An Insider’s Guide to Your Best Summer Yet: California Edition
Spend every day al fresco in LA, scour San Francisco for souvenirs, and cycle the Santa Barbara coastline, guided by the Golden State’s knowledgeable Compass agents.
Editor: Hannah McWilliams
Illustrations: Ping Zhu
Sip the best Bay Area cocktails
“If you want to enjoy a truly creative libation, you can’t beat Trick Dog in the Mission. There’s no sign; just follow the sound of shakers. Once inside, encounter drinks named for local street artists like the “Jeremy Fish” (Banks 5 rum + chai liqueur) and “Rogelio Martinez” (Aviation gin + papaya “som tam” liqueur). The bar commissioned 13 works around town by the muralists themselves; check the menu for the location of each, then tour the sites after kicking back a couple.”
Cycle through the Central Coast
“Our favorite ride is not for the faint of heart, but offers an endorphin-boosting, 3,000-foot climb and fantastic city views. Starting from El Cielito, you’ll take Gibraltar Road all the way up to Camino Cielo.
To fully enjoy Santa Barbara’s stunning real estate, cycle along Mission Ridge Road on the city’s Riviera. The Spanish-inspired homes on this stretch are dramatically set into the hillside.
If you’re looking for a less-strenuous option, start at Stearns Wharf and take the marked bike trail in either direction to enjoy the beachfront. Bonus: Bike rental is available all along the water.”
Score the ultimate San Francisco souvenir
Looking to bring home a piece of the Bay Area? San Francisco agent Danielle Lazier shares her favorite local boutiques around town.
This quirky store has locations in both NoPa and Noe Valley. Its products range from graphic San Fran-themed tea towels and stained-glass trays to contemporary jewelry and floral-printed planners.
Founded in 1948, two designers took over the family-owned pottery in 2004. Though they’ve since expanded throughout the state, each sculptural vase, plate, and coffee cup is still handmade in the Bay Area.
This store features off-the-rack goods — macramé plant hangers, vintage clothing, and energy-cleansing palo santo wood — as well as classes, from graphic design to fermentation-focused cooking workshops.
Screen-printing is this firm’s claim to fame; their tanks and caps are inscribed with everything from political sayings to ’80s pop lyrics. Sold in the Sunset, the motifs celebrate their city of origin.
Scour Pasadena for buried treasure
“If you’re willing to rummage, Pasadena has a very active antiques scene. The second Sunday of every month is the Rose Bowl Flea Market; with no fewer than 2,500 stalls and crowds of up to 20,000 or more, it’s not unusual to spot a celebrity or two in the aisles.
If vintage music is more your style, the Pasadena City College bazaar, held the first Sunday of every month, is known for its 50+ vinyl vendors. Can’t swing a Sunday? The 40,000-square-foot Fair Oaks Avenue Antique Mall has peddled furniture, memorabilia, and housewares every day of the week since 1976.” — Compass Pasadena agent Jennifer Allen
Enjoy a day of dining in Newport Beach
When Orange County restaurants are good, they tend to stick around, say agents Mark Taylor and Dylan Mason. And with the youngest of their recommendations having already clocked 27 years of business, it stands to reason. Here’s where they suggest recharging between trips to the beach.
Located in nearby Costa Mesa, Haute Cakes Caffe’s specialty is — you guessed it — from-scratch pancakes. Snag a table in the courtyard and choose from varieties including classic buttermilk, blueberry cornmeal, and orange ricotta.
Situated on the harbor’s edge, Newport Landing serves up the area’s top seafood alongside views of coastal community Balboa Island and the cloud-capped twin peaks of Saddleback Mountain. Enjoy Fanny Bays on the half shell or an order of Pacific cod tacos, Baja-style.
From within an iconic Newport building that’s housed restaurants since 1925, A Restaurant has garnered accolades for its superlative steaks, including the exquisitely-marbled Imperial Wagyu Coulotte and Japanese A5 Miyazaki Beef.
Soak in the SoCal sunshine
When you live in a city like Los Angeles, why not spend every minute al fresco? Beverly Hills-based agent Tori Horowitz recommends the city’s hottest spots.
Not only is open-air coffee hub Go Get ’Em Tiger designed for walk-up, bar-style service, but they make their own almond and macadamia milks in-house, and the breakfast biscuit with soft eggs is to die for. Check them out in Larchmont or Los Feliz.
Located in the coolest LA neighborhood, known by the locals as Frogtown, Salazar offers amazing tacos al pastor alongside potent cocktails like the whiskey-and-mezcal-based “La Anticuado,” all while channeling a casual backyard-BBQ vibe complete with communal tables.
In the shadow of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock house, evening wine tastings take place at Barnsdall Park in East Hollywood. Picnic, sip, and sway to local DJs as the sun goes down, grabbing a snack from food trucks including gourmet hot dog purveyor Let’s Be Frank and inventive ice creamery Coolhaus.