Santa Monica has long been a getaway destination for those craving relaxation and relief from the L.A. heat. It has the natural beauty of the beach, with its clean air, sea breezes and beautiful sunsets, not to mention the downtown's shopping, top-shelf dining and elegant lodging.
Spending your staycation in downtown Santa Monica could also make you healthier.
where, it has been said, the new Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle took classes. Specialty spin classes with choreography are held in SoulCycle's candlelit rooms. Orangetheory Fitness pairs strength training with a cardio workout for all fitness levels.
Buy new workout duds along the pedestrian-friendly Third Street Promenade at Adidas, Luluemon Athletica and Alo Yoga, or at Lorna Jane in Santa Monica Place.
Local fresh produce is the highlight of the Farmers Market Wednesdays and Saturdays. Vegetarian and vegan dining options are numerous, and include The Hive Organic Café and Superfood Bar, True Food Kitchen and Flower Child.
The hottest downtown restaurants feature veggie fare as well as lusciously prepared meats and fish. Michael's has upscale California cuisine by Michael McCarty; Native's multicultural menu is by chef Nyesha Arrington; and Cassia's Bryant Ng prepares meals with Southeast Asian flavors.
Historic downtown lodging includes The Georgian, built in 1933. It's a quirky mix of Romanesque revival architecture and Art Deco style, and back in the day, its basement speakeasy drew Hollywood stars and mobsters, including the notorious Bugsy Siegel. The Fairmont Miramar Hotel, originally a private estate built in 1889, has a towering Moreton Bay Fig Tree that's as old as the building. The Streamline Moderne-style Shangri-La Hotel debuted in 1939.
Harvelle's Blues Club has been the nighttime music nightspot since 1931. Millennials flock to The Bungalow at the Fairmont Miramar, with its homey bar and outdoor garden. The Arclight and AMC movie theaters have reserved seating and food and drink service.
The Expo Metro Rail route connects downtown Santa Monica with Los Angeles Union Station, so there's no need to endure the summer freeway traffic. The Big Blue Bus can take you around town, but to get some exercise and sunshine, stop in one of the many bicycle rental shops. Or rent an electric scooter or a Segway.
Another idea: Walk everywhere. Breathe in the fresh air. Happy, healthy staycation!