Monday, May 1, 2017

Wilson’s Words of Wisdom: April Round Up (Outdoor places)

In honor of the gorgeous weather washing over the city, for April’s round up, I’ve highlighted some amazing outdoor places to soak in the sun — whether it’s to enjoy a glass bottle of wine or to get your exercise on.

Check out these places below and don’t forget to leave your favorite destinations in the comments section below!

Where to Eat: Beachside Brunching @ The Sidewalk Café

I love The Sidewalk Café for its biggest selling point — its exceptional location. Situated right on the Venice Beach boardwalk, there’s nothing like grabbing a seat on the outdoor patio, right up against the banister to catch a view of the glistening Pacific Ocean and to check out all of the action taking place on the walkways. I’m talking about people-watching at its absolute best. Plus, sometimes you may even be graced with free entertainment, including piano ballads, break dancers and whoever else may happen to post up in front of the café on any given day to make an extra buck or two. The eatery itself is super casual  — pretty much like a beachside dive bar — with surprisingly hearty, Mexican and American fare and potent libations.

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Where to Be Merry: The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

After inhaling all those nachos and margaritas at The Sidewalk Café, it’s probably not a bad idea to burn off a few calories with a proper workout. So, head inland and get your exercise on at the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. This local attraction has access to some of the best free, outdoor workouts — whether it’s running up the mile of switchback trails or climbing up a set of the steepest, most grueling 282 steps ever created. No matter how you get to the top of this mini-mountain, what awaits you are some respectable panoramic views of the city, stretching from DTLA to the east, all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. The Overlook gets packed with outdoor enthusiasts, especially on weekends, with everyone from avid runners to families with young children, college students and even photographers stopping by. It's great to see so many diverse Angelinos out and about!

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Where to Be Merry: Pedal Boating @ Echo Park Lake

In one of L.A.’s oldest parks, Echo Park, there's a massive, man-made lake, surrounded by breathtaking views of DTLA, the majestic San Gabriel Mountains to the north and nearby quaint Spanish-style houses. Thanks to a $45 million renovation back in 2013, the lake has been transformed into a beautiful wetlands oasis, where wildlife — like cranes, geese and ducks — frequently congregate. Spend some quality time on the lake by renting out pedal boats from the Echo Park Pedal Boats Concession. Such a serene way to pass a weekend afternoon!

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Where to Drink: Malibu Wines

You certainly don’t have to drive to Napa, Santa Barbara or Temecula to go wine tasting. In fact, you can simply drive to Malibu Wines to sample a variety of reds, whites and rosés. This outdoor wine tasting room is situated in the Santa Monica Mountains, offering sweeping views of rustic brown canyons, lush green foliage and fun wine-related artifacts, like a fountain made out of old wine barrels that spurts out "wine." Purchase Saddlerock and Semler bottles on location and bring your own blankets and food. The wine room also frequently features activities such as live bands, movie nights and even yoga classes.

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Where to Travel: The Urban Wine Trail @ Santa Barbara

And just in case you do want to travel to go wine tasting, a fairly close, notable destination is Santa Barbara, for its Urban Wine Trail. Concentrated in the downtown area of this picturesque, coastal town, more than two dozen wine tasting rooms open their doors for food and wine tastings, special events and shopping. Each room truly has its own distinct feel — whether it’s Kunin, with a sleek, modern feel, or Corks and Crowns, with over-sized, comfy chairs and a roaring fireplace. Fortunately, since they’re all within walking distance of one another, you can experience quite a few tasting rooms in a short amount of time.

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