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This must be Pacific Palisades

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Years ago, when I was in my late 20s, I had lunch with a friend of a friend who had just moved to Pacific Palisades. I was living in a duplex in Echo Park at the time and expressed surprise that someone my age lived in a part of Los Angeles that felt so out of reach.

“Oh honey, you’ll see,” she said airily. “You’ll get pregnant and move to the Palisades too.”

I was stunned. “Oh honey,” I thought. “If only that’s how the world worked for all of us.”

Get to know Los Angeles through the places that bring it to life. From restaurants to shops to outdoor spaces, here’s what to discover now.

I’m not saying everyone would move to Pacific Palisades if they could afford it (and with an average home price of more than $3.5 million, according to Zillow, very few can afford it), but spend some time in this Norman Rockwell-esque town by the sea and you will surely understand its appeal — and maybe even its price tag.

More suburban than Santa Monica to its south and more cohesive than Topanga to the north, Pacific Palisades offers its mostly well-heeled residents easy access to the sage-scented Santa Monica Mountains and world-class beaches, all while maintaining a small-town feel. The community hosts a Fourth of July parade each year, complete with marching bands and a patriotic pups contest. On warm August nights, up to 1,000 people gather at the rec center for an outdoor movie and free hot dogs. Many homes have white picket fences. Nobody goes to the local Erewhon without running into someone they know.

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But you don’t have to live in the Palisades to enjoy its distinctive charms. Visitors can soak up the manicured luxury of Rick Caruso’s Palisades Village with its curved brick paths, flickering lampposts and the cleanest, most spacious public bathrooms I’ve ever seen. Will Rogers State Park and Temescal Gateway Park provide access to some of Southern California’s most spectacular hikes and vistas as well as beautiful picnic areas.

You can meditate in the gardens of the Self Realization Fellowship’s Lake Shrine, or visit the Eames House, a beloved temple of Midcentury Modern style. The Getty Villa and its stunning gardens are just a few minutes from town, and Will Rogers State Beach is a great choice for families, or anyone who values easy parking and mild surf.

Once the home of the Gabrielino-Tongva people, the area known as Pacific Palisades was colonized by the Spanish in the mid-1800s and marketed by wealthy developers as a resort town in the 1880s. Collis Huntington (uncle of Henry) built what was then the world’s longest wharf in 1894 in the hopes that the area might be designated the Port of L.A. That didn’t pan out, but a Japanese fishing village sprung up along the coast and in 1911, visionary filmmaker Thomas Ince established one of the earliest movie studios where Sunset Boulevard intersects with Pacific Coast Highway. By 1920, however, nearly all evidence of the studio had been erased by fire and the fishing village was condemned as unsanitary.

Pacific Palisades’ modern era began in 1922, after Rev. Charles Scott, a Methodist minister, bought 1,068 acres on both sides of Temescal Canyon as a permanent home for a local Chautauqua — a seasonal camp that was popular with Protestant families in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A contingent from the Methodist regional headquarters came to inspect the land. One members reportedly declared, “This is truly the Pacific Palisades.” The name stuck.

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Soon wealthier folks including movie stars like Will Rogers discovered the Palisades’ rugged beauty and began building more luxurious homes in the hills and canyons surrounding the middle-class town. In the 1940s, the community became a magnet for European intellectuals forced to flee the Nazis, including Thomas Mann, Bertolt Brecht and Lion Feuchtwanger, whose home, the Villa Aurora, served as a social hub for the group and can still be toured today. The Palisades grew in reputation and price over the decades, drawing famous residents like Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Mark Hamill, Billy Crystal, Brooke Shields and Adam Sandler.

Despite the proximity to wealth and celebrity, most Palisades residents will tell you that it’s the sense of community and access to the outdoors that they cherish most about their neighborhood. A T-shirt that was popular in local stores in the 1980s sums up this particular brand of town pride. It reads: “If you’re rich, you live in Beverly Hills. If you’re famous, you live in Malibu. If you’re lucky, you live in Pacific Palisades.”

We may not all be lucky enough to live in the Palisades, but we can certainly visit. Here’s where to start.

What's included in this guide

Anyone who’s lived in a major metropolis can tell you that neighborhoods are a tricky thing. They’re eternally malleable and evoke sociological questions around how we place our homes, our neighbors and our communities within a wider tapestry. In the name of neighborly generosity, we included gems that may linger outside of technical parameters. Instead of leaning into stark definitions, we hope to celebrate all of the places that make us love where we live.

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A hand holds up a croissant
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Grab a TikTok-famous croissant at DELIzioso Cinque

Pacific Palisades Restaurant
I walked into chef Gianbattista Vinzoni’s bare-bones deli after an unexpectedly rigorous hike in Temescal Gateway Park. Tired and hungry, I looked up at the blackboard menu hanging on the otherwise spare wall and stared helplessly at the half dozen sandwich options. Prosciutto with burrata and arugula? Caprese with mozzarella, tomatoes, oregano and basil? Roast beef with horseradish and caramelized onions? How to choose? Fortunately, Vinzoni’s wife, Marlo, a Palisades resident for 20 years and a fixture in the shop, was working the register. “Get the chicken eggplant,” she said with friendly authority. “It’s our bestseller and we make the focaccia in-house. You can get the prosciutto burrata next time you come back.” Sold!

Soon Marlo and I got to chatting. The sandwiches were great, she said, but DELIzioso Cinque’s claim to fame is the croissants her husband makes daily. Comedian Tom Segura called them “the best in the world” in a TikTok video with more than 19,000 views, and on weekend mornings, customers from across Los Angeles line up at the tiny, nondescript store to buy boxes to take home. I thought I probably should try one of the croissants too. “Plain? Sugar? Chocolate?” she asked. More decisions! Once again Marlo took charge. She put a plain croissant and another topped with crunchy white sugar in a cardboard box. “You can try the chocolate the next time you come back,” she said.

Although there are a few tables and chairs in the deli, this is really a to-go type of place — the perfect stop before heading to the beach or one of the Palisades’ many picnic spots. I ate my sandwich and croissants in a friend’s backyard. Delizioso indeed!
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People kneel, stand and triumphantly raise their arms on an outdoor bocce court.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Play bocce on state-of-the-art courts at Veterans Gardens

Pacific Palisades Public park
The sprawling Palisades Recreation Center serves as a social hub for the community — particularly around baseball season, when local families bring elaborate catered spreads to long morning games. But if you ask me, the real star of the complex is the three state-of-the-art bocce courts in the recently established Veterans Gardens just past the tennis facilities. This is the unofficial home of the Palisades Bocce Club, which has quickly become a phenomenon in town.

Anyone can play on the smooth outdoor courts, which opened in 2021 thanks to local fundraising efforts, but if you show up midday on Tuesdays, or at sunset on Tuesdays or Thursdays, you’ll find scores of people — many of them seniors — focused with great intensity on the games taking place. On a recent visit, I met three women wearing matching black baseball caps with their team name — “La Bocce Vita” — written in sparkly pink letters. More than 900 people have played with the Palisades Bocce Club since it started 2? years ago.

“None of us that started this could have in our wildest dreams imagined what was going to happen,” said Jimmy Dunne, a songwriter and league commissioner who was instrumental in bringing bocce to the park. He likes the game but said building the courts has always been about nurturing community. “The sole intention had nothing to do with bocce,” he said. “It had everything to do with, can this be the right thing to create belonging?”
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An outdoor table with pastries and coffee from edo bites in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Relax over a leisurely lunch at edo bites

Pacific Palisades Restaurant
Inside Rick Caruso’s perfectly manicured Palisades Village outdoor mall, where local tween girls swarm Sephora Studio and luxury shops like Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta remain largely unvisited, you’ll find edo bites, Edoardo Baldi’s charming Italian cafe and bakery. With al fresco seating on a brick patio beneath cheerful coral umbrellas, it’s the ideal place to soak up the outdoor mall’s luxurious atmosphere without (totally) breaking the bank.

I almost always order the avocado toast ($16.20), which comes on gently toasted wheat seeded bread with roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. My best friend and Palisades native, novelist Alexis Landau, is partial to the spicy rigatoncini “arrabbiata” ($25), which looks deceptively simple and is incredibly delicious. (You can buy a jar of the arrabbiata sauce inside.) Bestsellers also include e. Baldi’s famous roasted chicken salad ($24.50), which is fresh and light, and sweet corn agnolotti ($25), which Chrissy Teigen has listed as among her favorite pasta dishes in L.A.

If it’s a sweet treat you’re after, I highly recommend the crema bomboloni ($4.50), a type of Italian doughnut that you’ll find inside the restaurant’s pastry case. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, sweet but not too sweet. I like to get one to go and eat it on the Village’s flat green lawn sitting on one of the blue and white striped blankets that the mall provides for picnicking. Caruso and his team have truly thought of everything.
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Purses and other items on display at BOCA in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Shop like a Palisades local at BOCA

Pacific Palisades Clothing Store
Filled with breezy tops and dresses in floral patterns, BOCA has been a Palisades fixture for 30 years and is a favorite among local women across generations. My best friend recently picked up a Scarlett Poppies dress for her book launch party in the bright, sun-filled store with concrete floors and white walls. My mom’s effortlessly stylish best friend, who also happens to live in Pacific Palisades, is a frequent customer as well.

Denise Mangimelli, BOCA’s owner and founder, opened the boutique in September 1994. At the time she stocked casual jeans, T-shirts and sweaters that appealed to the young moms in town, but over the years the store has matured along with its clientele. “We do still have that young mom customer, and we’ve also grown into more dressy clothes as well,” Mangimelli said. Bestsellers include ASKK NY jeans, Crush Cashmere sweaters and Zadig & Voltaire. BOCA also has the distinction of being the only women’s clothing store in town to carry multiple brands. Every other store around offers single brands only: Vince, Veronica Beard, Lululemon, Elyse Walker.

Mangimelli’s intimate knowledge of what the Pacific Palisades woman wants to wear has helped the store survive. She is deeply enmeshed in the neighborhood, having moved here when she was 5. She also has an intimate knowledge of her customers’ closets after dressing many of them for decades: “I’ll say, ‘You already have a beige jacket or two, or three. Why don’t you go for the blue this time?’”
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Patrons at the Airstream trailer RustiCofeee
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Get coffee from an Airstream trailer at RustiCoffee

Pacific Palisades 颁补蹿é
If you haven’t heard of RustiCoffee, Tara Amiel’s magical cafe operating out of a shining silver Airstream, that’s by design. RustiCoffee has almost no social media presence and there’s just one small sign on Channel Road alerting passersby of its existence. Nevertheless, the under-the-radar cafe just a block from Will Rogers State Beach has a devoted following that includes second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who recently listed it as one of his most beloved spots in L.A.

Along with coffee drinks and a wide selection of smoothies, RustiCoffee’s menu includes a breakfast sandwich, avocado and egg salad toasts, oatmeal and baked goods. The mixed berry scones, which Amiel makes herself, are particularly popular. Sometimes she’ll show up with a tray fresh from the oven and pass them out to customers seated at the round metal tables in the umbrella-filled courtyard.

RustiCoffee is part of a small, carefully curated development dreamed up by local real estate agent Frank Langen. Langen’s office is directly across from the Airstream and adjacent to Canyon Grocer, a tiny fine-foods store specializing in cheese and charcuterie. Deeper into the courtyard you’ll find Replenish, a casual (although not cheap) women’s clothing store that specializes in jeans and curated basics.
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Hats, vases and other items on display at Mavven Mercantile in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Take a yoga class and shop hyperlocal at Mavven Mercantile

Pacific Palisades Wellness Center
Equal parts curated boutique and wellness center, Mavven Mercantile opened in March and is currently hosting yoga classes ($30), sound baths ($45) and a full moon ceremony ($90). Owner Lisa Waters also has rented out the serene, earth-tone storefront for a kid’s birthday party and to a local women’s group. “The concept was to create a community space,” she told me. “We’ll keep doing more of what people want.”

On the retail side, beautifully arranged display tables showcase books, journals, ceramics, jewelry, dried bouquets and tarot and oracle cards — many of them from local artists, designers and writers. Woven blankets and straw hats from Guatemala adorn two of the walls. A line of ayurvedic-inspired beauty products line the shelves of a third wall.

How can a retail store also be a yoga studio? It helps if everything is movable. When a friend and I attended a Wednesday morning yoga class, Waters pushed the display tables to the edge of the space and set up sand-colored mats, blankets and low-slung meditation chairs on the floor. The class was lovely and appropriate for people of all ages and skill levels, but I couldn’t help glancing around the store as I did my sun salutations. So many beautiful things! My friend felt the same way. We both left the yoga class feeling relaxed and rejuvenated and wearing the new necklaces we purchased after class.
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People seated around a table at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Play in the waves at Will Rogers State Beach

Pacific Palisades Beach
Getting into my car one afternoon, I watched as 15 teenagers came pouring out of a modest-size home pushing each other and laughing. The girls wore bikinis, the boys carried boogie boards. School had ended for the day and they were walking down to Will Rogers State Beach at the bottom of the hill. It looked like the most fun in the world and in that moment I was flooded with regret that I do not have millions of dollars to spend on a house in this neighborhood so that my own teenage children could join this beach-going pack.

Fortunately, I can (and do) still take my kids to Will Rogers State Beach, which stretches for 1.75 miles beneath the cliffs and valleys of Pacific Palisades. It has rows of volleyball courts on one end and a small beach cafe on the other. It is my current favorite beach in the L.A. area, mostly because of how easy it is to manage. It’s not as spectacular as some of the Malibu beaches a little further north, but the parking is plentiful and, because the beach is fairly narrow, you can easily get from parking lot to perfect spot near the water in just a few minutes — no stairs, no lugging beach chairs over interminable amounts of sand. The bathrooms are clean and have flush toilets, and you can buy food at the cafe if anyone needs a snack. There are also showers to rinse off the salt and sand before getting back in the car.

There’s no development on the cliffs directly behind the beach, so it’s still fairly natural-looking. Parking ranges from $6 on weekdays in the winter season to $20 on summer holidays. I drove down there a few hours after seeing those kids come out of the house and I’m pretty sure I saw the same group again, crowded around a table in front of the cafe, eating ice cream, goose bumps on their arms. Oof. It looked fun.
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Statues on the grounds of the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Channel Roman nobility at the Getty Villa

Pacific Palisades Museum
Modeled on an ancient Roman vacation home believed to have belonged to Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, the Getty Villa is a perfectly California museum. It’s home to a handful of dark galleries featuring jewelry, ceramics and other items from the Stone Age to the final days of the Roman Empire (including a Roman-era mummy), but the real star of the show is the immaculate formal gardens that stretch out from the main building and ultimately dwarf it — a vivid reminder that indoor-outdoor living was not invented in Southern California.

The villa can easily be enjoyed in a couple of hours. I recommend prioritizing the gardens, which include the spectacular Outer Peristyle with its 220-foot-long turquoise pool and walkways dotted with bronze statues. The statues are replicas of those found at Villa dei Papiri, which was destroyed by a volcanic eruption in AD 79 and served as a model for the Getty Villa. Less dazzling but still beautiful and well worth your time are the herb garden, with its fragrant and neatly labeled plantings, and the east garden, where you’ll find a colorful fountain flanked by two gleaming theater masks. The museum helpfully provides umbrellas for sun protection.

Admission is free, but parking will cost you $25. (I was delighted to see lots of electric chargers available free of charge in the lot.) The Getty Villa offers several themed tours each day, so check the website or give them a call before you go to hear what’s scheduled. And keep an eye out for the bank of old-school payphones at the entrance. They actually work (I checked) and feel almost as historic as everything else in this museum.
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A person reads with his dog under a tree on a bluff overlooking the ocean
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Soak up the multimillion-dollar views at Via de las Olas Bluffs

Pacific Palisades Walk
There is no shortage of natural beauty in and around Pacific Palisades, but for a walk that includes views of the ocean and some of the neighborhood’s multimillion-dollar homes, head to Via de las Olas Bluffs. There you’ll find an easy paved walk located at the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific and across the street from some of the priciest homes in the area.

I parked on the street and entered the park near a flat grassy spot at the corner of North Swarthmore Avenue and Via de las Olas where locals occasionally set up yoga mats in the morning hours. During the pandemic, some folks started showing up with beach chairs and laptops, turning it into an al fresco seaside office. I’ve only visited during the day, but I’ve been told if you come at night, the whole curve of Santa Monica Bay is dotted with lights. The view is known locally as the Queen’s Necklace.

Follow the paved path north for more views of the ocean and mansions along the street, as well as the Santa Monica Mountains. The walk ends at a round overlook where you’ll find several benches perfect for journaling, reading or drinking a coffee. Along the way, I ran into a guy walking 11 dogs who all looked suspiciously alike — fluffy, clean and friendly. “It’s a lot of doodles,” he told me. “Labradoodle, golden doodle, sheepadoodle.” Somehow he and his furry friends exemplified the sweet/fancy vibe of this walk perfectly.
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Shelves filled with books at Villa Aurora in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Learn about L.A.’s German Jewish exiles at Villa Aurora

Pacific Palisades Historic Home
“We’re 100% sure there’s a ghost here,” said Kathrin Klüppel, finance and administration officer at Villa Aurora, as I followed her into the Spanish Colonial revival-style home’s large living room. The expansive hillside house hidden behind an unassuming gate was the home of exiled German Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife, Marta. In the 1940s, the couple turned it into a social hub for German-speaking artists and writers forced by the Nazis to flee their homeland. Nobel Laureate Thomas Mann was a regular guest. So was playwright Bertolt Brecht and Charlie Chaplin. But Klüppel is pretty sure it’s Marta who haunts the place.

Today, the house is owned by a German nonprofit arts organization that offers fellowships to writers, filmmakers, visual artists and composers, primarily from Germany, who live there for three to six months at a time. Tours of the house are free and available upon request (call or send an email to schedule a time). Villa Aurora also hosts occasional lectures, readings and performances that are open to the public. Check the website for details.

The home is elegant and spacious and features Malibu tile in the outdoor areas as well as an organ built into the living room. There are lovely views of the ocean (where Marta took a daily swim) from the balcony and grounds, but for me, the thrill of touring the house was less about its architecture and more about imagining how these European intellectuals were making sense of their new California home.
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Temescal Gateway Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.
(Jerome Adamstein / Los Angeles Times)

Hike to a waterfall at Temescal Gateway Park

Pacific Palisades Hiking Trail
I’ll admit that I felt prickly about paying the $12 parking fee at Temescal Gateway Park on a recent Wednesday morning. I was only planning to be in the park for an hour or two and the fee felt steep. But my frustration soon melted away as my friend and I began our hike. Over the next hour and a half we took in gorgeous ocean views and hillsides covered in fragrant wildflowers. We stood awestruck at the layered peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains and crossed a bridge over a waterfall where we cooled off in the shade. By the time we were done, our shirts damp and our hearts pounding, $12 felt like a reasonable price to pay to access all that magnificence.

There are several trails of varying difficulty at Temescal Gateway Park. We chose Temescal Canyon Trail, a moderately challenging, 3.2-mile loop that begins with a set of stairs leading off to the left of the trailhead. To get there, drive as deep into the park as possible and look for parking there. There were plenty of spots on Wednesday morning, but I’ve been told it’s more crowded on the weekends.

The park also has an interesting history. It was developed in 1922 by a Methodist minister as the West Coast center of the Chautauqua movement — a series of seasonal and religious family camps that started in New York state in the 19th century and soon spread out across the nation. You can still see remnants of the camp in the buildings and other structures on the property, including a camp store and a dining hall still in use today.
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A family hangs out at Will Rogers State Historical Park in Pacific Palisades.
(Maggie Shannon / For The Times)

Hang out at a Western movie star's ranch at Will Rogers Historic State Park

State Park
Pacific Palisades has been home to many celebrities over the years — Ronald Reagan, Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg to name a few — but no star has had a greater impact on the area than the early 20th century actor, columnist and humorist Will Rogers. At the time of his death in 1935, the native Oklahoman had amassed over 400 acres in the area, much of which has since been turned into two public parks — Will Rogers State Beach and Will Rogers State Park.

Located just off Sunset Boulevard, Will Rogers State Park includes a polo field where matches are still played today, horse stables that offer trail rides and lessons, a broad grassy area perfect for picnicking and gorgeous trails with ocean views. For a moderately easy and picturesque hike, try Inspiration Loop, which you can access to the left of the beautifully restored horse stables and riding ring. Ascending the trail, I felt like I was miles from civilization, even though Sunset Boulevard was just a few minutes away.

Rogers’ sprawling ranch house is still on the property and tours are available on the hour from 11 a.m to 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. (For more information on the tours call 310-454-8212, ext. 103.) Because I visited on a Tuesday morning, I wasn’t able to take the tour, but peeking through the windows I could see the wood paneled walls and large stone fireplace of the living room where Rogers once entertained guests like Clark Gable and Walt Disney. Parking is $3 an hour or $12 on weekends.
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A view of the Eames House.
(Mitsuya Okumura / Eames Office, LLC. All rights reserved.)

Tour a midcentury masterpiece at the Eames House

Pacific Palisades Landmark home
Touring architects Charles and Ray Eames’ 1949 house is a little like seeing your favorite painting in a museum. You’ve seen it a million times in photographs, but it is so much better in real life.

The colorful glass-and-steel home and studio, often compared to a Mondrian painting, were built as part of the Case Study program, designed to help alleviate the housing crisis following World War II.

Walking around the Pacific Palisades property, which is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, you can see why the Eameses fell in love with the meadow and were inspired to design their live-work spaces to embrace nature and indoor-outdoor living.

The interiors are not open to the public now, but seeing the first floor through the glass is still magical. (Docents also open the front door and back slider for viewing.) In the living room, which was re-created at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2014, folk art, rugs from around the world, kachina dolls and houseplants blend with modern Eames classics. Even from the outside, it’s beautiful to experience as the interiors radiate warmth like the landscape.

Reservations are required for guided 90-minute exterior tours at 2:30 p.m. Monday, 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Thursday and 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $30 for adults and $10 for students.

There is no parking at the Eames House, but free public street parking is available on Corona del Mar, the street just up the hill from the house. Walk down the hill to the shared private driveway entrance, marked with signs for 201, 203 and 205; the Eames House is at the end.
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The Golden Lotus Archway stands across the water at Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Meditate at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine

Pacific Palisades Chapel
Whether or not you’re familiar with the work of Paramahansa Yogananda, who founded the Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920, if you live in Los Angeles you owe him a debt of gratitude. In addition to being among the first Indian gurus to popularize the ancient practice of yoga in the United States, Yogananda also created a smattering of lush, meditative gardens in Southern California that are still open to the public today. Among those is the Lake Shrine, a beautifully landscaped 10-acre property in the Pacific Palisades surrounding a spring-fed lake. It is free to visit, but you will need to make a reservation online before you go. (Reservations open each Saturday at 10 a.m. for the week ahead, and they can fill up quickly.)

Yogananda believed in the underlying unity of all religions, and the Lake Shrine property includes a “Court of Religions” where you’ll find monuments to the five major religions of the world: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Hinduism. Other highlights include a reproduction of a 16th century windmill that houses a small carpeted chapel (photos are not permitted inside); a radiant white temple without walls; and the Gandhi World Peace Memorial, which contains a portion of Gandhi’s ashes.

For an especially beautiful meditation spot, head to the sunken garden, where you will feel enclosed by greenery.
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A curving path at George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.
(Anya McCann / wolfbergparkpotrero.org)

Stroll among the flowers at George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon

Pacific Palisades Walk
There are many ways for Pacific Palisades’ well-toned residents to stay fit — mountain biking in the Santa Monica Mountains, strenuous hikes in Temescal Canyon, an array of private Pilates studios. The wide dirt trail and gentle slope of the recently opened George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon provides something different. Here you’ll find a moderately easy, two-mile loop through a wildflower-filled canyon leading down to Pacific Coast Highway. This is a hike that is best savored and enjoyed rather than used to raise your heart rate.

The wild beauty of the park belies its more utilitarian purpose. From the 1930s through the 1980s, landslides in the area caused more than a dozen homes along the canyon’s rim to tumble down its steep slopes. City planners concluded that filling the bottom of the canyon with more than a million cubic feet of dirt was the best way to stabilize the land around it. The Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners approved a plan to fill the canyon and build a trail from the Palisades Recreation Center to Will Rogers State Beach in 1985, but the scheme encountered several hurdles over the years. It finally opened in December 2022.

Future plans for the park call for it to end with a pedestrian bridge over PCH that will connect the park to Will Rogers State Beach. The bridge hasn’t been built yet and is the cause of controversy in town. In the meantime, George Wolfberg Park, named for its chief champion, makes for a lovely walk with expansive ocean views. And if you are determined to make it more aerobic, you can even run it if you must.
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