Outdoors Turf: Muscle Beach ignited an international fitness craze in 1934 when this famed network of outdoor workout equipment drew the likes of celebrities Kirk Douglas, Mae West, and exercise guru Jack LaLanne. Located on the sand, just south of iconic Santa Monica Pier, Muscle Beach’s views of the gorgeous shoreline draw fitness enthusiasts of all ages. Its training area features chinning and parallel bars, rings, a padded gymnastics area, and sand volleyball, as well as bike and running paths. Bike rental stations abound just off the beach.
Surf: Personal Surf Lessons off Santa Monica beach helps you to fit in with the many surfers lining the break. With 25 years of experience, the talented Sergio Peñaloza offers private and group lessons. ($99 per person; 415-810-6581; www.personalsurflessons.com) Indoors Burn Fitness 1315 3rd Street Promenade, 4th Floor. 310-394-1300. www.burnfitness.com To train like the beautiful people, head to Burn Fitness, the 10,000 square foot bi-level club overlooking Third Street Promenade. In addition to Panatta resistance equipment and dozens of cardio machines boasting LCD screens and Sirius radio, the sun-soaked spot offers a free one-day pass.
Yogi's Anonymous 1221 Second Street. 310-451-YOGI. www.yogisanonymous.com Yoga studios abound in Santa Monica, each inspiring a loyal body-mind following. A minimalist spot, Yogi’s Anonymous is the kind of place where owner Ally Hamilton knows everyone’s sweet spot. Sign up for Hamilton’s signature class, Hurts So Good, or for something different, Hip Hop Yoga. Both are mixed level classes given numerous times each week ($14). Craving Yogi’s class when you’re not actually in Santa Monica? Download streaming classes from the Yogi’s Anonymous website for free. Hotel Gym: Casa del Mar 1910 Ocean Way. 310-581-5533. www.hotelcasadelmar.com Paired with the exquisite Sea Wellness Spa, the fitness center at Casa del Mar is the way to go. A beachfront pool, state-of-the art machinery, yoga classes, and private training sessions are available to hotel guests or non-hotel guests who book spa treatments.
Eats Boa 101 Santa Monica Boulevard. 310-899-4466. www.boasteak.com. A sexy steakhouse with low-backed banquettes and modern accents, Boa delivers on food, ambiance, and wine. Start with the amazing goat cheese baklava, then move onto the butter-soft steaks with sinful sides like crab-truffle gnocchi and chipotle corn. Blue Plate Oysterette 1355 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica. 310-576-3474. www.blueplatesantamonica.com A casual joint just north of Santa Monica Boulevard, Blue Plate Oysterette is the go-to spot for seafood and raw bar selections. With daily specials ranging from oysters to featured catch to ceviche, favorites like the lobster roll and the tacos are sure bets. That goes for the key lime pie, too. It’s made in-house and will blow you away.
Jiraffe 502 Santa Monica Boulevard. 310-917-6671. www.jirafferestaurant.com. This two-story corner bistro/grill off Fifth and Santa Monica features the cuisine of local surfer/chef Raphael Lunetta. Utilizing ingredients from the nearby Farmers Market, Jiraffe offers a wide selection of salads, pastas, fish, steak, and chops for both casual and celebrated occasions. Nightlife The Yard 119 Broadway. 310.395.6037 www.theyardsm.com A gastropub off Ocean Avenue, The Yard is home to Top Chef contestant Chris “CJ” Jacobson. Churning out consistent grub, it also boasts a cozy bar atmosphere with 8 beers on tap, 30 bottled beers, boutique wines by the glass, and a market-fresh seasonal cocktail list, as well as live music, DJs, film screenings and art exhibitions. Daily happy hour: $3 beers and $5 margaritas. The Penthouse Lounge at the Huntley Hotel 1111 Second Street. 310-394-5454. www.thehuntleyhotel.com For a swanky scene, head eighteen floors above the fray to the lounge/restaurant of the Huntley Hotel. Creative cocktails are consumed in fireside cabanas that offer 360-degree views of sun-drenched Santa Monica. Sunset is especially beautiful, and happy hour specials sweeten the deal.
Zanzibar 1301 5th Street (at Arizona). 310-451-2221. www.zanzibarlive.com This sexy Indian-African inspired DJ lounge offers something a little different each night of the week. With alternating styling—from salsa Mondays and techno Tuesdays to hip-hop Fridays—Zanzibar is Santa Monica’s stop for the musically inclined. Thursday features Afro Funke, a weekly tribute to Brazilian, Reggae, Cumbia, and Funk music from around the world (cover from $5-10) while on Wednesday nights The Moth opens the microphone to wannabe storytellers.