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12 Hours

Even if you only have a day, it’s easy to fall into the healthy, effortlessly cool California lifestyle oozing from Marina del Rey. The sun-and-surf-based local attitude is contagious and easy to embrace. Begin your day on the water with a stand-up paddle board lesson and reward your efforts with a locavore breakfast of trendy avocado toast and fresh-pressed juice. Hit L.A.’s famous art museums and shops, stroll Venice Beach’s character-filled boardwalk and toast the sunset from the bow of a boat. Whether you want to spend your time exploring the best the city has to offer or indulging in a day of relaxation, you’re bound to find a perfect day in Marina del Rey.

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IF YOU WANT TO RELAX
  • Farm-to-Table Brunch.

    Taste the freshest ingredients from the surrounding land and sea at Cast & Plow, the sustainable-minded, locavore restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey. The menu is light and fresh, with healthful options like the harvest salad and red quinoa bowl spiked with veggies and marcona almonds. 

  • View a Picasso.

    Spend an afternoon wandering the exhibits at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, better known as LACMA. The largest art museum in the western U.S. boasts a collection of nearly 130,000 works from around the globe, including a permanent collection of 20 pieces from Picasso and paintings and watercolors from Wassily Kandinksy and Paul Klee. Rotating exhibitions have included retrospectives of influential L.A. artist Carlos Almaraz and futuristic virtual reality installations from Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

  • America’s Coolest Block.

    For retail therapy, shop Abbot Kinney Boulevard, a mile-long stretch of fashionably cool boutiques, including 1970s-inspired Cali lifestyle brand Aviator Nation, highly curated women’s wear store Heist, and Huset, a homewares shop devoted to Scandinavian living.

  • Sunset Sail.

    The next best thing to chartering your own yacht is a sunset sail with Hornblower Cruises. The two-hour harbor cruise is timed to the sunset and includes live music, drinks and local-sourced bites.

  • Reservation to Score.

    Often described as the quintessential neighborhood restaurant, Gjelina’s rustic-chic dining room and vegetable-centric menu has won over the hearts and stomachs of L.A. foodies. Getting a reservation at this Venice hotspot is akin to hitting the lottery, proof that the squash blossom burrata pizza and roasted baby carrots dressed with tahini really is that good. If you can’t get a table, chef-owner Travis Lett also has a sister spot, Gjusta, around the block, with equally delicious salads and mains like steamed Santa Barbara mussels in fennel-tomato broth. 

IF YOU WANT TO EXPLORE
  • Workout Like a Local.

    Arguably one of America’s fitness cities, morning workouts are routine in Los Angeles County. Rise early and jog or bike the Marvin Braude Coastal Trail. Or for a truly local experience, get a stand-up paddle board from the rental truck at the southwest end of the Jamaica Bay Inn parking lot. Yogis can make the ocean their mat as they flow through warrior poses on a stand-up paddle board. YOGAqua holds group and private classes on the calm cove at Mother’s Beach. 

  • Cult Toast.

    Make the pilgrimage to the edges of L.A.’s hip Silver Lake neighborhood to try the much-hyped toast at beloved restaurant Sqirl. Owner Jessica Koslow may be single-handedly responsible for America’s avocado toast obsession. A thick slab of brioche served with homemade, seasonal preserves in flavors such as Moro blood orange is a must, but the market-driven menu also features global-influenced dishes, like a long-cooked chicken and rice porridge, and creative drinks such as vegan horchata.

  • Boardwalk Stroll.

    Take in the carnival-like atmosphere of the Venice Beach Boardwalk. This 2-plus-mile stretch of street vendors, shops and restaurants is the second-most-visited destination in Southern California. Ogle the bodybuilders pumping iron at legendary Muscle Beach, then head to the famed skate plaza and marvel at fearless skateboarders who seem to defy gravity with their tricks.

  • Catch a Show.

    If you want some nightlife close to home base, check the lineup of events at Fisherman’s Village, which often hosts free weekend concerts. Hardcore music fans should try to enjoy a show at one of L.A.’s legendary outdoor music venues. In summer, the historic Hollywood Bowl is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. The Greek, in Griffith Park, dates back to the 1880s, and its stage has graced stars including Bruce Springsteen and Sir Elton John.