Sometimes, its easy to take your immediate surroundings for granted, even in a place like Santa Monica, where the ocean air is always evident. For today's Friday Five, I'm excited to share a few of our local favorites; places old and new that we love spending time at over and over again.
1. Bergamot Station
While the east side of Los Angeles tends to get most of the credit for all of the hip, artsy haunts, the west side has it's gem, Bergamot Station, tucked just next to the 10 Freeway. A former railroad station from 1875 to 1953, Bergamot Station debuted its transformation into an art gallery in 1994 after Santa Monica City purchased the land from Southern Pacific Railroad to prevent it from being split up and sold. Now as one of the Metro Stops along the Subway to the Sea, it's possible to see over 40 galleries en route to the beach. Current favorite at time of this post: Moses@90 at William Turner Gallery. With so many galleries in one spot, there is almost always an opening or event happening, attended by lots of westside locals.
2. Blue Plate Oysterette
Whenever the seafood (aka oyster) mood strikes, there's no question about where to go. Just minutes away and never disappointing, Blue Plate Oysterette is the go-to restaurant in our household. Sometimes our frequency there alarms us... "Are we becoming creatures of habit?", we wonder...However, each time we place our order of a dozen oysters, the lobster mac, and a crisp glass of wine or prosecco and settle into the cozy, intimate atmosphere, we are reminded us of why we return again and again. On a gorgeous day (more often than not), sitting on the patio watching the sun set over the Santa Monica Mountains is simply icing on the cake.
3. LOVE ADORNED
While there is no shortage of shopping on Main Street, Love Adorned is in a class of its own. Stepping into this gorgeous boutique is an instant mood-lifter (possibly because of the huge skylight pouring light right into the middle of the store). Sure, it will make you want to redo all of your decor or rearrange your living room, but feeling inspired is one of the best parts about traveling and discovering, whether at home or abroad. Originating in New York by Lori Leven, the eclectic boutique focuses on handcrafted goods both from her own travels and from local artisans. There is also an cactus garden tucked in back with cute outdoor goods displayed along with a little seating area to soak up the Santa Monica sun.
4. COAST AT Shutters On The Beach
Whether you're here to grab a cocktail and appetizer or staying at one of the legendary ocean facing rooms, Shutters On The Beach and it's sister property Casa del Mar are two classic beachfront hotels in Santa Monica. Arrive before sunset and snag a seat on the ocean-facing patio with a drink (maybe two) in hand and observe the beach goers, bike riders, rollerbladers and surfers reveling in that so-cal lifestyle. California-inspired bites like spicy guac and roasted rainbow cauliflower are available as you linger over one of the best happy hours on the West Coast.
5. TWILIGHT CONCERTS AT THE PIER
There's nothing quite like that gold-hued Southern California light at dusk that exists only on the West Coast. No matter many beach visits we've clocked or how many times we've seen the hazy outline of the pier and the mountains behind it, that light has the power to reenergize and reinspire. And to be in it's presence during live music is even better. Every Thursday from July to September, the Twilight Concert series at the pier draws locals and tourists who picnic and gather on the sand for free music by renowned artists (this year's lineup included indie faves Mayer Hawthorne and Unknown Mortal Orchestra), a truly memorable experience.