Got a few days to unwind and soak up Malibu? Los Angeles’s beach city provides 27 miles of coastline. Known as “The Bu,” the Mediterranean climate may be one of the most desirable destinations in America. Instead of always going to the well known spots in this laid back California enclave, try some less scene-y jaunts, or secure a beach where it’s only you and the surfers. Enjoy lunch, art, or nature in peace with the Pacific Ocean waves in view. Explore Malibu like a local because sometimes it’s better to #findnewroads.
Instead of driving your fancy convertible to the beach during PCH rush hour, take the roads less traveled in an electric or diesel-powered vehicle.
Respect the Malibu culture and maintain its integrity of cleanly beaches and glorious wilderness by cruising to the ‘Bu in something efficient like the easy to handle Chevy Cruze Diesel. Skip the crowded congested Pacific Coast Highway and find new roads. Spiral down one of the canyons and enjoy the picturesque views and endless blue sky. Drool at the mountains hugging your joy ride while singing with the windows down to Miley’s new song “Maaaaalibu,” and revel in the fact that your Cruze is so fuel efficient it gets up to 52 mpg.
Instead of brunch or cocktails at The Farm on the Malibu Pier, head to Carbon Beach Club at the Malibu Beach Inn.
When the lines start to curve down the Malibu Pier, and reservations aren’t accepted during the day, walk on over to a quieter and equally beautiful spot for brunch or cocktails, the Malibu Beach Inn. We’ve never encountered a wait (even on weekends) at Carbon Beach Club, their restaurant and bar hanging over the crashing Pacific Ocean with indoor and outdoor seating. Instead, sip your rose and dine on a lobster roll or scrumptious brunch nestled on their ocean terrace. Lulled by the crashing waves and ocean breezes while gazing at the Malibu pier, you’ll wonder if life could get any better. Also, most people don’t know that Carbon Beach Club offers Happy Hour from 4-6 pm with outstanding $9 seasonal cocktails.
Instead of shopping at the Malibu Country Mart, find culture at the Malibu Getty.
The Malibu Country Mart also known as Cross Creek is a mecca for beautiful expensive outdoor shopping and dining. The large outdoor lifestyle center or “boutique mall” located in the heart of Malibu at the Civic Center of Malibu may be the place to spend money and people watch, but why not enrich your mind and enjoy the Malibu Getty built by the famous philanthropist and oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. Explore the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome as this house in the museum was created to resemble an actual mansion from Pompeii to showcase Getty’s personal collection of antiquities. View the mosaics, sculptures, and priceless artifacts in this modern day Mediterranean style villa. The setting alone is breathtaking as the buildings sit into a hillside at the southern end of Malibu overlooking the Pacific Ocean. There are docents available to lead and answer questions. Purchase food on sight, or bring your own picnic. Highlights include walking around the gardens, fountains, and inner courtyards all within a gaze of the ocean. Don’t miss the special herb gardens. You can also listen to live performances in both the Malibu Getty’s indoor auditorium or outdoor theatre. Buy tickets in advance for free admission.
Instead of Nobu for sushi, head to Bui Sushi.
No need to wait or book your reservation a month in advance, sashay up to one of two bar areas to devour the freshest fish for less money at Bui Sushi. No ocean views, but people come here to not be seen. A favorite with Malibu locals, this unassuming spot offers outdoor seating with heat lamps, indoor seating, a sushi bar, and regular bar. Start with miso soup, sake or Sapporo, the organic mixed green salad, a salmon and cucumber hand roll or warm crab hand roll dripping with butter. Move into the Malibu Sunset roll, one of their best sushi rolls with tuna, mango and mixed greens wrapped in soy paper, salmon, avocado and ginger honey sauce on top. You may also love the Bui roll, the 27 Miles roll, and the Surf & Turf roll. Still hungry? Add the Eggplant Crisps to your line up. You can’t go wrong with any menu item. End your salty meal with a savory fried banana for dessert with Macadamia nuts and ice cream. Everyone is friendly here. Drool at all the good looking patrons. Some of our favorite people dining nearby include Jeremy Piven, John McEnroe, Chris Martin, and Madison Hildebrand. Often those hiding from the limelight can be seen at the booths along the back dining with their kids or loved ones.
Instead of Mastro’s Malibu, head to old school Geoffrey’s.
The old Geoffrey’s began in 1948 designed by the famous architect Richard Neutraand, and if you were alive back then you might be seated next to Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, Shirley MacLaine or Lana Turner. The restaurant with an outside terrace, indoor bar and elegant indoor dining continues to attract Malibu’s finest with its charm as one of the premier romantic dining establishments for brunch, or sunset cocktails and dinner. While Mastro’s and Geoffrey’s offer panoromic views, Mastro’s Malibu is primarily walled in by windows, while at Geoffrey’s location you are breathing in the intoxicating ocean air while dining on your lobster. Perfect for a special occasion, the menu is heavily focused on seafood and is paired with a superb wine selection.
Instead of Dukes for Taco Tuesdays, head to Cafe Habana for Karaoke Night.
Duke’s may have the best cheap tacos on Tuesdays on the water, but Randy Gerber’s Cafe Habana brings the late-night nightlife for the weird and wonderful who step out and up to the mic every Wednesday for karaoke night with DJ Gold Dust. At around 9 or 10 PM, divorcees, big breasted women from the valley, homeless looking surfers, starlets, Malibu locals, and ‘Girls Nights Out’ all manage to pack in this space to leave their worries down the drain. Often Cuba Gooding, Jr is in the crowd and you never know who else is going to show up and sing, dance, and strut their stuff. Before you know it, the whole room with every age and walk of life is dancing in camaraderie. Come for the tacos and Cuban corn with cotija cheese, but stay longer to sample all the various margaritas from prickly pear, strawberry, mango, and guava puree. And, don’t forget to try the Spicy Jalapeno Margarita!
Instead of Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, head to Malibu Cafe Country Kitchen and Bar at Calamigos Ranch.
Massive hordes team Paradise Cove on weekends making it not the most desirable location, and parking is outrageously expensive to enjoy your lunch in the sand. There may be a reason Pete Yorn calls it the “white trash beach” in his song Paradise Cove. Instead, meet your friends at Malibu Cafe mid mid week for lunch or dinner in the canyons surrounded by crystal chandeliers hanging from old trees, moonlight and stars, and a variety of family-fun activities like shuffleboard, paddleboats, giant chess sets, giant jenga, and corn hole. The rustic magical country setting at the old Calamigos Ranch serves up “nouveau barbecue” like beer can chicken, mashed potatoes, ribs, chili, bbq chicken sandwiches, but healthy salads are also available. You may prefer to spend your day just drinking their Frosé.
Instead of Malibu Wines, head to Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio.
Another spot that has become all too popular on the weekends in Malibu Wines. Many years ago you could roll in and find a spot at the wine tasting bar and a plot of land to throw your picnic. As time and popularity has increased, it may just be more manageable to find yourself sipping wine at Rosenthal Wines right off the PCH and across from the ocean. Weekends often bring food trucks, our favorite fashion truck JD Luxe, live music, and dancing, all out back. Meet new friends easily on a giddy wine soaked weekend.
Instead of hiking to Escondido Falls, head to the Point Dume Cove Trail.
Escondido Falls on Winding Way can be unbearably crowded on most weekends because everyone is on a mission to find the waterfalls and swim in them, especially when LA is not in a drought. Choose a different hiking location and go during the week to Point Dume, which can be accessed from the parking lot at the far end of Zuma Beach (Westward Beach) or the Point Dume Natural Preserve, where there are only ten parking spaces along Cliffside Drive. Scale up the path winding up the spectacular cliffs with ocean oh-la-la views. You may spot rock climbers, and frequently we see dolphins, whales, and birds that blissfully cruise by this special cove. In springtime the whole cliffside area explodes with California poppies and yellow wildflowers known as the Giant Coreopsis, a short, stubby odd plant that looks like a mini version of a Joshua tree. Spend a couple hours on this 1.25 mile cliffside trail with expansive ocean views and walk back down to a more private beach called Dume Cove.
Instead of El Matador Beach, relax peacefully at quieter El Pescador Beach.
El Matador has become selfie generation. The scene looked comical the last time we walked down this picture perfect beach at sunset. Every few feet was another photo shoot, even a girl dressed in an all red get-up like a lobster crustacean cartoon character posing on a rock as the waves crashed around her. El Matador may be picturesque with its enchanting rock nooks and grand boulders perfect for your Instagram-worthy shot, but why not escape the madness to a more private beach just a short drive farther down the PCH where on most days you have the whole beach to yourself. Park your car on the shoulder of the PCH to avoid paying for parking in the dirt lot, and scale down the plank steps at El Pescador to surfer paradise where you won’t find the same annoying poses. Bring blankets, sunscreen, water and food for the day, and never leave this beach bliss. Feel at one with nature as the sky melts for miles with the sea. Sunsets from the top of the cliff can be tantalizing, bursting across the sky in every hue. As you scale back up this beach to the parking area, it is hard not to keep turning around to look at the views, and the jutting rocks hanging over the Pacific Ocean til the end of the world. Peace on Earth.