This is part 2 in a series of three guides to the LA region. I’ve broken it up this way because each area is best done as a 4-6 day stint. Any less in an area and you get FOMO. Try to venture further afield than the one area and you get the LA Road Ragings.

A few things to note:

  • I travel to hike and eat, the best way to see a city, me thinks. So this guide really provides a rundown for a mini-break to this effect. Los Angeles is possibly one of the best cities I’ve come across for hiking and eating and having a wellness mini-break. Santa Monica and Venice are probably the best hub from which to do so.
  • One of my passion projects is to encourage people to hike and to engage with nature and regional parts of the world. From time to time I accept partial support to do this from tourist bodies to cover the costs of writing these blog posts. In this case Visit California reached out and connected me with information I required and sponsored the accomodation and meals I’d selected. You can check out my policy on advertising and sponsored posts at your leisure.
  • Check out more images for this hike on Instagram via #sarahwilsonhikes.
  • Also check out My Hiking and Wellness Guide to West Hollywood and My Hiking and Wellness Guide to Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, California (to come).
  • You can see my other international hiking, eating, wellness, slow food guides here.

Get a home base

Again, I decided to stay with Palihouse. The Santa Monica one is in a beautiful building, has bikes you can use, beautiful art nouveaux finishes, is two blocks from the beach and 20 minutes ride to all the best bits of Venice. Note: it’s faster and nicer to ride than drive. You coast along the beach path, an attraction unto itself. It’s also in the best position to drive out onto the freeway to the best hikes in LA, and to the airport.

Their dining area/foyer is great for working in, ditto their courtyard. Order the fig, ricotta and pancetta on toast for breakfast. All their food is locally sourced. Oh, and the rooms have fully serviced kitchens.

And there are baths in the bathroom. Which is a boon. After a hike.

Head to Topanga for this perfect hike and lunch jaunt

Seriously, some stupendously good hikes are mere minutes from the hotel. Topanga is considered “the world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city.” Head to the Topanga State Park. Get details and directions here

From here try the Eagle Rock loop going via There’s amazing views, oak groves, meadows and a massive bolder that you can climb atop and get 360degree perspective. I saw deer and lizards and buzzards.

When you’re done, you MUST go down the hill and eat at Inn of the Seventh Ray.

It opened in the early 70s and has changed little. Set in a garden by a creek, the space drips in Jasmine vines and chandeliers. I ate the Breakfast Bowl, which has been on the menu since 1972, with a ginger fermented tonic.

Hike some more

I didn’t get to do more hikes, but I would if I stayed longer. Palihotel has instructions some walks nearby.

Also check out these links here and here. Temescal and Los Liones hikes look great.

Real Food Eating

I ate at Gjelina. It’s all I love in a restaurant – real, whole, farm-to-table food; communal table, bar and outdoor area; locals longevity; great wine list. I met a 65-year-old artist and nomad and we chatted about our mutual love of sitting at bars in strange cities.  Go for breakfast if you can’t make dinner.

PS I ate the duck with chicory, hazelnuts and cherries…

There are quite a few places on Abbott Kinney you could try. Tom’s for coffee, ditto Intelligentsia. Both have wifi.

I also ate at Rose Café with an Aussie contingent of media players. Much the same as above…robust meat and veg options.

Some weird new wellness

Check out Unplug Meditation’s schedule, the world’s first drop-in, secular meditation studio.

Or have a vaginal steam, a la Gwyneth Paltrow. Gwyneth espoused its virtues on the socials and got royally slammed. Speaking of which, it entails sitting on a throne and an infrared glow works its magic on your fajoutsa. Yep. True story.

As always, feel free to add your suggestions to this…I’ll build on the post so we can all use the resource.

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