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The sun is always shining in California! Part 3 of our California Road Trip brings us to Santa Monica, Malibu and Venice beach.

We spent four days around this side of town and we based ourselves between Santa Monica and Venice beach. We decided to rent an apartment through Air BnB for the time and it did not disappoint. It was nice to be able to make our own breakfasts and have a couple of dinners in.

Santa Monica

We spent a day walking around Santa Monica and went to the pier in the late afternoon. The pier is super fun so make sure you go on all the rides! In terms of food and eating, as we were staying close by we ate at our apartment to save some $$.

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For shopping, most are on the 3rd Street Promenade. Here you will find the likes of Madewell, H&M, Zara, Converse and other chain stores. At the end of the Promenade is Santa Monica Place which is shopping mall. In here you will find Barneys, All Saints, Bloomingdales, Free People and the likes. If you are around on a Saturday make sure you check out the Farmer’s market in the middle of 3rd Street.

Venice Beach

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As we stayed in between Santa Monica and Venice Beach, it was closer for us to walk to places along Rose Ave. On the corner was a large Wholefoods which we were able to make our own salads and get fresh juices etc. Below are some of our picks for around this area.

Coffee: Groundwork – This is just next to Wholefoods, great coffee!

Food: Cafe Gratitude – Yummy vegan, organic food. This is a must to try.

Superba – Cute little place for Tapas

Gjelina – (Abbot Kinney Blvd) – This is a must when your on Abbot Kinney. Try and get a table outside in the courtyard. We found it to be peaceful outside and relaxing after doing some shopping. The food and coffee is great, this will not disappoint!

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Abbot Kinney Blvd is the place to shop! The best thing about this street is it has lots of lovely boutiques with unique items. It has a great mix of both women and men’s clothing boutiques as well as interior and homeware stores. It is quite of a walk down to the beach from here so I suggest parking along one of the side streets, do your shopping, have lunch and then check out the sights at the beach. I am not a beach person so we didn’t really spend anytime at the beach. You could easily spend a day just walking Abbot Kinney.

Malibu

Malibu is such a chilled out, cool place. We drove through Malibu on our way down from San Francisco but being close to Santa Monica, we did venture out there to relax and have dinner.

In terms of shopping, you can do a little at the Lumber Yard/Country Mart. Here you will find Intermix, JCrew, All Saints, Vince etc. It is worth a stop. We got coffee from Starbucks and I scored a bargain at Intermix all in 30 minutes.

While you are in the area you must check out the Getty Villa and also the pier.

We also had a special dinner at Malibu’s Nobu. We booked a table for 6.30 outside so we could watch the sunset. This place was a nice for a one-off special occasion dinner. The food was fresh and we had great service.

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