Venice—I feel like I stepped into a Mary Kate and Ashley movie (Billboard Dad, anyone?). Venice is my favorite part of LA—it’s grungy, it’s unique, it’s young, and it owns what it is. It’s not trying to be perfect, not trying to be a shopping mall—and for that I thank Venice! We shopped around at all the different stalls—unlike Santa Monica, there are a ton of locally owned shops and artists selling their work on the street. There are significantly more homeless people walking around Venice, but I hope that doesn’t deter you in any way.  I really enjoyed walking around and people watching!
Recommendation: Go for it! 
Venice

Brunch at The Tasting Kitchen

The Tasting Kitchen
It was Easter Sunday! And what is Easter Sunday without brunch?! We headed to The Tasting Kitchen for our reservation for brunch. There’s a road in Venice called Abbot Kinney, and it’s well-known for really good restaurants. So we picked a place on that street, and were not disappointed. All the food was divine, and the cocktails delicious. Recommendation: Go for it! If you’re adventurous with food (unlike me), you can choose the Tasting Menu, a prix fixe style menu that the chef choosing specifically for you. Pretty cool if I wasn’t so picky.  And Jesus said, “Let there be brunch.”

Dinner at The Independence

Venice Beach

Venice Beach

After our delicious and filling meal, we headed back to the beach to lay in the sun and listen to the sound of the surf. We passed Muscle Beach—famous for Arnold Schwarzenegger and all the muscle heads that still work out there. But then, we just relaxed on the beach for quite a few hours. 

Recommendation: Go for it! Venice is much less crowded than Santa Monica.  

After walking back to our hostel in Santa Monica, we took showers, rested a bit, then headed our for dinner. Nearby the hostel was a great little place called The Independence. They had super good food—everything on the menu sounded fantastic. And a really good happy hour deal for both drinks and food.
Recommendation: Go for it! This place was good. Would definitely go again. 
We ended the night with a dilemma. Do we go on the Party Bus/Hollywood Club Night with the hostel, or do we stay in because we’re tired?  Well. We’re getting old and it had been a long week… so we opted for playing cards at the hostel instead. It’s always a good time when my twinny is with me, and we ended up laughing so hard Caitlyn spit an entire mouthful of water at me—just like in the movies. But hey, it’s LA—what can you do? 

Playing Cards at the Hostel

Playing cards at HI Santa Monica

Goodbye Santa Monica!

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