Your first thoughts of Beverly Hills probably involve shopping, shopping, and more shopping. After all, it’s the home of Rodeo Drive, one of the world’s most famous streets for fashion. But a day trip to one of Los Angeles’ ritziest neighborhoods doesn’t have to involve bespoke suits, gala dresses, or shoes priced in the five-figures. It can also be about experiences: luxurious retreats, cultural events, and fine dining are all on tap when exploring the area.
The Peninsula Spa
If the goal of a vacation—even a day trip version of one—is to relax, starting the day at The Peninsula Spa sets the mood properly. Located on the fifth floor of The Peninsula Hotel, the Peninsula Spa sets the oasis-like feel from the first steps you take into the lobby, with low lights and flowers. Choose from a wide menu of massages, wraps, facials, and other treatments, and unwind as the staff takes care of your every whim.
The Rooftop Grill at Montage Beverly Hills
Whether it’s at a table on the veranda, or lounging in a deck chair by the pool, dining at The Rooftop Grill is an easy way to combine the city’s luxury with sweeping views and gorgeous weather. Take a lunch break at elevation, heading to the roof of the Montage and stepping out onto the patio to grab a seat and order a plate of sea bass tacos or a lobster and prawn roll. If you eat enough to slip into a food coma, settle by the neighboring pool and sip on a blood orange margarita or a rooftop sangria. What’s a vacation day without a siesta, after all?
The Paley Center for Media
Los Angeles may be the home of the film industry, but television and radio have their own residence in this Beverly Hills facility. With a searchable database of more than 160,000 programs, Paley has all the biggest moments in media history, from the sublime (the original John F. Kennedy-Richard Nixon debates and the Moon Landing) to the ridiculous (the ALF television movie and the pilot for Cop Rock). In addition, an archive of footage from television broadcasts of the Olympic Games, starting with the event’s TV debut in 1960, currently makes its home here.
The dining savants at Zagat have called Spago “quintessential L.A.,” and one bite into the Wolfgang Puck-created California cuisine will tell you why. Even as dining culture has evolved from fancy dining rooms to curbside food trucks, Spago has stood out as a must-visit. Pick a libation from the towering wine wall—the collection here numbers in the five digits!—and then try to decide between the liberty duck breast, the steamed Scottish salmon, or, for the vegetarians, the roasted Brussels sprouts. Even the dessert menu is Los Angeles-infused, with the chocolate inspiration “Frank Gehry,” a flourless chocolate cake. Make sure to nab a seat on the patio near the fireplace for the full postcard-from-LA experience.
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Cap your day trip adventures by seeing a play at the neighborhood’s newest major art institution. Wallis Center for the Performing Arts opened to much fanfare in the fall of 2013, and has since seen productions featuring world-famous troupes and big stars. Arrive before showtime to walk the grounds, once home to the Beverly Hills Post Office, and grab a drink in the theater lobby, overlooking the courtyard. After the performance, linger for a while in the old post office lobby, which now acts as the front entrance to the complex, and marvel at the preservation and restoration of the 1930s architecture.