*This is more like “CHAARG’s Guide To Santa Monica” — but until I dive deeper into all of LA… we are calling it the LA guide! ; )
I’ve been to LA many times, but this is the first time I stayed in Santa Monica [thanks David!]… + wow, I had a hard time leaving. The energy is wild + magnetic. I actually hard a time sleeping the first few nights I was there because I could feel the collective energy… sounds totally woo woo, but with the sheer amount of people in LA, I believe it. Once I felt more rooted + got to know the area, I slept better.
LA is so playful! + the wellness/outdoor vibes are insane. While I was on this trip, I added “spend a year traveling the coast of CA” to my bucket list… but honestly, I would be happy with a year exploring every inch of LA. There’s so much to offer!
Coffee + Tea
#1] Primo Passo Coffee Co: Loved the atmosphere here. + the baked goods selection is very, very impressive. I was eyeing their house made hazelnut lattes… but ended up with my classic americano order.
#2] Demitasse: There are few locations — I’d recommend stopping by the Santa Monica location if you are shopping on Third Street Promenade [the outdoor shopping mall]. I loved their cold brew.
#3] Metro Cafe: A donation based coffee shop! It’s a Church-owned cafe, + all the proceeds go to various charities — there was a sign inside that shared they donated 50 thousands pounds of food last year. Also, they have an incredibly large outdoor patio!
#4] Cha Cha Matcha: The most instagramable matcha cafe. Enough said.
#5] Great White: I regret not getting the Shaken Iced Latte after seeing it on my friend’s instagram story the next day. Also has food that is served in the most beautiful way — I don’t think it’s possible to go wrong here.
*Most coffee shops will offer a “chagaccinno” — a mushroom coffee drink. Highly recommend trying it… get it on ice!
*For Next Time: Moon Juice
#1] Beaming: MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP SMOOTHIE! + the cookie dough bliss ball. It’s magic. *There’s also a Beaming in the Southwest terminal!
#2] Breadblok: A gluten free bakery! They also had various samples out, which I appreciated ; ) I recommend their banana bread, almond croissant, + mushroom egg toast…. I was also eyeing their vegetarian bahn mi.
#4] Kye’s: Petitioning for Kye’s to come to Chicago. Literally, LA has all the trends. I love sandwiches/wraps, but sometimes I don’t want all of that bread. Enter the “KyeRito” — a nori, collard green, or romaine wrap. The “Pesto” was incredible. KyeRitos are the perfect grab + go meal, or picnic addition.
#5] Bodega: Coffee in the morning… wine bar at night? I’m into it. It has a hip coworking vibe to it, so bring your computer here if you want to blend it as a local ; ).
*For Next Time: Rose Cafe, Honey Hi, Gjelina Take Away
#1] Gjusta: OH MY GOSH. If you can only hit one place in LA, make Gjusta be the destination. Let’s just say I went here 3X in 24 hours once I discovered it. This place is an establishment! Go for breakfast, lunch, or dinner… you cannot go wrong. I’m really missing their salads + pizzas right now.
#2] Little Prince: Go here for happy hour [M-F] — their food selection for happy hour is actually great, which I feel like is pretty rare. Make sure to get the brussels sprouts : ).
#3] Cafe Gratitude: This is a LA classic — there are a few locations! The smoothies, the bowls, the veggie burgers… it’s all so, so good!
#4] The Butcher’s Daughter: If you are vegan/vegetarian, you will love this entirely plant-based restaurant. It sounds so weird, but the artichokes were my favorite thing on the menu. They also have a good coffee/juice/pastry counter where you can find grab + go items!
#5] EREWHON: Saving the best for last! Honestly, Erewhon [the most gourmet grocery store ever] should have it’s own category. Alas, I’m obsessed. + very grateful that it’s NOT in Chicago… I would be broke. Their hot bar is best in business. Go to the original location in Venice after you’ve shopped Abbott Kinney! :)
*For Next Time: Gjelina, Tallula’s, Tocaya Organica, Fia, Manchego, Cassia, Rustic Canyon
#1] Studios To Try:
- Sweat Yoga [Vinyasa Yoga]: Take class if you want the hottest, sweatiest yoga flow
- Love Yoga [Katonah Yoga]: Take class if you want to feel the like a new person afterwards. *This was my favorite!
- Coreology [Reformer Pilates]: Take class if you want to be sore the next day ; )
#2] R+R Sauna Studio: This may have been my favorite sauna experience ever! Your first session is $45 [typically it’s $70 per session… I know, $$$!] + it also comes with a complementary 20 minutes of compression boots. They give you noise canceling headphones that have the best meditation playlist, too!
#3] Original Muscle Beach: Spend at least 30 minutes mesmerized by all the acrobats + gymnasts on the swings/bars. Once you’re inspired, go for a run on the trail along the beach!
#4] Explore The Farmers Markets: Wednesday, Saturday + Sunday! All the fruit that you’ve ever desired.
Things To Explore:
#1] Walk down Abbot Kinney: Only the trendiest street ever. Don’t miss The Shroom Room [free drink of your choice!], Mystic Bookstore, Erewhon, + literally every shop that peeks your interest.
#2] The Lab Anti-Mall: If you find yourself exploring Costa Mesa, go to this open-air trendy spot with cute shops, restaurants, art, + more! Seabirds Kitchen is absolutely delicious — their mission: push the boundaries of vegan cuisine.
I’m sure I’m missing incredible spots because there is just SO MUCH GOODNESS in LA… let me know your favorite spots!