America’s Hidden Gems: Explore Santa Monica with Kimberley Seldon

by | Jun 4, 2024

A colourful sunset over Santa Monica, California, with palm trees in the foreground.
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Last updated on June 17th, 2024

Featured image: Kimberley Seldon shares her best tips for visiting Santa Monica, California | Photo by maginnislaura on Envato

Hidden Gems in Santa Monica: Where to stay, eat and play from a local

by Kathy Buckworth

Our series profiling notable Canadian women age 50+ continues as Kimberley Seldon shares her hometown travel tips, and experiences while traveling. Here’s why you should visit the places she loves.

Kimberley Seldon is one of Canada’s best-known designers. From hosting her own show on HGTV, to being a regular on Cityline for many years, she draws on this and the experience of being the decorating editor of Style at Home for 18 years to help clients and designers achieve their best. Personally, Kimberley and I worked together on her online magazine, Babble (I covered travel), which was ahead of its time, and in 2004 she launched Business by Design, an online learning platform for independent designers from across 50 countries.

Born an American, and choosing to be a Canadian, Kimberley loves being in her adopted hometown of Santa Monica, California, when not in Toronto. I was lucky to catch her between one of her many leisure and business trips, which she does with equal gusto.

Kimberley Seldon

Hidden Gems in Santa Monica, California

Kimberley identifies Santa Monica (and Venice Beach) as her hometown, where she lives part-time. She was born in Los Angeles.

Kathy: What unique experience should women seek out in Santa Monica?

Kimberley: Believe it or not, Los Angeles has amazing hiking trails. If you like hiking, you’ll have so many options. One of my favourites is the Corral Canyon Loop Trail which takes you high above Malibu Beach. Park at Malibu Seafood, hike for a couple of hours and then dine on some fish tacos while overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Divine.

Kathy: Where’s a safe place for women to stay?

Kimberley: There are so many dishy places to stay in Santa Monica. If you love celebrity spotting check in at Shutters on the Beach. It’s right on the beach and the lobby bar is an amazing place to have a drink. For something a little more under the radar, the Palihouse Hotel is lovely. It’s just a few blocks from the ocean. Very comfy, artsy vibe. Great cocktail bar too. I see a theme here.

Kathy: Where are your favourite places to eat?

Kimberley: Oh wow. This is very difficult as there are so many good restaurants in Santa Monica and neighbouring Venice Beach. The Rose has a stunning courtyard patio setting and reliably great food. Georgio Baldi is an institution if you need an Italian fix. Cora’s is my go-to for breakfast, partly because you sit beneath a bougainvillea canopy and partly because lemon ricotta pancakes. Tar & Roses is always a treat. Far too many to name. Oh, Hama Sushi. Great sushi and you can watch vintage surf movies while you dine. 

Kathy: What about a sunset cocktail?

Kimberley: Thirsty types will be spoiled for choice. You cannot go wrong with a cocktail from The Rose. Love the lobby bar at the Fairmont Hotel. Or, head outdoors to the Fairmont Bungalow. It’s a loud and young crowd, but sometimes that’s just right. For silly fun, try Casablanca and wait for the tequila cart to come around. They make fresh tortillas too. DELISH. Oh, speaking of margaritas, I love Vamos Vamos, which is a tiny little gem.

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Kathy: Where do you go for “Play”?

Kimberley: I’m a yoga devotee. I love taking classes, but you cannot beat yoga in Palisades Park. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean. What could be nicer? I also love Shefayoga in Venice. Check out Dan Ward’s classes. He’s got such a warm and encouraging vibe. His classes are challenging but he gives such great direction, the time flies. I also love the barre and Pilates classes at Exhale at the Fairmont. Santa Monica is a great walking city. Head south on the beach boardwalk and you’ll wind up in Manhattan Beach or Venice Beach. Head north and you’ll land in Malibu. You can also skate or cycle on the bike path. It’s amazing. Go to Brentwood Country Mart for shopping and celeb spotting.

Kathy: Do you have a favourite work space?

Kimberley: I work from my dining room table, facing the ocean. My daughter has a coworking space in Venice Beach at NeueHouse. It’s fabulous.

Upcoming Travel Plans

Kathy: What future travel plans do you have coming up?

Kimberley: I’ve just returned from Africa, which was a dream. We started in Namibia on a desert safari with AndBeyond Soussavlei Desert Lodge. The saffron-coloured desert is beyond spectacular. Then, we went to South Africa and stayed at Phinda Vlei Lodge, where we got to see all the Big 5, and so many other beautiful animals. Before we came home we stayed a few nights at Krueger National Park and saw more of the Big 5, including two instances of lions tracking their prey and finally, succeeding. It was such a privilege to have that experience.

Kimberley Seldon doing yoga near the beach in Santa Monica, California
Kimberley practices yoga in Santa Monica / Photo by Kimberley Seldon
Kimberley Seldon on a safari in South Africa, with rhinos in the background

Kimberley on safari in South Africa / Photo by Kimberley Seldon

Kathy: Do you have experience with multigenerational travel (kids, grandkids) and if so, why is that special to you?

Kimberley: Our last family adventure was in 2021 (it’s time for a new one). My husband and I rented a house in Palm Springs during Covid. We had a full house with both our children, my mother-in-law Mary, and our daughter’s two bulldogs. I loved it!

Kathy: Have you done solo travel? What lessons did you learn from that?

Kimberley: My best holiday ever, in terms of return on investment, was Club Med Cancun. I went alone, which initially made me a little nervous. But I met my husband Bob there. Pretty good outcome, right?

Kathy: The best!

How to get to Santa Monica, California

The closest airport to Santa Monica is LAX (Los Angeles Airport). Check Skyscanner for great rates on airfare here. If a road trip is your preferred method of travel, rent a car on Expedia here.

Find Kimberley here
Instagram: @kimberleyseldon
Facebook: Business of Design
Website: Kimberley Seldon Design & Media Inc.

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Kathy Buckworth is an award-winning writer, spokesperson, content creator and media personality. She is the author of six non-fiction books. Kathy is the creator, host, writer and researcher for the Zoomer Radio show and podcast, Go-To Grandma, which launched in 2021. She has interviewed hundreds of guests, and the show is in the top three sponsored shows on Zoomer. She is also the co-host of the Elder Wisdom Podcast, which has just reached 100,000 downloads.


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