a day in santa monica

This year I celebrated my five-year “LA-versary.” I moved here from Texas not knowing Santa Monica from Silverlake and somehow ended up on the westside. The westside of Los Angeles is truly what I believe to be the one of the greatest parts of LA. You get the city life feel with the escape of the ocean, and there is just so much to do outdoors. Even the malls are open air. Needless to say, I think I’ll stay awhile :)

My boyfriend and I were celebrating his birthday a few weeks ago, and we were pondering… What would be the ideal day in Santa Monica? What would one do on the westside if they had just one day here? We had too many ideas to fit them all into just one day, but here is our highlight reel.

To discover more ideas beyond those listed below to do in Santa Monica – or any other city for that matter – you can search EventBrite, a site full of new activities waiting to be discovered and where you can even plan and promote your own events!

But for now I present to you… a day in Santa Monica.

I’m a morning person, so the plan for this day starts and ends early. But bear with me… when you get to watch the sunrise behind you as you stare across the vast expanse of ocean, you will thank me – but mostly God for His beauty.
Are you ready?
“It’s gonna be a beautiful day.” – Joshua Radin, Beautiful Day
6:45 throw on your workout clothes (wear layers), tennis shoes, some sunscreen, possibly a hat and sunglasses; and bring in your car: a swimsuit and towel

“The night is finally over; take a step into the light.” – Phil Wickham, This Is The Day 

7am: Head to Groundwork at 17th and Montana and treat yourself to your favorite caffeinated beverage. Groundwork carries their own rich, delicious, organic, fair trade coffee.
IMG_86397:15 walk down Montana Avenue, west, all the way to the ocean.
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7:45 admire the ocean. let your toes sink in. let the cool water refresh your spirit. feel the weight of His presence in Creation. be still. be restored.
“I am washed by the water.” – Needtobreathe, Washed by the Water
8:15 walk back up Montana to Blue Plate for breakfast now that you’ve worked up an appetite (don’t forget to stop and smell some flowers along the way)
8:45 breakfast at Blue Plate: sit on a blue bench, enjoy a pancake bigger than your face, watch the sun rise over Palm trees
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9:45 throw on your swimsuit and head to Marina del Rey for stand up paddle boarding! it’s a great workout and so much fun you won’t even realize you are exercising… until the next day when you will likely wake up sore in the best way!
10:15-12:15 SUP with Wade in the Marina is a great option for stand up paddle boarding if you don’t want to “fight” ocean waves. You literally step off the dock and onto your board, and unless you fall in, you’ll stay completely dry! you’ll get to wade (no pun intended) through the water as you pass by all the boats… and sea lions! sleepy little sea lions (well, they are actually quite large) curl up to nap on the back of boats. it’s pretty cool to get so close.
12:30 head to lunch at Kreation on Abbott Kinney (try their chicken kabob special for $9.99! it’s seriously delish.)
2013.7.3 vintage picnic table 2IMG_2191
1:30 Head into my favorite vintage furniture shop, Tumbleweed and Dandelion, where I found this picnic table and the pieces to create this “headboard.”
2:00 TOMS coffee shop (enjoy an afternoon coffee or tea, sit in the grass or on their unique outdoor seating area, read, write, ponder life… and of course, shop. TOMS now sells shades, coffee, and clothing in addition to their shoes. all items are part of their “conscious capitalism” design to give back “one for one” to those in need.)
3:00 head home/to your hotel to shower and relax; find an actual hammock, or just a mental state of hammock time.
4:15 grab your favorite bottle of wine from home or stop to get one and leave it in your car (if it’s white, pack a little cooler bag for it!) we love this Zinfandel we got from the BevMo five cent sale. it’s called “Zynthesis.” it’s fun to say.
4:45 park at the 2nd street structure between Broadway and Santa Monica and put your name in at Blue Plate Taco to sit on the patio. but first…
5:00 take a walk on the Santa Monica Pier – ride the roller coaster, play some games, people watch… some locals find the pier too “touristy,” but I, for one, find it relaxing and romantic to stand overlooking the ocean waves rolling in methodically below.

5.30 happy hour! margaritas and guac at Blue Plate Taco (you’re gonna want the large. trust me.)

6:30 walk on the Third Street Promenade

*With girlfriends? Quick shopping trip to Madewell? Yes, please.
*With a significant other? This is a really cool date idea: grab an iPod splitter, each make your own playlist of your favorite songs, walk around and people watch, taking turns listening to your music and maybe even share a sidewalk danceIMG_4893 - Version 2
“Falling in love to the beat of the music.” – Brett Eldredge, Beat of the Music 
7:30 admire the sunset. it’s not difficult to do.
“He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness.” – Job 26:10

7:45 grab that bottle of vino and head to Cha Cha chicken for dinner… no corkage fee here! try the “ropa nueva” – it’s our fave… and you may want an extra side of plantains. trust me :)

Early to bed, early to rise… It doesn’t always work out for me. But when it does I wake up feeling so much fuller of life. Like I’m not wasting a moment here on this earth. Like I have time for peace and pause before the day becomes busy. To soak up all God wants to fill me with on this day. Each day. One day at a time. Anything else I fill my day with beyond being filled by Him is just extra.

You don’t need to go to any of these restaurants, do any shopping, or take any of my suggestions for activities. But if there’s one thing I’d love for you to take with you for your journey – whatever city you may find yourself in – is the reminder that He’s there waiting for you to look to Him, to see Him in the morning as the sun is rising, to feel Him as the sun is setting, and to experience the freedom of His love at every moment in between.

Thanks for taking this virtual journey with me. I hope your actual day is filled with joy and that any potential day you may spend in Santa Monica is one you will remember fondly. These suggestions and those on EventBrite can surely help you make that happen!

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