There is no better time to escape to the California coast than in the dead of North American winter. While much of the midwest received a second serving of winter slurry, Los Angeles served 90 degree days, clear skies, and a Super Bowl victory.

This weekend calls for a second round of high spirits, as Genesis returns to Riviera Country Club. Though SoFi stadium is closer to Downtown Los Angeles and Inglewood, the heart of Santa Monica is only a 15-minute drive from Riviera. For the spectators, here are a few things to do when you’re not keeping your eyes peeled for McIlroy, Johnson, or defending champion Max Homa. For the rest of you, here’s a bit to feed the fantasy through the cold.

Though the Pacific Ocean stays chilly for most of the year, Santa Monica Beach is a great spot to watch the tide roll in.

A Bit of Beach

Hang out by the pier to take in the well-known view from Santa Monica Beach. Buskers dot the boardwalk, offering to draw you or put your name on a grain of rice. The metro E Line drops you a few blocks east of the pier, but there are access points down to the water the entire length of downtown Santa Monica. 

For a few more secluded options, head up the 1 a little way to Will Rogers State Beach, which is known for being a less crowded and clean alternative to the more mainstream stretches of shoreline. A tick further will get you to Topanga Beach, which has a paid parking lot but is a great little spot for watching surfers work their magic. 

Although the weather is pleasant all year round, ocean water temperatures stay below 70 degrees until June. It makes for a brisk dip in the water, even on a 90-degree day (which, even in February, is not uncommon for L.A.) This is no obstacle if you’re just wanting to lie out with a good book. 

A Bite to Eat

Traditional neighborhood café by day, fine dining by night, Lunetta takes on the kind of flexible service that allows for a variety of dining experiences. This Michelin Plate restaurant offers a contemporary menu and a relaxed atmosphere under their striped awning. Their formal dinner service requires reservations, but the all-day café attached next door allows walk-ins and pickups. It’s a short distance from downtown Santa Monica and the perfect stop for a coffee and a quick bite. 

A Quick Round

If you follow the pro tours, you’ve probably heard of Rancho Golf Course. It’s one of the best public courses in the country, with available tee times throughout the week. Although this course of legends isn’t technically in Santa Monica proper, it is just 16 minutes away from the beach. For a bit of lighter fare, check out the par 3 short course right next door. With a range of amenities, this public course allows for challenges and casual play. Get in a quick 9 and brush up your game, or test your skill on the championship course that regularly hosts on the LPGA and Senior pro circuits. 

A Stiff Drink

Find the quintessential sports bar with a view on the corner of Broadway and Ocean Avenue. With the Pacific on one side and coverage of every sport imaginable on the other, Santa Monica Whaler lets you pick your poison in more ways than one. Their extensive bar food offerings and beer menu make it the ideal sports bar near the beach. This past weekend, the patio televisions also helped passers-by keep an eye on the score at Waste Management. Now that’s a public service.

For a more refined experience, head one block east up Broadway to Bar Chloe, a hidden gem tucked between Hotel Carmel and a spot that sells fried dumplings to order. Though the space holds a firm dress code that excludes shorts and sandals, the low-lit speakeasy-style barroom and signature cocktails are worth getting dressed up for.

Bailey Shelton

Bailey Shelton is the Managing Editor and Lead Graphic Designer for Stick & Hack. She graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Journalism News and Telecommunications. Aside from her work with Stick & Hack, she has been published in NUVO and St. Louis Magazine. She also recently released a short collection of personal essays called "Home".