National Geographic: The Best of Santa Monica

When I was in L.A., I worked on this piece for my Urban Insider column: The Best of Santa Monica.

A recent visit to the Santa Monica Pier immediately transported me back to my college days when I would crash in a friend’s dorm room at USC. We’d find some hopping chain restaurant and the night would inevitably end at the end of the pier, cotton candy in hand, looking out towards Malibu.

Today, the pier evokes nostalgia for me, but it’s the cross between urban culture and SoCal cool that keeps me coming back. Somehow, even on the hottest of days, there always seems to be a breeze that promises excitement.

Here’s my guide to the best of Santa Monica. Sound off on what I missed by leaving a comment below!

Get on two wheels. Navigating Los Angeles in a car can be a nightmare, but watch how manageable it becomes on a bike. I recently did a 32-mile “L.A. In A Day” ride with Bikes and Hikes L.A., and highly recommend it. As we rode into Santa Monica on Georgina Avenue beneath towering palms, our wonderfully knowledgeable guide, Kim Beaudoin, said: “Bus tours can be voyeuristic as you’re seeing everything from above. On a bike, you’re absorbing the city and becoming a part of the sights.” After our tour, I couldn’t agree more.

Read more here.

Did you watch the Oscars last night? Several people have told me I would love Life of Pi, and now I really want to see it. Seeing Jennifer Aniston and Jennifer Garner made me nostalgic for the days of Friends & Alias.