Trip date: February 2020
A friend was going to spend a couple of days in Santa Monica after attending a conference in Southern California and invited me down for the weekend. The flights into LAX were ridiculously expensive but I had a lot of miles on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card so used those for a Premium Class seat on Alaska Air and still earned miles towards Elite Status! I got to the airport with plenty of time and had a breakfast mimosa in the Priority Pass Lounge.
There was a new area for Lyft/Uber at LAX when I arrived, you basically were sent a code by the app and then matched it up with the car/driver. It was easy and quick and soon I was on my way to the Gateway Hotel. This is a good standard hotel if you want to stay in Santa Monica proper. It's about a 2-mile walk to the beach from here but was pretty central for us getting around via Uber.
My friend wanted to check out the Petersen Auto Museum so off we went to the Mid-Wilshire area of LA. The outside of the museum is really interesting with ribbons of steel wrapping around the bright red building.
We started with a late lunch at their restaurant Drago which is California inspired Italian cuisine. Salads, fried calamari, some wine. It was tasty, easy and the service was great.
Now I'm not a huge car fan but I love design and history so I found the museum to be really interesting! I mean how can someone not love looking at this Bugatti?
We spent about 2 hours exploring the different rooms and exhibits. There is history of the automobile, a room of cars used in movies and TV shows, futuristic cars, cars from the past, etc.
There was an exhibit of Metallica singer James Hetfield's custom car collection which were both odd and cool!The Lobster. This is a perfect spot to sip on some well made margaritas and watch the gorgeous sunset.
**As I visited all of these places before the COVID-19 pandemic, please double check on opening hours. And fingers crossed these businesses all stay in business!**