If there is only one thing we could recommend you do when visiting the Los Angeles area, it would be a bike ride from Santa Monica Pier to Venice Beach. Rent a big old bike on the pier and allow yourself to slowly cruise down the beach, alongside rollerbladers and runners. There is nothing that will make you feel more "Californian." The wind in your hair, the smell of the ocean, the skateboarders in the park, the surfers running the sand and the guitarist on roller-skates in Venice Beach all make for a moment in time that will be truly unforgettable.
At the end of your journey, head into Venice to explore the canals with beautiful architecture on show. Naturally, you'll have worked up an appetite from all that physical activity. We suggest heading straight to Abbot Kinney and grabbing a table at Gjelina's. This place has the best pizza in existence and is frequented by all the locals, who just happen to be people like Matthew Broderick, Tori Spelling and many more. It's legendary and will require time to enjoy. After, walk Abbot Kinney to discover beautiful shops filled with local treasures. Whatever you do for the rest of the afternoon, you'll leave feeling as if you've had a truly regional experience. Even now, as I write this, I'm flashing back to this amazing day and missing the time spent with such wonderful people.
Places of Note:
Santa Monica Bike Rental and Tour - Perry's Cafe - Four locations along the coast
Gjelina's on 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd