May 27, 2016 /
Chris and I visited Santa Monica this year for Jennie and Brian's wedding. We fell in love with California, even LA with its legendary traffic. I'm not sure if it was the incredible weather or the contagious California good vibes but I'm already itching to go back. I'm sharing all about our day in Santa Monica and our favorite spots that we tried!
Where We’ve Been: A Day in Santa Monica
Chris and I visited Santa Monica this year for Jennie and Brian’s wedding (if you missed their blog post you can check it out by clicking right here.) We fell in love with California, even LA with its legendary traffic. I’m not sure if it was the incredible weather or the contagious California good vibes but I’m already itching to go back. I’m sharing all about our day in Santa Monica and our favorite spots that we tried below!
We started our day with a late breakfast at Ivy at the Shore, which is right by the Santa Monica Pier. It’s pretty clear why this place is a favorite of celebrities, the patio is covered with twisting vines and flowers, making it perfect for people watching but almost impossible to see into from the street. We were greeted with complimentary champagne (off to a good start!) and the menu had a lot of over the top options. Chris got a fresh lobster topped pizza, which I was pretty jealous of. I went for the french toast (Fig, Apricot & Pecan Brioche French Toast with a side of Italian Bufala Ricotta Cheese – say that five times fast), because they had real Vermont Maple syrup and I’m a little maple syrup obsessed.
The decor at Ivy at the Shore is a crazy mixture of Parisian and California chic which was totally up my alley. Chris wasn’t so sure about the pink interior and tropical patterns everywhere, but I was a big fan (my dress even matched the menus!) We didn’t see any celebrities while there, but they did send us each off with a box of home made chocolate chip cookies, so all around an excellent start to the day.
It was a short walk to the Santa Monica Pier, which is basically a must visit spot if you’re in the area. Yes, it’s crowded with tourists, but since we were tourists ourselves we didn’t mind. We walked out to the very end of the pier where you can look out over the ocean, and of course visited the landmark ferris wheel.
Since we were in California for Jennie and Brian’s wedding, we took time to scout out some awesome locations for wedding pictures too. Tongva Park in Santa Monica was one of our favorite spots for pictures (recommended by Jennie.) We would highly recommend checking it out if you’re in the LA area. The park is incredibly unique with huge sculpture structures, giant palm trees, and has beautiful private corners that are tucked out of the way of main foot traffic. It’s an awesome location for wedding photography, but also just to hang out!
As we walked from the Santa Monica pier to Tongva park, we strayed off the usual roads and into small walkways between incredible beach-side houses. Lush greenery was everywhere, and the winding alleys were completely empty of people, making it feel like a haven from the crowded pier.
One of the most beautiful things about California is that because it’s on the West Coast sunset actually happens over the water. It’s literally impossible to get the sun setting on the horizon over the ocean in Connecticut, so you better bet Chris and I spent our sunset on the beach!
I was really drawn to the pier while the sun was setting, and took time to explore under it as well. The sunset comes straight through the beams and makes enchanting light patterns everywhere.
Chris loved the ferris wheel, especially with the way it lights up at night. It’s really a magical place, especially once the sun starts to set and the sky turns cotton candy colors. It was a beautiful place to finish our night and enjoy the cool breeze coming off of the ocean.
We’ll be in California again this December, this time in San Francisco! We’ll be there for about a week and are always looking for suggestions, so let us know what your favorite places in San Fran are!