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Santa Monica - California's Surfing Paradise

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Visiting California’s surfing paradise, we fell in love with a town of yoga studios, taco trucks and vintage markets. By Tilly Macalister-Smith

Description: we fell in love with a town of yoga studios, taco trucks and vintage markets

Where to stay

Shutters on the beach

Shutters is an exceptional retreat. Bedrooms feature in-room libraries, Pacific-facing balconies and whirlpool bathtubs. “And the beds are so big you have to climb up on to them,” beams Vogue fashion editor Francesca Burns, who was here for the “American Pop” story in the March issue. Aspiring sommeliers are well catered for at One Pico restaurant; or you can while away an afternoon at the beachfront café Coast. Don’t forget to visit the spa; the signature pore-refining facial using detoxifying mineral-rich mud with pineapple extracts is restorative bliss. Shuttersonthebeach.com

What to do

  1. Annenberg Community Beach House Originally a private estate with a 100-room house and five Acress, this Twenties property has been converted into a beach house for the public to enjoy. Greta Garbo and Clark Gable once strolled in the grounds. Open daily. 415 Pacific Coast Highway (Beachhouse.smgov.net)
  2. Farmer’s markets Santa Monica’s four weekly farmers’ markets (at three sites: Arizona at Third Street, Pico Boulevard and Main Street) are a must-visit for foodies. Smgov.net
  3. Hennessey & Ingalls You’d be hard-pressed to find a bookshop in the whole of America with a more comprehensive collection on the visual arts (more than 80,000 titles). 214 Wilshire Boulevard (Hennesseyingalls.com)

Description: Annenberg Community Beach House, Farmer’s markets, Hennessey & Ingalls

Annenberg Community Beach House, Farmer’s markets, Hennessey & Ingalls

What to see

Getty center and Getty villa

The Getty Villa Malibu museum specializes in fine art and geographical exhibitions, like The Last Days of Pompeii (September 12 to January 7), while the Getty Center LA has an impressive collection of fashion-led art and photography – see Herb Ritts: LA Style (Cindy Crawford, Ferré 3, 1994; until August 26) and In Focus: Robert Mapplethorpe (October 23 to March 24). Getty.edu

Santa Monica museum of art

Description: Santa Monica museum of art

Santa Monica museum of art

This modern-art gallery prides itself on showing work by emerging as well as established talent. Check out Michael Queenland’s sculptures made from everyday items (Rudy’s Ramp of Remainders, September 15 to December 22), and Kianja Strobert’s mixed-media show Nothing to Do but Keep Going (September 15 to December 1). Smmoa.org

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