WEST LOS ANGELES
Learn to Surf LA: Locations in Venice, Malibu, Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach. (310) 663-2479, www.learntosurfla.com. Year-round surf lessons in some of Southern California's tastiest waves; private and group lessons are available.
Venice Skatepark: Pacific Ave. at Venice Way. www.veniceskatepark.com. Grab your board and rip it up in the city that spawned streetstyle skateboarding, with a 16,000-square-foot skate park right next to the Pacific Ocean.
Marina del Rey Sportfishing: Dock 52 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. (310) 822-3625, www.mdrsf.com. Cast a line from the dock or charter a boat for fishing or whale watching.
Perry's bike tours: Eight locations around Santa Monica and Venice. (310) 939-0000, www.perryscafe.com. This cafe has offered bike rentals for more than three decades at beach locations including the Santa Monica Pier.
Third Street Promenade: Third Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Broadway, Santa Monica, www.thirdstreet promenade.com. One of the West Coast's most prominent outdoor shopping malls includes more than 500 shops, and it's just a short walk from the beach.
Mar Vista Farmers Market: Grand View at Venice Blvd., Mar Vista. www.marvista farmersmarket.org. Farm-fresh produce and a variety of food vendors, with on-site dog sitting as well, each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Modern Dog: 1611 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 450-2275, www.come-sit-stay.com. If you're looking for a dog astrology book or organic treats for your pooch, this is your spot.
Wally's Wines & Spirts: 2107 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 475-0606. www.wallywine.com. On the other side of the 405 freeway from Santa Monica, this long-running West L.A. wine shop offers Saturday tastings and is a must-stop for fans of vino.
Wasteland: 1338 Fourth St., Santa Monica. (310) 395-2620, www.shopwasteland.com. Vintage and choice second-hand clothing where you can score such designer brands as Marc Jacobs and Chanel for a fraction of their retail prices.
DINING AND NIGHTLIFE
Planet Raw: 609 Broadway, Santa Monica. (310) 587-1552, www.planetraw.com. If you've ever wanted to flirt with a raw food diet, or see if organic raw vegan dishes are to your liking, grab a table at this hot spot for raw food.
Le Cellier Wine Bar: 417 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey. (424) 228-5491, www. le-cellier-winebar.com. Dubbed as a "gastro wine bar," you'll find a French and Vietnamese menu with plenty of wine.
The Tasting Kitchen: 1633 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 392-6644. Listed in GQ magazine's "best new restaurants in America." Chef Casey Lane and crew make the best brunch you might ever have.
Locanda del Lago: 231 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 451-3525, www.lagosantamonica.com. Farm-to-table Italian food just a few blocks from the beach, and a "meatless Monday" program as well.
Cafe Crepe: 1460 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica. (310) 576-0499, www.cafecrepe.com. Dozens of different crepes, panini and more at affordable prices make this a solid place to refuel.
The Otheroom: 1201 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 396-6230, www.theotheroom.com. Chill with the SCal locals, and sometimes their dogs as well, at this bustling bar.
Shore Hotel:q 1515 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica. (310) 458-1515, www.shorehotel.com. Luxury hotel accommodations meets Gold LEED standards for a stay that's both swanky and sustainable.
Venice on the Beach Hotel: 2819 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. (310) 429-0234, www.veniceon thebeachhotel.com. Beachfront lodging at reasonable rates, with rooms going for $120 in the off-season.
Sea Shore Motel: 2637 Main Street, Santa Monica. (310) 392-2787, www.seashore motel.com. Two blocks from the beach and a favorite for travelers on a tight budget.
Inn at Marina del Rey: 737 Washington Blvd., Marina del Rey, www.innatmarina delrey.com. Located near the Marina del Rey Harbor, this hotel is also close to the hot spot that is Venice's Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Venice Admiral Suites: 29 Navy St., Venice. (310) 452-1228. This converted apartment complex offers rooms with kitchens and free nearby parking, and is dog-friendly as well.