In Santa Monica, walking is too slow. Driving, on the other hand, makes you miss the good stuff: the people. You don’t want to miss the people. One of the best ways to cover a lot of ground is to rent a bicycle. You can lock it up and switch to the footmobile as often as there are poles to chain the bike to.
I used to live in Santa Monica and so when I visited a friend there, we decided to rent bikes on the boardwalk at Perry’s. They have multiple locations in Santa Monica and Venice; we went to the one just north of the Santa Monica Pier. The bikes were in good condition, and they even gave us helmets and a lock. We were in and out of there in 10 minutes.
We decided to head south, toward Venice. I also used to live there. Although the bike path was crowded — a Saturday in summer — it was manageable. We passed tourists, vagrants, Quentin Tarantino (yes, you will always see a celebrity), locals, and paparazzi (another commonplace sighting). We hooked a left at Rose Street and headed to 5th — Cafe Gratitude where each (Vegan) dish is named by what you should be grateful for. What we ordered: YO SOY FELIZ and Whole. They were good, clean dishes. Not great, but come on, you’re not coming here for the food necessarily, but the wholesome, sacred experience. Irony does not live at Cafe Gratitude. If you want an authentic Westside of LA experience, this is the place for you. This is Ground Zero for Beachy Vegan LA.
When we dropped off our bicycles back at Perry’s, he asked us where we went. When we told him Venice, he told us that we rode eight miles. Hey now! That was an easy, fun, delicious, hilarious and authentic good time.
Disclosure: Perry’s provided the rental.