Tuesday, 13 March 2012

West of LA - Santa Monica, Venice, West Hollywood

By Jon Fairbanks- Gay Travel Team Member and www.gaytravel.com

Santa Monica is known for its laid-back atmosphere, world class hotels and beautiful beaches.

Less than two miles from the central strip of Santa Monica you’ll find the most well-known gay beach in the Los Angeles area, Will Rogers Beach in Pacific Palisades. It’s a small, nondescript area but for soaking up the sun, playing a game of volleyball with some bronzed hotties or taking part in a yoga class it’s a time drifter.

The Santa Monica Pier offers a peaceful and eye-capturing view of the ocean. Once you get past the gaudiness of the amusement park, you’ll find that the Heal the Bay Aquarium is phenomenal and the street performers will give you a little amusement.

Whether you’re looking for a great steakhouse, sushi or amazing Thai, there’s a venue for every taste. Seafood lovers will definitely want to experience The Lobster located next to the iconic Santa Monica Pier. The surf and turf is just as incredible as the view

West Hollywood is the most popular, but expect a small trek to get there. It’s 10 miles away but heavy traffic can make it into an hours journey. A car is an absolute must.

If you’re looking for something more low-key, consider a short trip into neighboring Venice. The city is a haven for artists, surfers and anyone who enjoy the wafting scent of Marijuana on every corner. Abbot Kinney Boulevard is the heart and soul of the Venice community, lined with coffee shops, eclectic boutiques and restaurants serving exotic cuisine. This is also where you’ll find the area’s only gay bar, Rooster Fish.

For more than three decades Rooster Fish has been the only game in town for the gay and lesbian Westside. When you first walk in, you feel like you’re in a straight college bar, not a beach city gay bar. It’s a small venue with two rooms but it’s a popular spot that attracts a wide variety of patrons, straight, gay, male and female.

Rooster Fish offers a great Domestic Bliss Happy Hour all week long with drink specials starting at just $3.50 from 5-7pm. There’s also an outdoor patio BBQ each Sunday from 1-6pm, where burgers and hot dogs are served.

If you’re in the Venice area at the beginning of the Month, check out First Friday. This is an incredible event where a slew of restaurants, galleries and boutiques stay open until 10pm, allowing locals and tourists to meet shop owners in a festive setting.

Santa Monica, Venice and the rest of the communities located on the Westside of Los Angeles offer gay visitors a vibe that can’t be found in any other area. This beachfront area attracts Hollywood celebrities, college students, artists, executives and musicians. Whether you live in Minneapolis or Downtown Los Angeles, you instantly feel like you’re on vacation when you arrive in town.

So what’s the most important thing each and every visitor must do in Santa Monica, gay or straight? Nothing! Whether you’re hanging out on the beach, lounging by a hotel pool or sipping espresso on a cafĂ© patio, take time to rest, relax and soak up the sun.