By Summer Aguirre
Westside Los Angeles is an ideal destination for any occasion.
The city is home to rich history and culture, with its diverse cuisine, arts and entertainment, landmark buildings and beautiful Southern California landscaping. Plus, its summer weather features comfortable temperatures averaging from the 70s to the low 80s, perfect for those making trips to the area.
Needless to say, the area offers endless opportunities for adventure — so many that it can be difficult to narrow down what to fit into your visit.
Here are some of the best spots and happenings for a memorable excursion in West LA this summer.
The City of Angels is a stage for cuisine from around the world. Whether one is in search of a hearty meal or a setting to enjoy a cocktail, there is something around every street corner to satisfy all tastes and cravings. The Westside’s dining scene is no different.
If Mediterranean cuisine sounds like it’ll hit the spot, Paloma is paradise.
Located at the iconic corner of Abbot Kinney and Venice boulevards, this Venice restaurant highlights a spread of simple-yet-refined dishes for all meals of the day.
Its coastal-inspired menu includes plates like sea bass carpaccio, lasagnette bolognese and chicken paillard, with beverages like garden green juices and passion fruit bellinis.
Guests can enjoy their meal in a warm, sleek interior with velvet banquettes and comfortable bar seating. For warmer days, they can dine outside in the scenery of a bougainvillea-draped patio and an al fresco deck framed by lush greenery and shady umbrellas — complete with a fire pit tucked into a cozy alcove.
Culver City has also recently welcomed the restaurant Love.Life to the area, a bright, casual environment perfect for lunch or dinner.
It presents an entirely plant-based menu created with fresh, seasonal and local ingredients — its owners, former Whole Foods executives, prioritize food in its purest state for maximal nutrients and health benefits.
Some of its menu items are green garlic pizza, sweet potato and corn tamale, tajine bowl and mushroom farro risotto. Love.Life also has a juice bar that opens at 7 a.m.
A popular spot for locals in Santa Monica is Urth Caffé, which is known for its heirloom organic coffees, fine teas and baked goods.
Owners Jilla and Shallom Berkman started their business over 30 years ago. They were inspired to provide health-conscious coffee with heirloom coffee trees, which are very rare and have never been genetically modified.
The cafe sources local, organic and sustainable products whenever possible, which has resulted in heavenly pecan sticky buns, prosciutto and cheese breakfast paninis and waffles with açaí sorbet or vanilla ice cream.
For a taste of Italy, Ritrovo in Playa Vista is a great dining choice.
In a homey, intimate environment, families and friends can nosh on classic Italian dishes, like pollo parmigiana, gnocchi pesto and an assortment of pizzas.
Other locations to drop into for delicious food or beverages this summer:
• Maple Block Meat Co. is a Culver City neighborhood barbecue eatery dishing up a variety of wood-smoked meats. Guests can sit at the counter and watch the chefs in action.
• The Waterfront in Venice has a menu of Swiss and American eats, created with local produce, that visitors can dine on while taking in views of the Pacific Ocean.
• Father’s Office, a Santa Monica gastropub serving its famous “Office Burger” and on-tap beer. It has a “no-ketchup” policy.
After getting a bite to eat, get ready to explore the art, entertainment, activities and beautiful outdoors of the Westside.
A few possible stops to get a feel for the area:
• An internationally renowned arts complex in Santa Monica, Bergamot Arts Station showcases a rotation of some of the finest visual and performing arts organizations from around the world.
• Kenneth Hahn Park, located in the Baldwin Hills Mountains, has acres of native coastal sage landscapes that are home to a community center, trails, sports courts and fields. Some call it “LA’s Central Park.”
• Help the environment while having fun by volunteering with Heal the Bay, a nonprofit devoted to keeping coastal waters and watersheds in the greater Los Angeles area clean, healthy and safe.
• If you’re visiting on a Saturday, the Playa Vista Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees can shop food and jewelry vendors, as well as enjoy live music and a kids zone. There is even a compost hub.
There are also lots of festive, seasonal events in the community that locals and visitors alike can take advantage of this summer.
The Marina del Rey Hotel is kicking off the season on Sunday, May 28, with its weekly Sunday Funday pool party series.
While soaking up the Southern California sunshine, partygoers can enjoy music from local DJs, delicious food and drink specials at the poolside bar. For a VIP experience, guests can reserve stylish cabanas, daybeds or love seats.
The cost is $60 at the door for all ages, with presale tickets for $50 for adults and $20 for children. Admission is free for overnight guests. Tickets can be purchased at eventbrite.com or the hotel’s front desk.
A handful of festive celebrations on Marina Del Rey waters will be hosted by City Cruises over the summer months.
For Father’s Day on June 18, families can choose to treat dad with a brunch or dinner cruise complete with a selection of cuisine and beverages.
If you’re in the area during Independence Day, Fourth of July cocktail and dinner cruises are available July 3 and July 4. One can spend the holiday on the water with unbeatable views, refreshments, cool breezes and vibrant fireworks displays.
To keep the summer fun going, City Cruises even offers Sights & Sips cruises all season long. Enjoy a lively evening happy hour with light hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and inventive drinks on a yacht against the picturesque backdrop of the city skyline.
For more information about City Cruises’ seasonal offerings, visit cityexperiences.com.
After a busy day experiencing what the Westside has to offer, there are plenty of places to stay the night and recuperate.
To experience life like a Venice Beach local, consider crashing at the only beachfront lifestyle hotel in the neighborhood: the Venice V Hotel.
Enveloped in a landmark building from 1915, the V is located right on the sands of the beach beside the famed Boardwalk — conveniently close to diverse dining, shopping, entertainment, surfing and the legendary skate park.
The hotel even has a long history with Hollywood, as it has welcomed stars like Charlie Chaplin and has been the film site of a number of movies, including the award-winning spy drama “Falcon and the Snowman.”
With vast ocean views and spacious, unique lodging, the V is a great way to wrap up an adventure in West LA.
For an idyllic destination to hang out on a day trip, head up the beach to Santa Monica, where the Annenberg Community Beach House sits oceanfront. The Beach House is open to all, so no memberships or reservations are required.
The historic building was constructed in the 1920s for actress Marion Davies, and today it offers amenities that make for a full day of fun in and out of the sun.
Getting a pool pass to cool off during the summer months is a no-brainer, but one can even enjoy beach sports, a splash pad, and a playground for children. There is also the iconic Marion Davies Guest House and a gallery for those interested in soaking up the facility’s history and the works of local artists and photographers.
Regardless of how one decides to spend their day in the Westside, they are guaranteed to have an exciting visit and make unforgettable memories in this special area.