Small Town Adventures: Pacific Palisades

With sea breezes, no less

Illustration by Paul Rogers

Considering how beautiful homes are in Pacific Palisades, residents here spend a lot of time outdoors. That’s because the neighborhood is surrounded by magnificent scenery: Near the village (Swarthmore Avenue is the main shopping strip) Temescal Canyon is an ideal place to commune with nature. From the parking lot head up the trail to the (little) waterfall and the (big) ocean vistas. You’ll want to use the car to reach Will Rogers State Park (pictured), where there are polo matches on weekends, lawns for frolicking, and a historic ranch house to tour. You can also access the Backbone Trail, which meanders atop the Santa Monica Mountains.

Junior Jock
Wood paneling, old barber chairs, and your own booth: The Palisades Barber Shop (15322 Antioch St.) has been snipping hair since 1940, so drop in for a trim and you’ll come out looking like a local. You can practice your chords at Amazing Music (867 Swarthmore Ave.), which has a nice selection of instruments for sale. Check out the boogie boards and skateboards (and the thrasherwear, too) at Paliskates (1019 Swarthmore Ave.) before persuading the folks to drop you off at Will Rogers State Beach for a test run.

Park Ranger
Pack a picnic basket at the Sunday farmers’ market along Swarthmore. Or park behind the Village Pantry (1035 Swarthmore Ave.), the community’s favorite place to gather (for decades it was called Mort’s Deli), and load up on sandwiches and salads to go. En route to Will Rogers, cruise Mediterranean-named streets like Amalfi to take in the mansions or Marquez for homes with serious views. 

Cover Girl
At Village Books (1049 Swarthmore Ave.), an entire quadrant is devoted to what local book clubs are reading . After you pick up a new title, maybe it’s time for a new outfit at fashionista paradise Madison (1017 Swarthmore Ave.), which has opened a tasteful outlet here. Feeling stylish? The Eames House (203 Chautauqua Blvd.) is still occupied by a relative of Charles and Ray Eames, who lets visitors wander around Mondays through Saturdays to gawk at the modernist masterpiece.

Sky Rider
Local kids and dogs love romping around the grassy triangle on Sunset at Swarthmore while Mom and Dad sip their chai. Grab a kite and a soccer ball for your day at the park at the sporting goods store Bentons (1038 Swarthmore Ave.). There’s always something cute on the sales rack at Ivy Greene for Kids (875 Via de la Paz).