Located no more than 120 miles from each other and perched on the Pacific, the two coastal cities of San Diego and Redondo Beach offer endless beaches, oceanfront dining, shopping, and entertainment in laid-back SoCal environs.
8 p.m. | Live Music in San Diego’s North Park
Nestled in the trendy neighborhood of North Park, the Observatory is an art deco gem of a theater that has lived many lives since its construction in 1929, including a movie house, a play hall, and most recently a music venue that has drawn big-name acts like Hozier and KD Lang.
11 p.m. | Quality Cocktails Hidden in the Hush
Beyond the dapper doorman and through a hardwood hexagonal tunnel, you’ll enter a moody and eclectic 1950s-era lounge known as Starlite, Mission Hill’s hush-hush gastropub located away from the main hustle and bustle of San Diego. But what shines most here is the well-groomed menu of rare and high-end alcohol featured in such specialty drinks as the El Pinar (Los Javis Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, Licor 43, lime, Tajin) and The Palomino (Broker’s Gin, citrus-rosemary shrub, and ginger beer).
10 a.m. | A Shelter Island Breakfast
Kona Kai Resort & Spa’s on-site restaurant, Vessel, serves up California classics – think huevos rancheros, fish tacos, and a Southwest-style breakfast burrito – in cool SoCal digs of weathered woods, pops of white and bright teal, and panoramic views of San Diego Bay.
12 p.m. | Muse over Mankind
Housed in a brilliantly ornate, almost church-like structure in Balboa Park, San Diego Museum of Man features more than just bones and mummies. While a museum of anthropology first and foremost, including exhibits dedicated to Ancient Egyptian antiquities, Mayan monuments, and more, you’ll also find displays relating to popular culture like beer history, graffiti art, and skateboard culture.
3 p.m. | Hit a Section of America’s Most Famous Highways
Stretching from the southern tip of Baja to the Olympic Peninsula, the 500-mile Pacific Coast Highway – known as just the PCH among Californians – is one of America’s most iconic road trips, of which you can sample a 120-mile stretch when you head north from San Diego to Redondo Beach. While running through cities and towns, there are several long scenic expanses through the high desert and beside the ocean – be sure to stop at Las Flores Viewpoint and the James Dilley Greenbelt Preserve.
6 p.m. | South Bay Shopping Mecca
Beverly Hills has Rodeo Drive, New York has Fifth Avenue, but Redondo Beach has a whole village: Riviera Village. Nestled along the Pacific in view of the golden green dramatic cliffs of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, it is the South Bay destination for fashion and food, boasting more than 300 boutiques, restaurants, and galleries in French-Mediterranean buildings.
8 p.m. | A Punk-Inspired Dinner on the Beach
Abigaile is a gastropub that honors Hermosa Beach’s punk past in an upscale way: Set in the former practice space famously utilized by iconic bands like Black Flag, Descendents, and Redd Cross, the restaurant keeps that rebellious spirit alive with black walls covered in graffiti, headshots of famous musicians, and other gritty-chic decor. The kitchen pumps out classic dishes turned on their heads, like fried chicken served with gherkins and remoulade.
8 a.m. | Your Own Whale Watch
Located at King Harbor on the grounds of The Portofino Hotel & Marina, Rocky Point Fun rents kayaks that – thanks to Redondo Beach’s unique and key coastal location along whale migration routes – allow you to easily intercept humpbacks, California grays, even blue whales, within a quick 20-minute paddle.
11 a.m. | Bask in One of the Many Beaches
It’s not named Redondo Beach for nothing. Several stretches of sand surround LA’s coziest seaside city, including Hermosa Beach, home to the 1,328-foot Hermosa Beach Pier that was featured in the Emma Stone/Ryan Gosling almost-Oscar-winner La La Land; Manhattan Beach, featuring incredible surfing to its north; Torrance Beach, a more laid-back, less-populated option; and, of course, Redondo Beach, famous for its picturesque mile-and-a-half-long stretch of sand that was depicted in the ’90s TV series Baywatch.