If you're looking for cool factor on your next California getaway, it would be hard to beat Santa Monica, a playground for L.A. that is all neatly compressed into 8.3 miles strategically bordered by the Santa Monica Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.
The words trendy and hip seem to pop up a lot in the descriptions of the some 400 restaurants packed into this little piece of real estate. Throw in a few art galleries, some luxury hotels and, oh yes, celebrities, and you have the makings of an eye-popping diversion from your everyday hometown.
Our recent visit to Santa Monica reminded us of why we moved to California. The weather was one of those clear-as-a-bell L.A. days that do come around more often than you might think, the haze having been efficiently removed by some winds and moisture the day before we arrived. It was reminiscent of a trip years ago we took from the soggy Pacific Northwest to Los Angeles that introduced us to what bright sunshine was all about. We couldn't wait to return and eventually relocated to Southern California to get our regular dose of California sun.