Cruising along PCH with the top down, laying on golden sandy beaches with the sun on your skin, surfing the crashing waves of the Pacific, strolling into a romantic ocean sunset…that’s usually what comes to mind when people suggest a trip out to Malibu. As Cali girls, we’re naturally big fans of the beach—that just goes with the territory. But what if we were to tell you that our absolute favorite parts of Malibu are nowhere even close to sand or sea? That tucked in the mountains far away from the ocean crowds are countless secret treasures just waiting to be explored? There is, in fact, gold up in them there hills! So come take a little trip with us to discover…Hidden Malibu.
MULHOLLAND WINE COUNTRY
Did you know that Napa Valley exists right here in the middle of LA? Deep within the Malibu Hills just off of Kanan, a couple-mile strip of Mulholland turns into Los Angeles Wine Country. As you hit the mountain crest, suddenly little green vineyards begin to stretch across the hills, pointing the way to the several local wineries buried right in the heart of our city. Our favorite is Malibu Wines—the perfect place to gather for a romantic picnic, friend gathering or special celebration any time of year. In summer, it’s all about chilled wines and sundresses on the green as you take in the blissed-out sounds of local musicians and laze away in the afternoon sun. Buy a bottle or a sampler flight and BYO picnic nosh to enjoy one of the best under-the-radar outings the city has to offer.
More info on Malibu Wines: HERE.
Just down the street on Mulholland is Malibu Café at Calamigos Ranch. Stop in here for some Afternoon Delight of drinks, snacks and lawn games. This sprawling hidden adult playground sits on a small pond where you can rent paddleboats or just enjoy a cocktail in an Adirondack or swinging hammock chair. On the lawn, you can get a little competitive and dominate at shuffleboard, pool, giant jenga and our personal fave…corn hole. Since we’ve sworn to always tell you nothing but the truth though, we offer you this word to the wise: do not order a meal here. Food is expensive and mediocre at best. Just order a stiff drink and a cheese board and you’ll have the time of your life letting your inner child run rampant in this mini mountain wonderland.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT IN L.A. PERIOD.
How many ways can we possibly sing the praises of The Old Place? If you want to escape all time as you know it and travel to a foreign frontier without ever leaving our city, do yourself a favor and head out to The Old Place pronto. The size of a shoebox, this Old Western saloon is hands-down our favorite restaurant in all of Los Angeles. Come for dinner or brunch and be blown away by the quality of the down-home cooking that arrives in personal cast iron skillets while your mind tries to make sense of where you left your time machine. This original settler’s general store and post office has been converted to a handful of tiny booths and one “large” family room in the back, so seating is extremely limited and reservations strongly encouraged. But don’t fret if you make it a last-minute destination—you can always belly up to the bar and talk to some real live cowboys over a strong one while you wait for your meal to arrive. Be sure to step outside at some point to commune with the wild peacocks that roam the grounds and be reminded of how much magic there is to experience in the world, if we just take the time to find it.
Your full details on The Old Place are right: HERE.
UNIQUE & UNUSUAL HIKES
LA is a city of literally hundreds of hiking trails in our sprawling mountain ranges, so there are no excuses for being basic. (We’re looking at you, Runyon.) If you’re ready to step up your LA hike game, then it’s time to get in on Paramount Ranch and Solstice Canyon. Both locations offer completely unique and unusual hiking trails unlike anything else in the city. Paramount Ranch starts off at an old Wild West main street—remnants from the hundreds of westerns that were shot here since the early days of Hollywood and still used for filming today. Meander through the tall grassy trails to a little river with overhanging trees or head up into the lush oak tree covered mountains for some stunning valley views. Solstice Canyon is off of PCH and is the closest you’ll get to “seaside” in any of these Hidden Malibu treasures. Nestled up off of Corral Canyon Road, the hike leads you through the ruins of the original homestead that occupied the property before winding your way to a waterfall, running stream and mountain trail that opens up to a gorgeous sweeping ocean view.
Everything you need to know about Paramount Ranch is right: HERE.
PILGRIMAGE TO INDIA
For the real off-the-beaten path city explorers, you can take a mini trip to India right off of Las Virgenes at Malibu Hindu Temple. That beautiful white and gold structure you see peeking behind the trees is an intimate Hindu temple with shrines to some of the most popular Hindu gods and goddesses. Take your shoes off out front and saunter through the temple courtyard for a quiet meditative moment and some personal reflection. Peace, quiet and spiritual pilgrimage provided—no passport required.
*HOT TIP: For the world’s greatest date or entertaining out-of-town guests, consider combining all of these Hidden Malibu treasures into an epic build-your-own adventure day. Stop in at the Temple to ground inward before getting the blood flowing with a stroll through Paramount Ranch. Lounge with a light picnic lunch at Malibu Wines, then go play some lawn games and enjoy a cocktail at Malibu Cafe. End with a cozy dinner at The Old Place and bask in the glory of a day truly lived to the fullest! You can thank us later!
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