Visiting LA this summer? Here is your definitive guide to all things healthy and outdoors.
Summer is the perfect time to be out and about. If you live in Santa Monica like me, chances are you may not have AC. In this case, getting out of your apartment is a must! Santa Monica is a hub for tourists and Angelenos alike. If you’re getting in your car you better be prepared for standstill beach traffic and build in extra time for parking. I highly encourage you to walk, bike or even scooter whenever possible.
Yes you heard me right, scootering is the new craze. I am not talking a raggedy razor scooter, these are the real deal! If you have been on the westside recently, you will know what I am talking about. In the mornings the scooters are nicely organised and grouped around town. As the afternoon rolls around, especially sunny weekend afternoons, the scooters are scattered all across town – in trees, on the beach, knocked over, etc.
Quick ‘detour’ on the scooter landscape in Santa Monica. We first saw Bird scooters popping up around Santa Monica in September last year. As the pioneer of this scooter era, Bird has disrupted the transportation system in Los Angeles. For better or for worse? We will let you decide. The model works like this: you find a scooter on the app, pay $1 to unlock it and $0.15 a minute. When you are done you simply lock it wherever you are. Bird is now valued at $2 billion after a recent $300 million funding round. Not bad.
Recently we have seen the rise of Lime scooters. Lime began as a bike-share company a year and a half ago. Since then, they have received $135 million from investors. The two scooter companies have dominated the sidewalks all around LA. Uber recently partnered with Lime to offer users the option to unlock a scooter within the application. These scooters may be here to stay, but they are cracking down on the rules; bring a helmet, have a driver’s license and obey the rules of the road!
"Most importantly, take time to nourish your body. Keeping physically and mentally fit will be key to making the most of everything this amazing place has to offer."
Surf in Venice
Chances are you’ve watched surfers and dreamed about one day getting out there and catching the perfect wave. Well, that wave isn’t just going to come to you, get out there! Whether you’re a pro or a first-timer, there’s a wave for everyone. Bring your own board, rent a board or take a lesson. Surfing is a great way to immerse yourself in the beach culture and may I say, it’s quite a humbling experience as well.
Our founder, Irina Turcan, has just taken a surfing class on Venice Beach and can’t stop raving about it. Check out this surfing class with Stephen on Airbnb. He’s got tons of experience and rest assured, you’ll have lots of fun.
Hike in Malibu
Malibu is 21 miles of scenic beauty, and its hiking trails are breathtaking. Grab a friend, a snack and some water, you won’t regret it. There are trails for everyone. Regardless of the drive or difficulty level, you are sure to experience the Santa Monica mountains as well as the beautiful coastline. The best part about hiking near the water is that you don’t have to wait until the very end for the views. One of the most scenic trails is right up Topanga Canyon Boulevard. Like many of the hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains, there’s a trail for every skill level. From the clearly-market trailhead, you can choose a 2.6 mile round trip up to Los Liones or continue further up to Parker Mesa Overlook, a 5.7 mile round trip hike.
Bike along the coast
The streets may be packed and the parking lots full, but there is always room on the bike pack. Summer days are busier, but bikers are good at sharing the road. With bike lanes and boardwalks, Santa Monica is a biker’s heaven. If you get up early enough or wait for the sun to go down, you can bike from Santa Monica Pier all the way to Redondo. Now if that is a little much, you can hop around between neighboring beach towns as well. Try biking Santa Monica to Venice or Manhattan to Hermosa. It is all just as fun! Enjoy the salty breeze while you’re at it.
Get a stair workout in
The stairmasters at the gym are a hot commodity, especially during “swimsuit season”. These machines are used as a form of cardiovascular fitness with a target on the booty and other lower-body muscles. People are also drawn to the machine as a mode of burning calories. Have you ever looked outside the gym for a gym? Might seem odd but Los Angeles is great-big gym if you choose to let it be.
The stairs around LA not only kick your butt (figuratively and literally) but also allow you to discover new pockets. On my bucket list are the Beachwood Canyon Stairs in Hollywood and the Silverlake neighborhood stair path that ends with the Instagram-worthy Micheltorena stairs.
Attend a farmers market
There is a market for just about everyday of the week. My top 5 favorites:
- Irvine Farmers Market
This is one of the most extensive farmers markets. Take the drive down to Orange County on Saturday mornings to see what this is all about. You’ll find everything from succulents to sweet corn, giant donuts to homemade bone broth.
- Santa Monica Farmers Market
The Santa Monica market takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This is a hub for local restaurants and families alike. Stock up on dried fruits you didn’t even know existed, pistachios in every flavor and micro grains such as Ethiopian mustard or germinated amaranth.
- Brentwood Farmers Market
This Sunday spread is quite impressive. Pick up some avocado toast and kombucha on-tap while you shop around. Make sure to arrive early for the specialty mushrooms, they go quickly.
Nestled in the parking lot of this bustling street, your senses will be on overdrive! Bring your growler for nitro cold brew like you’ve never experienced before. You’ll definitely want to try the matcha scones and take home some Mediterranean spreads.
- Santa Monica Main Street Farmers Market
Bustling with families and friends, this market is a place for gathering over fresh produce, made-to-order breakfast and live music. Make sure to pick up some groundworks coffee and a spicy tahini sauce.
As you can tell, each market has its own “vibe”. You cannot go wrong with the seasonal produce and farm-to-market meats and cheeses. You’re likely to learn something new from the passionate vendors who will strike up conversation with you. Whether you are grocery shopping, perusing the samples or learning more about the vendors, the vibrant colours and fresh foods are sure to cheer you up.
When you are done, swing by Erewhon, one of our world favourite grocery stores, for some delish turmeric tahini cauliflower, or pick up a green juice at Juice Crafters, they make some of the best smoothies in town.
Most importantly, take time to nourish your body. Keeping physically and mentally fit will be key to making the most of everything this amazing place has to offer.
(1) Marinova, Polina. “Electric Scooter Startup Bird Just Raised Monster Funding and Is About to Join the $1B Unicorn Club.” Fortune, Fortune, 30 May 2018, fortune.com/2018/05/30/bird-scooter-funding/.
(2) “Your Definitive Guide to L.A. Farmers Markets, By Neighborhood Los Angeles Magazine.” Los Angeles Magazine, 23 June 2018, www.lamag.com/digestblog/farmers-markets/.