LA – My husband and I both escaped the bitter cold winters we grew up in (him in New York, me in Toronto, Canada) to live in Los Angeles. But in spite of its proximity, work, kids and busy schedules make it tough to get to the beach. So when we do set out for a beach outing, it’s always Santa Monica, and it’s always a treat. Here are a few of my favorite haunts.
1. Start the day right with a hedonist breakfast at Huckleberry Cafe. They have to-die-for pastries, and the kids love the green eggs and ham – I’m sweet on the Niman Ranch Maple Bacon Biscuit. Everything is better with bacon.
2. Next stop, The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which is Heal the Bay’s Marine-Education Center. It’s situated beach-level, below the Carousel and houses more than 100 species of marine animals and plants – all found in the Santa Monica Bay. After a marine biology lesson, it’s time to let loose on the amusement park rides and a few attempts to win those too-big-to-carry stuffed animals. Side note: Save yourself some time and money and go to Costco beforehand to purchase a gift card for Santa Monica Pier attractions (be sure to call first, they sell out). With the card the kids get to ride the rides over and over… and over… without breaking the bank!
Make Plans with Friends
I wonder if anyone else is in the neighborhood? The Red Rover App helps you coordinate meet-ups with other moms you know and find great things to do in your area. It’s playdate scheduling made easy, and it’s a great way to let people know where you’ll be (“We’re on the roller coaster!”) so they can come join in the fun.
3. Running around the pier makes a girl hungry (yes, even one that has partaken in bacon biscuits just hours ago), so it’s time to walk over to BP Oysterette on Ocean Avenue. Walk in and you’re somewhere between Malibu and Maine, with its seaside decor and choice of Oysters. Don’t even look at the menu— they have the best lobster roll on the west coast. For dessert, be sure to grab some salt water taffy on the way out.
If you want to languish with a coffee after your meal, toss your kids the iPad and launch the Paper by FiftyThree App. Use the drawing tools and refined color palette to create beautiful sketches, drawings and paintings in little notebooks. This is for adults and kids alike, but great to keep them busy so you can have an uninterrupted conversation with your spouse (dare to dream).
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