Have you ever had that moment when you know you are in the right place at the right time? From the top of your head to the tips of your toes you feel a warm glow and everything just feels in its place, perfect? For me, there is one place where I always get that warm and fuzzy feeling of "right place, right time."
That place is on the beach in Santa Monica. If we're getting specific, it's usually when I'm on a bike, riding down the beach path from Shutters on the Beach towards Venice Beach. Shutters offer a bike service to hotel guests that allows you to take on this adventure for yourself and I'll say that it's a must plan event if you're in residence. There is no better way to discover the neighbourhood and get some exercise. No matter how jet lagged I am, this is always the way I start my day. The Southern California sunshine and the salty sea breeze offer a new lease on life and one that has tempted me often to come and stay forever.
Now here are my recommendations for your Santa Monica to Venice Beach Bicycle Ride:
1. Start at the Santa Monica Pier. This is an iconic location, not to be missed. From cotton candy to twisty turny rollercoasters, there's a little something for everyone. Bring your camera! There are more family picture opportunities (or instagram gems) than you can ever be prepared for.
2. Pack your swimsuit. As you bike along the beach, the ocean will come calling. So make sure you have a suit in your bag, just in case you and some friends want to take a quick dip. Trust me, on a hot day this can be sweet relief and it's so easy. If you don't at least have the option, you'll regret it!
3. Visit the skatepark. There are some amazing skating talents to be spotted here on the beach. Ages range from five to fifty, but all deliver quite the show. Audiences gather around to take in the tricks each skater performs as they practice on the cement structure.
4. Yes, there is even graffiti on show. Local artists come to tag and occasionally you'll even catch a photoshoot or two taking place in conjunction (notice the guitarist being shot on the left as a tagger leaves his mark on the right). Venice Beach has amazing wall art so keep an eye or two open and ready to discover.
5. Architecture! The beach houses on the bike ride from Santa Monica to Venice Beach are sensational. You will see quite literally everything when it comes to design. From modern to traditional, there are some rather unexpected surprises. Start day dreaming as to what you'd like to own for yourself.
6. Stop in on Abbot Kinney and visit Abbot's Pizza. This little slice of heaven is legendary. It's my favorite place to grab a sneaky treat after biking away the calories.
7. Go hunk watching. Ladies and gents, there are surfers everywhere you look. Keep the catcalls to yourself, but there's no harm in watching, right? It's all so California...and I love every minute of it!
8. If you're out at breakfast, stop into Joe's on Abbot Kinney for a bottomless Mimosa and the best Sunday brunch ever - just saying!