The 3-Day Weekend Getaway Guide to Los Angeles: Day 3

Experience the SoCal coastal lifestyle

Venice Beach at sunset | Photo courtesy of Eric Demarcq, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool
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With 75 miles of coastline in Los Angeles County, and beautiful weather year-round, the Beach Cities offer the quintessential Southern California experience on Day Three of The 3-Day Weekend Getaway Guide to Los Angeles

Stay by the Sea

H Hotel Los Angeles
Photo courtesy of H Hotel Los Angeles

Accommodations include modern properties like the Custom Hotel and H. Hotel Los Angeles, the ultra-luxe Nobu Ryokan, the eco-friendly Shore Hotel, and the spectacular Terranea Resort. For travelers who want to stay plugged in, there are several business hotels near LAX with all the amenities a road warrior could want.

Enjoy the Endless Summer

El Matador State Beach at sunset
El Matador State Beach | Photo courtesy of Shawn Park, Flickr

Los Angeles boasts some of the best beaches in the country, from romantic El Matador Beach northwest of Malibu to Cabrillo Beach near San Pedro. Exploring the coast is one of the best things to do in L.A., whether you're taking a scenic drive alongside the Pacific Ocean or exercising some pedal power and biking The Strand. And of course, some of the world's most famous surfing spots are right here in the City of Angels.

Visit the Renovated Getty Villa

Getty Villa courtyard
Getty Villa courtyard | Photo by Stephen Lee Carr, Flickr

Located in Pacifc Palisades, the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa features more than 1,200 antiquities from the permanent collection on view, as well as changing and loan exhibitions. Recently reopened after a year-long renovation and reinstallation, the 64-acre museum complex sits on a hill above Pacific Coast Highway and houses Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. Best of all, admission is free.

Explore the Historic Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier viewed from above
Santa Monica Pier | Photo courtesy of *PhotoByJohn*, Flickr

Opened in 1909, the world-famous Santa Monica Pier is a popular destination that the entire family can enjoy. The landmark is home to the Pacific Park amusement park, the Heal the Bay Aquarium and a historic 1922  Carousel that was featured in the 1974 Best Picture,The Sting. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of specialty shops, carts and an old-fashioned soda fountain. Dining options include casual food stands, the lively Rusty's Surf Ranch, and The Lobster, an award-winning American seafood restaurant with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean.

"The Boardwalk" & "The Coolest Block in America"

King Solomon the Snake Charmer at Venice Beach
King Solomon the Snake Charmer at Venice Beach | Photo courtesy of Eric Lassiter, Flickr

Few places can match Venice Beach’s combination of people watching, shopping and top notch restaurants and bars. There’s always something happening on the world-famous Ocean Front Walk (aka “the boardwalk”), whether it’s amazing street performers, Muscle Beach, intense basketball games, or unique tchotchkes for sale.

Nearby Abbot Kinney Boulevard has been dubbed “the coolest block in America” by GQ magazine, and you’re bound to agree after browsing its eclectic collection of boutiques and shops. Restaurants include the acclaimed Tasting Kitchen, celeb favorite Gjelina, and MTN, one of L.A.'s best izakayas.

Discover Coastal Culture

Battleship IOWA guns
Photo courtesy of Battleship IOWA, Facebook

With its numerous attractions, shopping and dining, San Pedro and the Los Angeles Waterfront could be a three-day weekend destination all by itself. The Port of Los Angeles is home to Battleship IOWA, once known as the "World's Greatest Naval Ship" and "Battleship of Presidents" before it was repurposed into an interactive naval museum and living memorial. 

Two World War II-era waterfront warehouses have been transformed into CRAFTED, a large-scale, permanent craft marketplace that features hundreds of local artists and designers. Other cultural destinations include the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, Fort MacArthur Museum and the famed Korean Bell of Friendship. At the popular Fanfare Fountains, 400,000 gallons of recycled water soar to an array of music and lights.

Things to Do Near LAX

Showroom at the Automobile Driving Museum
Photo courtesy of Automobile Driving Museum, Facebook

And for a quintessential taste of L.A., order a Double Double Animal Style at In-N-Out Burger on Sepulveda Boulevard, often the first or last L.A. stop for countless travelers, including Anthony Bourdain.

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