Road Trip!

Pack your bags and take a cool drive to one of these eight summertime destinations.

May 30, 2019
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is the foodie destination of your dreams.

Bemoaning the heat is the sport of summer in the Coachella Valley. But remember: We can always get out of town, at least for a refreshing little while. Whether you want a quick getaway or an extendable vacation, these eight destinations within a day’s drive will add a dash of adventure to your season.

Downtown L.A.


Alameda Supper Club.

If you haven’t been to downtown L.A. in a few years, you have a lot of catching up to do, especially when it comes to the food scene. Between meals, serve yourself a side of culture at The Broad, a must-visit venue for its collection of blue-chip contemporary art, the breathtaking building it’s housed in, and the two Infinity Mirror Rooms on display.

Though it’s not on most visitors’ radar, the Los Angeles Conservancy runs excellent walking tours throughout the week. It provides both a historical and architectural overview with stops at landmarks such as the Bradbury Building and Central Library, while the Art Deco tour offers an in-depth look at the 1920s and ’30s style that helped shape the cityscape.

Center your food fest in the Arts District with dinner at one of the country’s buzziest new restaurants: Bavel, a stunning space with greenery hanging from the soaring ceiling, where the duo behind beloved Italian eatery Bestia has created a modern Middle Eastern menu. Think wood-fired pitas paired with smooth spreads like duck ’nduja hummus, kebabs of meaty oyster mushrooms, and slow-roasted lamb-neck shawarma. Nearby, Top Chef champ Mei Lin doles out a fusion of Asian fare, including her prawn toast, at Nightshade.



Alameda Supper Club.

For sensory overload, make your way to The Manufactory, a 40,000-square-foot food-and-drink masterpiece housed in the massive retail complex The Row. Modeled in part after San Francisco’s fabled Tartine Manufactory, the space boasts a market, bakery, coffee roastery, walk-up window for espresso drinks, pastries, and wild flavors of ice cream (such as rosemary and butter croissant). Tartine Bianco, also in The Row, focuses on breads, spreads, and toasts topped with beef tartare or smoked trout. Alameda Supper Club — with an Italian-influenced menu of fresh pastas, seasonal salads, and creative cocktails — is the collective’s latest addition.




where to stay

NoMad Los Angeles, fashioned from the 1923 Bank of Italy building, oozes elegance with its ornate lobby, fern-green velvet upholstered seating, pilasters, and coffered ceilings. The space centers around The Restaurant, while the Giannini Bar is a must for a killer cocktail. Guests cool off in the rooftop pool before retiring to rooms decked out with original artwork and Bellino bedding.

Valle De Guadalupe, Mexico


Hotel Encuentro Guadalupe

Bordeaux, Burgundy … Baja? It might not be world-renowned (yet), but the Mexican wine world is getting bigger and better every year, with more than 150 wineries at present. The region has all the trappings for prime grape country: spectacular scenery, endless vineyards growing a healthy mix of varietals, wineries running the gamut from rough-around-the-edges to architectural gems, and plenty of good food, all about 90 minutes (and light years away) from Tijuana. For toast-worthy views off the main thoroughfare, La Ruta de Vino (you can surmise how that translates), hit the hilltop Viñas de Garza, with an outdoor sipping bar and covered deck surrounded by pops of bougainvillea. Next, find your way to the rambling Lechuza Vineyard, opened by a U.S. family that fell in love with the region almost 15 years ago and now produces several excellent wines, including a chardonnay that has made it to the menu of The French Laundry.



Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn

Inside the dual-level glass-and-steel minimalist masterpiece that serves as the tasting room of Viña de Frannes (about 20 minutes from Lechuza), you can try notable sauvignon blanc, rosé, and cabernet franc alongside cheese and charcuterie platters. Corazón de Tierra, where dishes center around fresh produce from the property’s garden (on view from the glass-enclosed dining room), earns lots of accolades. But at the more rustic Restaurante Laja, Daniel Boulud alum Jair Téllez churns out equally fabulous farm-to-table fare. You can probably guess what to order at Raw Oyster Bar, where local wines pair with local oysters in addition to other off-the-boat seafood. It’s part of the Hotel Encuentro Guadalupe, a collection of design-centric eco villas.



Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn

where to stay

The six rooms (all named after archangels) at the Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn sit on a handsome family-owned property that’s home to a working winery and a ranch that breeds Azteca sport horses. The hacienda-style rooms with Persian elements sprinkled throughout come with shaded porticos and share a courtyard around a bubbling fountain. In addition to breakfast each day, guests enjoy complimentary wine tastings.



Adobe Guadalupe Vineyards & Inn


Viñas de Garza

Lechuza Vineyard

Viña de Frannes

Corazón de Tierra

Restaurante Laja

Adobe Guadalupe


Hyatt Park Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa.

Yes, it has shopping outlets and Legoland, but at its heart, Carlsbad is a low-key beach town with long and lovely stretches of shoreline. You don’t even need to set foot on the sand to enjoy the Pacific thanks to the paved pathway high above the beach — it’s perfect for a stroll, run, or bike ride. Wander the quaint Carlsbad Village with its eclectic mix of boutiques and surf shops and a burgeoning beer scene boasting seven breweries and taprooms. For something more off the beaten path, visit Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, the site of the old Hollywood actor’s adobe home with free-roaming resident peacocks.

If you’ve ever wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding, this is the place: 2 Stand Up Guys teaches the basics on the glassy water of the Carlsbad Lagoon and will have you paddling away by the end of the hour. Drive south along the coast and stop at Batiquitos Lagoon, a 526-acre coastal salt marsh and one of the few remaining tidal wetlands on the Southern California coast that also serves as a bird estuary. Keep an eye out for more than 180 species, including herons, egrets, and diving ducks, then head down to the sleepier city of Encinitas, home to fish taco stands (get your fix at Fish 101), local java purveyors, and the popular Moonlight Beach.


Surfers at the beach in Carlsbad.

where to stay

Perched atop a ridge overlooking the lagoon and ocean, the 300-acre Hyatt Park Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa is the perfect place to recharge. Peer at the Pacific from the pool (while it’s family-friendly, the property also has a gloriously quiet adults-only pool), get pampered at the spa, or luxuriate on your balcony. It’s optimal for an activity-filled visit with immersive tennis clinics, a multiday golf academy, a roster of fitness classes and guided hikes, and even private surf lessons. Book a dinner on the terrace of the on-site Vivace restaurant, serving seasonal, contemporary Italian fare like homemade pastas and dishes cooked in a wood-burning oven.


Hyatt Park Aviara Resort Golf Club & Spa.


Carlsbad Village

2 Stand Up Guys

Batiquitos Lagoon

Moonlight Beach

Newport Beach


Little Corona Beach

Lido Marina Village might be one of the best representations of the diversity of this glitzy-glam-meets-coastal-casual community — a place where board-short-clad surfers rub elbows with designer-decked ladies who lunch (who really do cart around tiny dogs). You’ll find plenty of the latter,along with equally attractive veggie-forward fare, on the patio of the new Malibu Farm outpost. Next door, the more relaxed counter-service spot Circle Hook serves a raw bar, fish and chips, and ceviche fashioned from whatever the local fishing boat hauled in. After lunch, wander the dockside boutiques filled with fine womenswear, beauty brands, and an independent bookstore.

You can drive on to Balboa Island, but the Balboa Island Ferry is much more fun. Either way, the destination is a step back in time with its small-town charm, old-fashioned sweet shops, quaint cottages (which, we’re sorry to report, cost millions), and famous frozen banana purveyors. Get the scoop on the island’s past at the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society. And you’ll want to hit the beach while you’re here, so head to Crystal Cove State Park, a 3 ½-mile unspoiled oceanfront nature preserve famous for its tide pools and rentable vintage cottages. They book up six months out, so start thinking about your next visit.

where to stay

If you can’t bear to let the water out of your sight until it’s time to drive back to the arid desert, book a room overlooking the bay — and the massive mega-yachts docked out front — at the waterfront (and picturesque) Balboa Bay Resort. The accommodations recently underwent facelifts (this is Orange County, after all) and now feature platform beds with upholstered headboards, natural woods, and Frette linens. The hotel’s concierge can set you up with practically any water activity, including an electric Duffy boat to cruise the bay. (They’re fun and easy to pilot, we promise.) Beverage director Ben Carpenter takes local libations to the next level at the on-site gastropub, A&O Kitchen + Bar, where he has created a menu of cocktails crafted solely with California-made spirits and small-batch cordials and liqueurs that make use of seasonal produce like snap peas and celery. Start your morning with a dockside breakfast at Waterline, where you can fuel up on healthy fare like almond-butter-and-fruit protein bowls or more decadent dishes of lobster omelets and churro French toast.



Lido Marina Village


Lido Marina Village

Balboa Island

Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society

Crystal Cove State Park

Balboa Bay Resort

Las Vegas


The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

It may not be synonymous with all things midcentury modern like a certain other desert town, but Sin City is full of fabulous 1950s and ’60s architecture, design, and vintage vendors. Start on Main Street in the Downtown Las Vegas Arts District, where the curated Patina, mid-mod treasure trove Retro Vegas, and kitschy collectable-filled Vintage Vegas offer finds from gorgeous glassware to couture caftans to elegant Eames chairs (at prices preferable to those available on Palm Canyon Drive). Fuel up with sourdough-crust pizza at the airy Esther’s Kitchen before hitting the nearby and one-of-a-kind Neon Museum, an outdoor boneyard with hundreds of “rescued” casino and hotel signs.

Ready to do a double take? Drive through the midcentury neighborhood Paradise Palms, a couple miles from the strip, where you’ll spot familiar butterfly rooflines, breezeblock, and clerestory windows. Palmer & Krisel moved on to this planned community after they finished their work with the Alexander Construction Company in the Coachella Valley, and while many homes have been let go, others have been restored to their groovy glory. If timing works, explore the ever-growing First Friday festival featuring music, food vendors, and local artist exhibits. (Yes, it’s hot here, too, but temps are a bit lower than in our own desert, and the heat somehow feels less bothersome on vacation.)

where to stay

The Cosmopolitan, a luxurious property in the middle of the strip (book a room with a balcony overlooking the Bellagio fountains), is the foodie destination of your dreams, with more worthy offerings under one roof than you’ll be able to visit in a single stay. Decadent dining comes with impressive entertainment at supper club Rose. Rabbit. Lie., where crooning songstresses and über-talented jazz musicians share the stage with breakdancers busting moves atop pianos. Go for innovative Asian-inspired eats inside celebrity chef David Chang’s massive Momofuku or, for one of Vegas’ most breathtaking dining experiences, reserve a spot at é by José Andrés, a nine-seat chef’s counter where guests watch a team of culinary masters magically prepare a $275 meal of 20 Spanish-influenced courses. To keep it casual, trek through the new Block 16 Urban Food Hall hawking Nashville hot chicken sandwiches, gourmet doughnuts, and Vietnamese chicken wings. And don’t miss the Turkish-inspired Red Flower Hammam experience — a combination bath-steam-detox ritual that takes place on a heated stone slab at the hotel’s Sahra Spa & Hammam.



Rose. Rabbit. Lie.


Downtown Las Vegas Arts District

Retro Vegas

Vintage Vegas

The Neon Museum

First Friday Las Vegas

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Momofuku Las Vegas

é by José Andrés

Block 16 Urban Food Hall

Los Alamos

Babi’s Beer Emporium

If you’ve been to the Santa Ynez wine country, you’ve most likely visited well-known locales like Los Olivos and Solvang. Next on your list should be a trip to the little town of Los Alamos. Part Old West, part California cool, it packs a high density of impressive restaurants and wine offerings along the main drag, Bell Street. Since opening the Casa Dumetz tasting room in 2011 to showcase her Rhone varietals, owner and winemaker Sonja Magdevski (who’s always happy to chat about her vino ventures) has launched two more wine labels, opened the adjacent craft-focused Babi’s Beer Emporium, and hired local purveyor Valle Fresh to cook up gourmet tacos for tasters at both venues. At Bedford Winery’s tiny tasting room, veteran winemaker Stephan Bedford shares his small-production Santa Barbara County wines ranging from chards to pinots — the resident pit bull–beagle mix, Hitch, greets guests at the door.

You’ll have to wear your stretchy pants to do your visit right. Carbo-load early at Bob’s Well Bread Bakery, where TV-exec-turned-baker Bob Oswaks churns out artisan, European-style breads from baguettes to focaccia to a levain that doubles as the base of standout avocado toast. Bistro-style Bell’s, owned by Daisy and Greg Ryan (spouses with matching fine-dining pedigrees), serves up fabulous French fare like a local sea-urchin-and-caviar crepe and a salad of little gems, satsumas, and perfectly pickled mushrooms. At Full of Life Flatbread, pizzas fire in a massive stone hearth with toppings that rotate weekly — everything from smoked leek sauce to stone fruit — coming from nearby farms. For a more upscale experience, book a table at the bustling Pico, housed in an old general store where the kitchen focuses on sourcing from farmers with sustainable and humane practices. The result is an eclectic menu of duck confit carbonara, charred Brussels sprouts with chanterelles, and a solid charcuterie plate. You can also sample flights from owner Will Henry’s biodynamic wine label, Lumen, here. For a before-dinner drink or nightcap under the stars (hey, you don’t have to be up early) pop over to the funky Bodega, where you can sip obscure wines and craft beers over a game of bocce.

where to stay

After a massive renovation a couple years ago, the hilltop ’50s motel Skyview Los Alamos has been transformed into a tasteful boutique property with a combination of rustic-chic and Hollywood regency décor, desert landscaping, and the original sparkling swimming pool. Rooms come with fireplaces, marble bathrooms, and private decks with fire pits overlooking the valley. On-site restaurant Norman, named after Mr. Bates, does farm-to-table fare and cool cocktails in a stylish space.


Skyview Los Alamos


Babi’s Beer Emporium

Bedford Winery

Bob’s Well Bread Bakery

Full of Life Flatbread

Bodega Los Alamos

Skyview Los Alamos

Santa Barbara


Hotel Californian

Santa Barbara is one of those quintessential West Coast seaside towns with miles of pristine beaches, a boat-dotted harbor, and a walkable downtown lined with Spanish-style buildings — all of it surrounded by a backdrop of majestic mountain ranges. (The city even refers to itself as the American Riviera.) Plan to check out a mix of tried-and-true attractions along with some of the area’s newest hot spots. No visit is complete without a stop at the historic Old Mission, but for an equally stunning example of Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, visit downtown’s Santa Barbara County Courthouse, which touts a clock tower you’ll want to climb to take in jaw-dropping views. Palm-lined State Street is rimmed with galleries, independent boutiques, and top retail shops as well as North America’s largest salt cave, Salt Cave Santa Barbara, where you can relax in a zero-gravity chair amid restorative pink Himalayan sea salt — the session is supposed to have myriad health benefits, not the least of which is getting to lie in a dim, peaceful room for 45 minutes. If you’re craving time on the water, walk the beachfront pedestrian path along Shoreline Drive or catch a sightseeing cruise (the sunset sails are especially lovely) out of Stearn’s Wharf.

It’s not hard to eat (and drink!) well here with the recent influx of new restaurants. For a weekend brunch, plant yourself on the patio of the European-style Les Marchands, where locals nosh on house-cured salmon with poached eggs and strawberry–and–arugula salads topped with scratch-made ricotta. Do dinner inside The Black Sheep’s colorful dining room, serving global tapas of boquerones laced with eggplant piquillo and Peruvian-style scallop crudo. If it’s grazing you’re after, you’ll find artisanal ice cream and small savory plates, including octopus tacos, at downtown’s Santa Barbara Public Market or fast-casual Vietnameseand Thai fusion fare at the new Tyger Tyger in the Funk Zone, the hood that’s also home to some of the city’s top tasting rooms. Stop in for a sip at The Santa Barbara Wine Collective, showcasing five different local vintners, or Municipal Winemakers’ eclectic industrial space filled with vintage file cabinets and retro furniture.


Blackbird restaurant

where to stay

Hotel Californian, a 1925 property situated only steps from the sea, has received plenty of attention since its new incarnation was unveiled last year. The result is a luxury 121-room hotel that blends its original Spanish style with updated artworks, Moroccan accents, and 1 million interior tiles along with a rooftop pool and multiple restaurants, including the Mediterranean-influenced Blackbird.


Rooftop pool


Old Mission Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara County Courthouse

Salt Cave Santa Barbara

The Funk Zone

Stearn’s Wharf

The Black Sheep Restaurant

Tyger Tyger

Santa Barbara Public Market

Santa Barbara Wine Collective

Municipal Winemakers

Hotel Californian



Monterey Bay Aquarium

Natural beauty abounds throughout the Monterey Bay area, with its pine-dotted hillsides, rocky bluffs that jut out over the crashing surf, and families of otters bobbing in the sea. It’s no wonder fabled artists like John Steinbeck, Ansel Adams, and even Jimi Hendrix found inspiration here. Make your first stop a man-made attraction: Monterey Bay Aquarium. One of the country’s largest and most impressive public aquariums, it is home to thousands of marine mammals — from penguins to sharks to seahorses — along with a massive kelp forest. Cannery Row has a reputation for being a tourist trap, but its revitalization has added more stylish shops and restaurants to fill the spaces left by sardine canneries that once lined the famous street. For a seafood-centric midday meal, try Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar for Manila clam chowder and local calamari.

The Monterey Bay is prime whale-watching territory year-round, and come summer, humpbacks and blue whales migrate to the area to feed. Get an up-close look at the massive mammals on a three-hour whale-watching tour with Chris’ Whale Watching, and you might also spot otters, dolphins, seals, and sea turtles. Driving south on the spectacular 17-Mile Drive, you’ll snake past palatial homes, scenic vistas, and wind-swept cypress trees, including the iconic Lone Cypress that’s still standing despite some storm damage earlier this year. End with oysters and cocktails at the uber-luxe Stillwater Bar & Grill at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, which overlooks the Pebble Beach Golf Links.




where to stay

The nautical-inspired, LEED-certified Portola Hotel & Spa, located on the bay, offers eco-friendly amenities such as refillable aluminum water bottles, compostable carpets, and green cleaning products. The hotel’s restaurants include brewery Peter B’s, which offers a lineup of house-brewed seasonal craft beers on tap in addition to a bar menu of sandwiches, burgers, and street tacos. Portola’s 6,000-square-foot Spa on the Plaza features rechargers like aromatherapy massages, tropical sugar scrubs, and detoxing seaweed wraps.



Portola Hotel & Spa


Monterey Bay Aquarium

Cannery Row

Chris’ Whale Watching

Stillwater Bar & Grill

Portola Hotel & Spa