You want to go to LA? On retreat?
Los Angeles seems to be having a moment. From London to San Francisco, I keep speaking to people who dream of upping roots to LA. And for good reason – the climate, the lifestyle, the people, the landscape, the creativity, the food...
It is for those reasons that it is my ideal base for a self-curated wellness retreat. What? The sprawling, grid-lock environs of LA. Yes!
As someone who has been studying eco-psychology, it is important to connect with nature regularly. Believe it or not, this is possible in our urban environments. Considering the ever-increasing population boom in urban areas, it is more important than ever that people not take for granted the slice of nature that lives even amongst the brick and mortar of our dense cities.
For the past 4 summers, I have used Venice Beach, CA as my wellness base. It just keeps getting better. The people here are happy, nature is abundant and healthy organic food is easily accessible. Here are just a few of my top recommendations for your curated Venice Beach retreat.
Arrive LAX and in just 30 minutes you can be in Venice Beach, CA
Walk, bike, electric scooters, metro (Uber if you want to hike the hills) If you are like me self-care begins with getting out of our cars and, yes, you can do this in LA, especially when your basecamp is Venice Beach. I have spent time there not getting in to a car at all. You can walk everywhere and I always ensure I have a bike. Electric scooters are everywhere for those a little less active. I recommend Lime as it was the easiest App to use, esp with an international address.
I always base myself in one of Dara's Venice Beach Airbnb's. Dara is a raw vegan chef, intuitive and an infectiously happy wise person. Her accommodations are perfect for a retreat. Bohemian minimal with crystals, a collection of books for personal growth, Vitamix, and infra-red sauna. The location is ace! She offers a 1 bedroom flat or a beautiful and spacious 2 bedroom.
If you don’t stay at Dara’s position yourself between the sea, Rose Avenue, Lincoln Avenue and the canals.
Start your mornings with a smoothie from Café Gratitude or pop by Moon Juice to pick up their amazing dusts, potions and protein powders to pimp your own smoothies at home. Both are across the street from Dara’s.
With Whole Foods up the street or the new fabulous Erewon Natural Food Market nearby you can pick up provisions or pre-made healthy meals to support your retreat objectives and keep it simple.
My go-to place for healthy food on Abbott Kinney is Kreation Café. It satisfies all tastes. The syringes and tonic shots are a boost to whatever ails you. Also, try and catch the Acai food truck on Abbott Kinney. Another great place to stock up on retreat tonics and potions is the new healthy tonics bar Simples.
If a juice cleanse is what you have in mind, you can easily pick up a series from either Café Gratitude or Kreation Café.
Farmers Markets – between Venice and Santa Monica there are several farmers markets across the week.
My favorite thing to do is take a long bike ride in the morning. Either along the boardwalk toward Malibu or follow the 44 miles out and back Marvin Braude coastal bike trail. It will take you past a few beach communities like Manhattan Beach all the way to Torrence Beach.
Hiking is abundant in LA. Download the App AllTrails with descriptions and reviews of the nearest hikes. The landscape in Venice can feel a bit flat to me, so I’d recommend finding a butt-kicking uphill hike. You’ll need an Uber for this. Head toward Malibu, perhaps a hike up Solstice Canyon followed by the Million-dollar smoothie at my all-time favorite Sunlife Orangics Or hike up to Eagle Rock in Topanga Canyon, the largest urban park in the world.
Boogie-boarding, beach walks and runs. I absolutely love boogie-boarding and swimming in the sea every.single.day. This summer the boogie-boarding waves were awesome not to mention the sea felt warmer than I can remember. It’s so much fun. From Dara’s it’s just down Rose to great waves and endless beach. Outside of summer the water can get cold, but don't let that stop you. You've all heard of the Iceman, right?
Be sure to stroll along the enchanting Venice Canals to capture your imagination. Oh, to live here. The lush, tropical and quirky Venice side streets are worth a stroll as well.
After your workout loosen things up at the Stretch Lab. Even better catch the last session at 7.30pm and drift back home across the street for a restful evening.
Mindfulness and healing
Around the corner from Dara’s is Ceremony Meditation. The evening gong baths before bed are my favorite. Try Sonny’s medicated meditation to play around with the journey it may take you on and linger to meet the lively crowd that gathers for these.
House of Intuition is nearby off Main Street. Pop by here to fuel your wellness retreat with books, crystals, incense, and oils. You can even book a session with a resident healer.
A short bike ride away, visit the Pause Float Studio to experience the art of flotation therapy.
Pause for a moment of stillness from the chaos of life. Let go, unwind, rest, recover and reconnect to yourself and to your higher consciousness.
- Pause Float Studio
It’s your retreat and if Retail Therapy helps, then Abbot Kinney is the spot. It’s my favorite retail/restaurant street in all of LA. It has a great buzz. Also in the area, drops by Artists and Fleas on Saturdays for a great line-up of art, design, food, and vintage merchants.
If you have any questions or favorites to add, let me know. Also, if you prefer to retreat in Malibu or Hollywood, I have more suggestions for wellness in those areas.
Providing support for wellness practitioners and ecologists, get in touch if you are interested in curating a retreat in LA for your clients. I'm happy to help.