Palm trees. Rodeo Drive. Sunset Boulevard. Balmy nights. The glitterati. 90210. The Santa Monica Pier. The city of Los Angeles, and the luxe haven of Beverly Hills, is an it destination.
Of course, California’s City of Angels is most famous for Hollywood and the avenue of the stars, but the LA area also has incredible museums, some of the best restaurants in the U.S., hiking, couture shopping, sandy beaches, glamorous spas and a buzzing arts and culture scene. The mild Mediterranean climate and sunny skies make it perfect for a vacation spot any time of year. Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel is set in the heart of it all, at the top of Rodeo Drive.
*The laidback vibe.
*Beautiful weather. Bring your sandals and shorts for a day excursion and your cocktail dress and heels for the nightlife.
*Villa and celeb spotting in Beverly Hills.
*Variety: Sun, sand, skiing in the morning and the beach at dinner. A drive up the coast, a tour the Channel Islands or lose yourself in the shopping.
*Your pick of beach: Trendy/eccentric/people watching: Venice. Iconic: Santa Monica beach. Quiet: Zuma Beach, just north of Malibu.
*Food: Some of the world’s most acclaimed chefs have their signature restaurants here, including Mario Batali, Thomas Keller and Wolfgang Puck. You could spend weeks simply sampling all the delectable cuisine. The food truck scene is sizzling, too, and fun with the kids.
*Santa Monica Pier: Stretched out over the water, the pier is an iconic, 100-year-old landmark. Watch the surfers. Play at the beach. Spend an afternoon trying the carnival games, take a ride on the ferris wheel and bite into a mound of cotton candy.
*The beach. Hours of easy-going fun and splashing. Bring sun screen.
*The Four Seasons VIP treatment at the hotel.
*The hotel’s Mediterranean-style pool. Outdoors. Whirlpool, too. One of the cabañas has been transformed into a kids play area called the “Larry Zone.”
*Shopping: Some of the world’s best. Rodeo Drive lets your imagination run wild. Bring your gold card.
*Santa Monica Farmer’s Market: An incredible cornucopia. The kids will enjoy all the samples from various farmers. You can pick up a coffee and pastry as you stroll. Wednesdays year-round. Head over early and bring a scarf or jacket; the morning fog brings in quite a chill.
*PCH/Highway 1: It’s quintessential California along the Pacific Coast Highway. Rent a convertible and drive north to Santa Barbara with the ocean breeze in your hair and sun on your face. Book a stay at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara?
*The Nail Bar: Get your toes and fingers painted to perfection. Leave a little time to enjoy the steam room, relaxation room and definitely have a nibble of the sea salt chocolates.
*A glass of chilled sangria while the kids splash in the hotel pool.
Larry. You’ll spot the popular kids’ book series globetrotting canine around the hotel. Now there’s a new one: Larry Gets Lost in Los Angeles. Children under eight get a stuffed animal Larry welcome gift at check-in, plus personalized chocolate goodies waiting for them in the room.
Dine in—At Four Seasons, Wolfgang Puck’s award-winning restaurant CUT Beverly Hills is the place to see and be seen, all while savoring a dry-aged steak grilled to perfection. The Dungeness crab and Louisiana Shrimp “Louis” Cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish is a great start to your “surf and turf” meal. For the kids: the six-ounce fillet mignon with cavatappi pasta mac ‘n cheese.
Also at the hotel, THE Blvd Restaurant sits at the crossroads of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive—the ideal place to people watch. Every item on the menu has been created with precision; ingredients are seasonal and local. Don’t miss the Panzanella—bread and heirloom tomato salad, lettuce and a saba vinaigrette—or the Veal tacos: pickled onions, cilantro and corn tortillas. The kids will like the grilled cod with mashed potatoes and a chocolate milkshake. For the older set: the Young Chicken with grilled peaches and ricotta, corn and garlic flan.
Dine Out—(For families) From the moment you step into Crustacean Beverly Hills and walk on the serpentine aquarium that winds through the cocktail lounge, you know you’re in for something special. Start the meal off with Grilled Beef or Chicken Satays marinated in lemongrass and Asian herbs, served with pickled vegetables. Then enjoy the Rice Ravioli and Pacific prawns in a soy-sesame emulsion. Your kids will go nuts for the “secret garlic noodles.” No one knows the recipe except for the few allowed in the secret kitchen. Shhh…
Joan’s on Third is a quaint gourmet marketplace, perfect for a laid-back breakfast or lunch. It’s famous for the house coconut cupcakes.
Urth Caffe: This little café is just a few short blocks from the hotel. Some of the best organic coffee in town.
Pizzeria Mozza: Culinary headliners Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Joseph Bastianich bring their talents to the table at this not-to-miss restaurant. I can’t even recommend just one or two dishes because everything I’ve ever had at this restaurant left me speechless. Reservations are essential as is a hefty appetite. The kids will especially love the coffee gelato sundae with caramel, homemade marshmallow sauce and salted peanuts.
(For parents) Book a hotel sitter and make a reservation at Bouchon Bistro. Just steps from the hotel, spend an evening exploring star chef Thomas Keller’s culinary creations. Purely French: roasted leg of lamb, crispy polenta, sweet corn, peppers and lamb jus. Round the evening out with Ile Flottante, meringue with vanilla crème anglaise, almond and caramel.
1. Griffith Observatory: One of Southern California’s most popular places. The kids will enjoy the presentation at the Samuel Oshcin Planetarium Theater. Afterwards, take a leisurely hike in the Hollywood Hills. And/or take a side trip to the famous Reagan Presidential Library. The kids will love walking through Air Force One, which flew seven U.S. presidents.
2. Hike to the Hollywood Sign: Cliché? Maybe, but it’s a beautiful hike and a fun thing to mark off your bucket list.
3. Getty Villa: Perched on a hillside overlooking Malibu beach, this is a museum to entertain the entire family. Check out the Family Forum and after viewing the artwork, grab lunch at the café and sit out on the patio overlooking the 220-foot reflecting pool. The museum is free, but reservations are required. Ask the concierge to make arrangements for you.
4. Beach/Surfing Lessons: What’s more iconic than surfing in California? Billabong puts on daily camps for kids and families down at Huntington Beach. Pull on a wet suit and learn how to hang ten.
5. Museum of Natural History: Dinosaurs, mammals, reptiles… The little ones will enjoy the discovery center’s hands-on activities; older kids will love the fossils, dino exhibits and jewel collections. In the warmer months, there is a pavilion filled with hundreds of colorful butterflies.
*Babies: Ride in the stroller while on a leisurely hike or walk. Relax at the beach. Drive the PCH highway. Splash in the hotel pool. Ask about the hotel’s babysitting options.
*Toddlers: Your little one will love viewing all of the wild animals at the Los Angeles Zoo. Sign up for a toddler class that includes educational hands-on activities, stories and even live animal encounters. The hotel pool. The beach. The Santa Monica Pier.
*Kids 5-10: Spend some time at the California Science Center and IMAX theater. Let their little imaginations soar as they learn about aircraft and spacecraft via hands-on galleries and special exhibits. This age group is in prime time for Disneyland and Disney California Adventure—every kid’s fantasy. Tack this one on as a side trip. Take at least two days, if not three, to do it all. Ride the roller coasters, too, and don’t miss the fireworks show. The parks are pretty spectacular at night if your kids are old enough to stay up late. The hotel pool. The beach. The Santa Monica Pier.
*Tweens and Teens: A day at one of the many theme parks will thrill any teen. Choose from Universal Studios, Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott’s Berry Farm and Magic Mountain. Roller coasters, shows… you can go all day and all night. Shopping. The pool. The beach. Santa Monica Pier.
Read more on Los Angeles and Beverly Hills in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read more our Concierge Recommendations for Beverly Hills in Four Seasons Magazine.
Carrie Vitt is the author of the cookbook Deliciously Organic and the publisher of the popular food blog Deliciously Organic. Husband, kid- and party-friendly, Deliciously Organic is brimming with the recipes and flavors families love — all created using wholesome, unrefined and organic ingredients. Carrie lives with her husband, an Air Force test pilot, and their two daughters in Northwest Florida.
View all posts from Carrie
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