We’d been to California only once before and that was with our children so it was very much Disney centric. We had a great few days as Mickey’s guest but this time we had a chance to do a little exploring around the academic conferences that were the primary reason for our visit.
Based in Anaheim we decided that a Sunday at the beach in LA would be fun. The way the conference agenda panned out meant that I had pretty much a day free before a late afternoon session on my research area of interest.
Initially our thoughts had been a day at Disneyland, very convenient to our hotel but not at the top of my favourite person’s agenda and certainly pricey $238 for two tickets. Given the glorious weather and the fact that Venice Beach was home to my favourite person’s new favourite clothes store, Kit and Ace, it was a “no brainer”!
After a quick look through our Lonely Planet guide and Trip Advisor it was downstairs and into an Uber car and onto Venice Beach. Our driver was delightful, chatting about lots of interesting stuff about living in California and after just over an hour we were dropped at the incredibly busy Venice Beach. The traffic was amazing, still it was Sunday a glorious day and it was LA where cars are King!
Venice Beach conjured up so many visions. Girls on roller blades, palms, street vendors, ice cream, burly men and lots of people. It didn’t disappoint.
After walking along the promenade adjacent to the beach for about an hour we decided to search for coffee before heading inland to Kit and Ace. Just off the beach we found a lovely little coffee shop where they had no trouble making the best coffee we’d had on the trip to date. Refreshed, we walked on to a delightful shopping strip so my favourite person could visit her favourite store.
How lucky were we, it was having a sale, clearing summer stock, ideal for us as we were heading out of winter at home and on top of that there was a further 20% off. This meant the wallet was about to get a hammering!
After we made a few purchases it was back to the beach and a walk along the promenade to Santa Monica. Just glorious . People on roller blades and bikes, families sitting in the lawns, people just strolling along like us and of course a view across the sand to the beautiful blue ocean. It’s just over 2 miles from Venice Beach to Santa Monica and past the famous Muscle Beach. Unfortunately we weren’t treated to any antics on the bars at Muscle Beach but we could imagine what it would be like on an early Summer’s morning.
While my favourite person had Venice Beach in her hit list Santa Minica Pier was on mine, just as it was for thousands of others. People just everywhere. The roller coaster and eateries including the very famous Bubba Gump Shrimp Co were heaving. After a walk along the pier and a few photo opportunities we set off for a late lunch.
We’d read about a little tapas bar just off the Main Street and headed for it. Not surprisingly, with such a strong Spanish influence, the food was excellent washed down with a couple of glasses of crisp Spanish white wine. Just what the doctor ordered for a warm late Summer’s day.
Once lunch was done we walked up towards the centre of Santa Monica and the shopping precinct. Our focus was on getting an Uber back to Anaheim. Being mid afternoon we weren’t the only ones looking for an Uber. Eventually we found a car and we were on our way back after a delightful day just taking in the sights of these two iconic beaches.
For under the price of a day at Disneyland, we’d been to Venice Beach and Santa Monica and had a lovely lunch. So while Anaheim is about Disneyland it’s easy to find your way out of town and enjoy the sights of places nearby.