Capturing the Rhythm of
Downtown Santa Monica
Santa Monica Centric
Mother's Day in Downtown Santa Monica


If you're anything like me, you probably haven't gotten around to that whole Mother's Day thing yet. Sunday, May 14, is less than a week away and looking at us from the calendar with a disapproving stare. Luckily enough for us both, you can do the entire Mother's Day trip without ever having to leave Downtown Santa Monica, from the first stirrings of card stock to the last glass of Chardonnay.

For starters, you're going to need a card. Paper Source (309 Wilshire Blvd.) is a hot spot for quirky cards, crafts and wrapping papers that you're not going to find anywhere else. No matter what's inside of your present, if it's uniquely packaged, everyone wins—although there are a number of gifts you could pick up while you're shopping for cards. For a truly personal touch, you can make your own. Fear not—even the craftily backwards can make mom happy, since Paper Source provides all the supplies and instructions you need in the store. The first DIY card is $8, and any subsequent cards are $6. You also get 10 percent off your entire order. For more information, call (310) 255-7988. If you want to get a jump on the holiday, head to the Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories (395 Santa Monica Place, #329), the most satisfactory spot for moms who are into culinary edification and experimentation, or simply having fun in the kitchen. On Saturday, May 14, there's a spring pie baking class that might be the perfect early Mother's Day present. If mom can't make it, you can always grab a gift certificate for her to use whenever she wants ( ). For more information, call (310) 656-8800.

  So now it's the big day. How do you kick it off? Breakfast in bed is kind of cliché, so instead, grab mom and head out for a Mother's Day brunch. If mom wants to lounge by a pool, the Hotel Shangri-La (1301 Ocean Ave.) has a delicious and decadent spread available in the courtyard, including a carving station, omelet station, hot and cold stations—including grilled vegetables and chicken sausage, and fresh fruits and shrimp cocktails respectively—and an assortment of cakes and pastries. And every mom gets a complimentary long stem rose and glass of champagne. It's $75 for adults and $35 for kids—for reservations, call (310) 394-2791 or click here . If you're more for people watching, head to 1212 (1212 Third Street Promenade) to dine in the heart of Downtown. Their three-course brunch starts with soup or salad and ends with a dessert of the day, and in between you can have a number of options, like a smoked salmon platter, quinoa chicken salad, homemade pasta or classic burger and fries. With so many choices, mom's sure to order something she'll love. Make reservations at (310) 576-9996. And feel free to sleep in—both brunches start at 11 a.m.

To help digest, mom might like some pampering. Burke Williams happens to have a Santa Monica spa (1358 Fourth St.), which is offering special gift cards for "Relax and Escape" packages, featuring massage, pedicure and spa style facial, as well as a "For Two," a special mother/daughter package. And since the gift cards don't expire, they're perfect for the mom who wants to relax herself into an experience whenever she wants. For more information, call (310) 587-3362.

The perfect way to end any kind of holiday is a family dinner, and taking mom out on Mother's Day is particularly special. The Independence  (205 Broadway) happens to have a special menu for mom, with classic prime rib, loaded baked potatoes and seasonal vegetables for $27, plus more wine, cocktails and beer than you can shake a tap handle at. The menu is available from 6 p.m. to closing time (the same menu is also available for brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). For more details, call (310) 458-2500.