When in Santa Monica...

Santa Monica is just like it looks in the movies.  There is Bubba Gumps Shrimp House and the ferris wheel on the pier, just like you saw it in Forest Gump.  Miles and miles and miles of beach and ocean and beautiful sunsets.  Lots and lots of shopping for the Hollywood kids who head to the beach from the hills.  And always the distant magic of the Hollywood sign up in the hills and the possibility that just around the corner you will bump into a star walking his dog or sipping her latte.  Just next door to its clean cut cousin is Venice Beach with its movie famous boardwalk and beach side basketball courts.  Here there is an edge of desperation, everybody seems to have a game you will be on the wrong side of.  Go for a walk in the light of day but look confident and keep your valuables out of sight.  A more upmarket and trendier Venice can be found on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, home to boutique shops and restaurants, the type of place that stars would buy their hip homewares or shop for green produce, or perhaps it's the assistants who do the shopping.When in Santa Monica you should....
- drink agua fresca and margueritas as the sunset lights the sky at the Blue Plate Taco on Ocean Avenue (above)
- walk along the Pier and ride on the ferris wheel
- walk past Muscles Beach where the body builders display their gun show out doors
- watch a game of basket ball at the Venice Beach courts
- drive up to Malibu and walk on the lovely beaches
- dodge the buskers and roller bladers on Venice Beach, don't get a tattoo
- sing a little Sheryl Crow "as the sun comes up  over Santa Monica boulevard"

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