700 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica
Perhaps the most luxurious part of the exquisite, Kelly-Wearstler-designed Proper Hotel is the adjacent, also-Wearstler-design Surya Spa. The cleansing Panchakarma detox wellness programs that last anywhere from 3 to 28 days are the biggest draw: For up to four hours a day, you go for custom restorative treatments, detox, and healing experiences like private yoga, sound baths, Qigong, breathwork, energetic healing, and more. The Nasya treatment isn’t like any facial you’ve had before: You sit as your face, neck, and shoulders are cleansed and nourished with herbalized oils, vigorous massage, aromatic steam (to help clear nasal passages), and the wood and bone tools of traditional Ayurveda. The treatment can help relieve brain fog, stagnant energy, tension, headaches, and congestion. The spa shop is worth a few moments on the way out: The collagen cream is hands down the richest cream we’ve ever tried, the bath soaks are the ultimate luxury (the whole box equals one fantastic bath), and the almond-flour-based spa breads are the among the most delicious things you’ll ever eat.
1741 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
Café Bolívar is our favorite establishment on this stretch of Ocean Park. It's been part of the neighborhood since 2002, and we like to think it has the power to transport you back to Santa Monica's erstwhile, laid-back early aughts vibe. Come for the arepas, which never disappoint. Their coffee is great, too—and always organic and fair-trade.
The Georgian Hotel
1415 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica
The turquoise Georgian Hotel has been a landmark on Ocean Avenue since 1933. Today, it’s been totally reinvented by the developers who did the Ace Hotel and SoHo Warehouse in downtown LA. It retains the property’s historical roots, but feels elevated and modern.
Angel City Books & Records
218 Pier Ave., Santa Monica
Great used bookstores are a rare breed these days, and this one is our favorite in LA. It doubles as a record shop, and it’s a good place to grab gifts, too.
Offhand Wine Bar
3008 Santa Monica Blvd., Santa Monica
Offhand is a chill spot for a glass of wine with a friend—an easy space to relax with a good natural wine list. (By day, the space serves as a coffee house under the name Please Enjoy.)
2309 Main St., Santa Monica
Alfalfa turns out really good salads, plus breakfast burritos, bone broth, and gluten-free doughnuts. They serve Intelligentsia coffee and tea from Kilogram, too.
2104 Main St., Santa Monica
At Cobi’s, the plates and chairs are mismatched, the music is joyously loud, and the food is unbelievably good. Fill your table with papaya salad, pork dumplings, yellow split pea dal, and inventive crudo dishes. Or let it be a surprise and leave the menu in the hands of the chef.
2901 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica
Crimson is a great option for takeout lunch or a healthy, family-friendly weeknight dinner. We love their crowd-pleasing kabob plates, the kale salad (add salmon to beef it up), or a cup of lentil soup with some babaganoush and pita.
Crudo e Nudo
2724 Main St., Santa Monica
Crudo e Nudo is a tiny but exciting restaurant serving sustainable seafood and low-intervention wine. It’s almost entirely outdoor parklet seating, you open and close your tab at the counter, and the menu changes according to what the fisherman caught today. The teensy space also serves as a market and offers a monthly wine-and-tinned-fish membership.
Le Great Outdoor
2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica
Le Great Outdoor’s story began with no kitchen, no supplies, and no investors. Which is what led them to grill everything—fish, chicken, seasonal veggies—over an open fire. (The charred branzino is unbelievable.) The menu changes according to what’s super-fresh right now; keep in mind that once a dish sells out for the day, it’s gone. Try for reservations earlier in the evening to get your first picks at dinner. Walk-ins are accepted for lunch, when the whole operation skews takeout-friendly.