Malibu – the name alone evokes images of frothy waves, sunbathers, and that classic California lifestyle of sand, surf, and sun. The Pacific Coast Highway winds up the glistening coast in epic fashion, offering the occasional glimpse of some of the world’s most luxurious estates. Almost mythic in reputation, Malibu boasts fabled beaches, first-class dining, and a bevy of celebrity residents.
Sunsets here are the stuff of dreams, setting the tone for a life of whimsy and romance. The lifestyle is active, healthy, and dreamy as if the ocean air whispers sweet nothings into the ears of every local. With a soundtrack of waves lapping the shore, music wafting from convertibles cruising the coast, and stars twinkling, Malibu sets the stage for a life of deliciously easy luxury. From days out on the water to nights clinking cocktails and gazing at the beauty of the Pacific, life in Malibu is full of wonder. Dive into your Malibu days like a local with these must-see destinations.
For Malibu residents, Point Dume State Beach
is always on the list of must-visit spots. This gorgeous beach is quintessentially Malibu, with a soft swath of sandy beach, coves of rugged rocks, and craggy cliffs overhanging the crashing waves of the Pacific. Jutting out from the coastline and sporting majestic vistas of the ocean, Santa Monica Bay, and even Catalina Island, Point Dume looks like something out of a vintage film – a fitting destiny for a Los Angeles park.
Wander up the mile-and-a-half, out-and-back trail for the best views or continue exploring to find more secluded beaches. Point Dume is also an incredible setting for swimming, scuba diving, and surfing. Even the winter months bring an extraordinary experience – visit between December and April and you may see a family of California gray whales as they migrate for the season.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Spanning over 100 acres of beachfront land and golden sandy beaches, Zuma Beach
is another Malibu must-see. While the waters at Zuma tend to be a bit cooler than neighboring beaches, this seaside spot is one of the most popular in Los Angeles. Live out your Baywatch dreams on this classic beach oasis and head to the volleyball courts, work on your tan, or dive in and go for a swim sans worry – lifeguards keep careful watch over the entire area. Zuma can command impressive crowds, which makes it perfect for people-watching, and provides food stands complete with beach-worthy concessions. Stop by in the winter and you may get to see the dolphins and seals that frequent the area.
Malibu Country Mart
Considered a boutique mall, the Malibu Country Mart
is a breezy outdoor lifestyle center full of designer shops, wellness spas, and exquisite dining experiences. An air of laid-back sophistication permeates this chic spot and locals consider these visits as essential as grocery shopping. The vibe here is so delightfully LA, with classic Southern California coastal perks like fresh green juice
and an adorable dog grooming
Head to Vuori
to outfit yourself for a class at 5 Point Yoga
, fuel up with a gourmet latte from Alfred Coffee
, and indulge in a day of self-care at Cie Salon
. Established in 1980, the Country Mart is Malibu’s top destination for chic, on-trend shopping and the best in home decor, and even boasts beautifully manicured gardens and unique garden sculptures.
One of Malibu’s most iconic gathering spots is Nobu
. Specializing in a fusion of California fare and Japanese delicacies, Nobu is the highly coveted brainchild of Iron Chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Nobu has become as famous as its celebrity clientele – Robert De Niro is a co-founder, and the restaurant is a playground for LA’s A-list gang. The food is nothing short of edible art and features astounding creations like scallop truffle chips, lobster sashimi tacos, monkfish pate with caviar, and lobster ceviche. Diners can also enjoy the fresh nigiri, sashimi, and sushi menu, or opt for one of Chef Nobu’s multi-course tasting menus.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash
Few sights are more recognizable than the white towers and vintage white and blue sign of the Malibu Pier
. This iconic spot boasts more film and television credits than some of Hollywood’s most celebrated actors and has been charming residents and visitors since 1905. The place where fishermen mingle with movie stars, the Malibu Pier is a lesson in coastal chic and effortless elegance. Famous for sweeping views of surfers and dolphins, the Pier is also home to an exceptional array of shops and restaurants.
The rough plank pier extends far out over the sparkling water and at night, the glow of fairy lights creates a whimsical, romantic atmosphere perfect for quiet dinners and contemplative conversation. Dine at the illustrious Malibu Farm
and enjoy organic, locally sourced fare and gorgeous waterfront views, charter a boat
for whale watching, or treat yourself to the nautical style of jeweler Miansai
The Getty Villa
The Getty Villa Museum
, known affectionately to residents as simply the Getty, is situated on the eastern coast of Malibu. The structure is a recreation of a Roman country home and stirred quite a controversy back when it was initially conceived in 1974. The Getty Villa is modeled on the Villa Dei Papiri from the ancient town of Herculaneum and was established by oil tycoon J. Paul Getty to house his personal collection. While the endeavor was met with criticism when it first opened, the museum soon underwent a renovation, transformed into a house of Greek and Roman antiquities, and became one of the most visited sights in Los Angeles.
Today the museum is renowned for its fine architecture, research libraries, educational programs, visiting exhibitions, and stunning collection of ancient art from the time period between 6,500 BC and 500 AD. Peruse the hundreds of rooms filled with art depicting the Trojan War and goddesses of Mount Olympus, take in the fresh ocean air and spectacular views, or stroll the beautifully cultivated gardens. The Getty is also home to the prestigious Conservation of Archaeological and Ethnographic Materials Program
*Header photo courtesy of Unsplash