If there’s a close-to-utopian neighborhood in Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades just might be it. This ocean-front neighborhood boasts all the best of any other coastal location in Southern California, but with the added benefit of a small-town vibe: adorable 4th of July parades, one grocery store where people know you by name, and a main drag where people stroll on foot (can be rare in Los Angeles!)

The Palisades, as it’s often called, also boasts some real LA gems beyond it’s sea-side views: The Getty Villa and the Lake Shrine Temple. These two locations alone are enough to warrant a trip west, even though it’s certainly a stretch from many other parts of the city. The area really only has two or three central locations, but they can be a little challenging to traverse without a car — we would recommend a bicycle once you get there. And come prepared to be dazzled: Pacific Palisades will remind you just why so many people dream of living in Los Angeles.

(Insider’s Scoop: some of our Pacific Palisades favorites are up on the new Kayak city guide! Check it out HERE.)

Stop 1: Los Leones Hiking Trail

Most people choose the popular Temescal Canyon Trail for hikes in the Palisades, but we always enjoy Los Leones Canyon (or Los Liones). It’s fairly lush, and the views of the ocean are beautiful. Lots of (free!) parking, plenty of shade, and several options for both short and long hikes. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes!

(566 Los Leones Drive, Pacific Palisades)

Stop 2: Farmers' Market

Oh, man. If you live in LA, you’ve seen your fair share of incredible farmers’ markets, but the one on Sundays in the Palisades takes the cake. From the incredible fresh produce to the pop-up boutiques and vibrant bouquets of flowers, this place offers it all.

We couldn’t get enough of the salsa stand (ceviche! guacamole! mango salsa!) and the sheep’s milk yogurt, but also had the hardest time choosing between all the gorgeous (and affordable!) flowers.

(15777 Bowdoin St, Pacific Palisades)

Stop 3: Matthew's Garden Cafe

If you’re anything like us, a weekend hike is really just an excuse to indulge in BRUNCH afterwards. With that in mind, we headed to the Palisades’ main street for some morning fare.

Our go-to spot is Cafe Vida (insider’s tip: while waiting for a table — because there’s always a wait! — head across the street to Juice Crafters), but if you’re looking for a bit more ambiance and a shorter line, Matthew’s Garden Cafe is a charming alternative. The cafe is entirely outdoors, which is perfect for almost any LA day.

Our favorite dish is the breakfast wrap with lavash bread, although the blueberry pancakes comes in a close second. The cafe is also well-known for its sweet and savory crepes.

Quick tip: We recommend grabbing coffee at one of the nearby coffeeshops before you make your way to Matthew’s.

(859 N Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Palisades)

Stop 4: Denise Carolyn boutique

This sweet little boutique has a beachy vibe and great sidewalk sales. The jewelry and accessories are really cute, and less expensive than many other shops in the area. Definitely worth a browse!

(15276 Antioch St, Pacific Palisades)

Stop 5: The Yogurt Shoppe


We all know that frozen yogurt shops are best when they have a variety of delicious yogurt flavors (check!) and quality toppings (check!) But what makes The Yogurt Shoppe stand out is that you can MIX your flavors and toppings into your yogurt with their nifty blending machine. Even more deliciousness!

For those vegans/lactose-intolerant folks out there, there’s an amazing non-dairy option: Jennifer’s Peanut Butter. And you get $1 off your order if you follow them on snapchat!

(873 Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Palisades)

Stop 6: Self Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Stressed out? Been sitting in too much traffic? Overwhelmed by some of the superficialness you’ve experienced in LA? US TOO! But don’t you worry — The Fellowship Lake Shrine is the perfect place to unwind, check in with yourself, and feel a little closer to nature and your own spiritual side.

This peaceful lake and temple sits just a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, a sanctuary that is open to the public — with stunning views, a windmill-turned-chapel for all faiths, free meditation classes, and so much more.

There’s no cost to enter the grounds, and most people choose to quietly wander the gardens and take in all the beauty and serenity of the space. You can also visit the hilltop temple for services and meditation in the sanctuary.

(17190 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades)

The Details:

From Santa Monica, you can take the Big Blue Bus (at 4th and Colorado) to the corner of Mesa and Entrada — it’s only about a 15-20 minute ride. In the Palisades, you can rent bikes HERE.

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