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Five Spots to Get Lost in Santa Monica

Five Spots to Get Lost in Santa Monica

As L.A.’s monsoon season and holiday-hangover month end, locals yearn for a proper day trip, but we don’t have enough time to cross the 405, let alone the county line. Instead of spending the afternoon in traffic, ditch the flock at the Promenade and get lost at Santa Monica’s five urban oases: Bergamot Station, Brentwood Country Mart, Montana Avenue, Pico Saturday Market, and the Santa Monica Airport.

BERGAMOT STATION: Just north of the I-10 freeway, tin warehouse buildings cordon off this art lover’s paradise from the Cloverfield/26th split. Discover new artists at over thirty galleries, then head to the Bergamot Cafe for a sandwich special and mint lemonade. Finish your day at the Santa Monica Museum of Art and catch Diana Thater’s multimedia “Between Science and Magic” exhibit. The galleries, museum, and parking are free, so pick up a vintage t-shirt from the gift shop on your way out.

2525 Michigan Avenue, open Tue-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-5:30

BRENTWOOD COUNTRY MART: Inside the red wood barn at San Vicente and 26th, high-end fashion mixes with convenience in an intimate, one-stop shopping center. Pamper yourself with the personalized service of the boutiques, run errands at the post office, and grab a chicken basket at the fire pit. Browse the bookstore’s latest bestsellers and indulge your sweet tooth at the candy shop.

225 26th Street, open Mon-Sun 10-6

MONTANA AVENUE: Shops and restaurants line Montana from 7th to 17th, with everything from grocery stores to spas to clock shops in between, but the Aero Theatre anchors the retail core between 10th and 15th. Grab a coffee and browse the nearby wine shops, then choose a tap from the wall of beers at Father’s Office before it gets too crowded. Make your way back to the Aero for a classic movie in a classic theater, and hope this one sticks around.

Aero Theatre: 1328 Montana; Father’s Office 1018 Montana

PICO SATURDAY MARKET: Located between the Pico and Sunset Park neighborhoods in Virginia Avenue Park, Santa Monica’s least crowded farmers’ market also feels the most local. Stroll the wide aisles, chat up the farmers, and sample the goods of the “zero-waste” market until you find the best plants and organic produce. Walk the half-mile loop around the park and check out the community mural, then find the best piece of grass for a picnic.

2200 Virginia Avenue, Saturdays 8-1

SANTA MONICA AIRPORT: Sunk into the landscape on the east edge of town, Airport Avenue extends from Bundy to 23rd and offers one of Santa Monica’s longest stretches of two-lane roadway. Start at the dog park below Bundy and have Rover put you through your paces, then see if you can handle the Spitfire Grill’s B-52 Burger. Continue west past the soccer fields until you reach the DC-3 “Spirit of Santa Monica” monument across from the airport. Go antiquing at the flea market every 1st and 4th Sunday, or keep walking past the art studios and flying schools until you reach 23rd. If the noise above gets to you, join ’em by taking an introductory flying lesson. Retrace your steps over a drink on The Hump’s patio and watch the planes touch down.

3200 Airport Avenue

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