Seasons in Southern California are a bit more loosely defined than in other parts of the country — after all, perennial 70-degree weather calls for picnics on the beach and spectacular sunsets, no matter the time of year.
While quintessential autumn activities abound in Los Angeles (there are plenty of opportunities for apple picking), we prefer to spend the season near Oceana, where slightly cooler weather means the streets and shores of Santa Monica are less-crowded, reveling in the best of the westside.
Here are some of our top things to do in fall in Santa Monica.
Watch the Colors Change
No trip to the East Coast is required to marvel at the hues of autumn. Explore a spectacle of autumnal colors at the LA County Arboretum & Botanic Garden with the fall color walk, a vibrant tour of plants donned in red and gold. Visiting Santa Monica in mid-November and onwards? Exchange fall leaves for sparkling lights at Lightscape, where the gardens are transformed to be as scintillating and enchanting as the night sky.
The Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden at the UCLA campus (about a 20-minute drive from Oceana) is both 7 acres of stunning natural beauty and a living classroom, intended to cultivate knowledge and appreciation for diverse plant life. There are more than 3,500 species of plants and thematic collections of flora from around the world, offering an interlude of tranquility amid the bustle of Los Angeles.
Tour a Museum
Getty Villa Museum
Just north of Oceana, the Getty Villa is one of the best places to visit in fall in Santa Monica. Set in a recreated Roman country home with a reflecting pool and colonnaded walkways, it’s as much a destination for its architecture as it is for the ancient art it offers. Discover thousands of years of Greek and Roman antiquities — including mummies — and temporary exhibitions displaying art from around the world. The Getty Center, a scenic mecca of art, is located a short drive away in Brentwood.
As of September 2021, admission is free for both but requires reservations.
Local Westside Museums
While the Los Angeles Museum County Museum of Art (LACMA) is one of the area’s most iconic institutions, you don’t need to venture to Wilshire to encounter incredible artwork. Spend fall in Santa Monica discovering the works of new and established artists at the William Turner Gallery, home to contemporary artists since 1991. The L.A. Louver gallery in Venice has displayed work from renowned artists for decades and now celebrates both established and emerging artists.
Wander the Trails
The Santa Monica Mountains pair coastal breezes with fauna that echoes a journey through the Mediterranean. The Solstice Canyon Loop through the Malibu hills beckons with ruins and a waterfall, while Charmlee Wilderness Park offers a choice of loops with views of Malibu. TV buffs can journey several miles through Malibu Creek State Park to encounter the exterior set from M*A*S*H.
No hike is complete without gourmet food enjoyed al fresco. Order lunch from Sandpiper and savor gourmet SoCal cuisine alongside sweeping Pacific panoramas.
(Struck by wanderlust? We’ve rounded up some of our other favorite hikes in Santa Monica here.)
Indulge in a Romantic Getaway
Imagine chilled champagne waiting in your private suite, the aroma of roses, freshly-brewed coffee and our famous French toast delivered for breakfast in bed. We believe that romance isn’t about singular gestures — it’s an entire experience, crafted to the uniqueness of each individual love story.
That’s why our romance package has all of the luxurious touches to pamper you and your special someone. Namaste at morning beach yoga or spend lazy mornings by the pool; rent complimentary beach cruisers to explore the coast or peruse shops along Montana Avenue before returning for artisan cocktails on Sunset Terrace and an elegant three-course meal for two in our oceanview lounge.
The leaves may be changing, but celebrating love is timeless. Capture the spirit of romance and book your seaside escape to Oceana. We’re delighted to help you plan your retreat: contact Oceana at 1-800-777-0758 to reach a member of our team.