LA – Hop on a bike for a weekend stroll in Santa Monica. “The Strand,” is the bike path that winds along the ocean, so if you don’t have one, swing by a bike rental shop (there are a few along the beach boardwalk, but Sea Mist is a popular option). From there, you can make several stops…cruise down to Venice Boardwalk (Muscle Beach) for an eye-popping experience, or, continue on to Marina Del Ray. You’ll see the Southern Cali surf style in all of its glory, and maybe stop for a sweet snack or two (be warned: there is plenty of cotton candy and ice cream at the Boardwalk) to satisfy the kids.
If biking isn’t your thing, why not try paddle boarding? This sport is all the rage these days in our area, and you can sign up for lessons in Santa Monica at Poseidon Stand-Up, which will rent you gear as well.
After all of this hard work, you’ll definitely want to swing by one of the local Farmer’s Markets…honestly, the SoCal outdoor markets cannot be topped: we hit up our neighborhood market every Sunday to stock up for the week. Fortunately, there are a few around Santa Monica. If you’re in the area on a Wednesday or Saturday, stop by the one on Arizona and Third. Wednesday is a produce lover’s paradise – vendors from all of the state descend to offer the most glorious fruits and veggies imaginable. Saturday’s is a bit smaller, but still delectable. Don’t miss the strawberries from Harry’s Berries. Frankly, you could feed the family on the samples from the market alone. If you find yourself in Santa Monica on a Sunday, head to the farmer’s market on Main Street. In addition to the edibles, you’ll find live music and pony rides for the kids.
If you’re still hungry, there are a slew of lunch (or dinner, depending on how long you’ve been riding your bikes or been out in the water) options with beautiful views of the ocean and/or sunset. One of our favorites is the Blue Plate Oysterette, which serves delicious seafood fare (and other things too – everyone can find what they want on the menu), and in the spirit of seafood, you can then check out the Aquarium which resides right next to the Santa Monica Pier. The facility is small but they have really fun “touch pools” that the kids will enjoy, and it’s a nice place to catch your breath after a day of being on the go.
Finally, one last thing to do: get in your car and drive east to the Brentwood Country Mart. Here, you’ll find the revered Sweet Rose Creamery, which is legendary for their ice cream and unique flavors. The line will probably be out the door, but it moves quickly, and the kids will love you for it. Enjoy your waffle cone (I always suggest that the kids should get a waffle cone so I can eat some, of course) on their deck while you people watch and might catch another glimpse of a celeb. No one, not even the very famous, can resist scrumptious ice cream.
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