How to Do Malibu Like a Local
The best way to do the southern California beach town is like you're part of the in crowd.
Blink and you might miss it. Malibu, tucked below the Santa Monica Mountains on a stretch of Pacific Coast Highway 30 miles west of Los Angeles, keeps to itself. Its deep-pocketed residents like it that way. Many of them live a low-key lifestyle, spending days outdoors (surfing, hiking, biking), while nights out consist of little more than watching the sunset from the deck of the Soho House’s Little Beach House or enjoying dinner at Nobu. Malibu is, in many ways, just a typical small beach town—albeit one with a glamorous reputation and a population of high-profile, big-city people.
For travelers, the tight-knit community has always been hard to penetrate because there’s never been a great hotel. It has traditionally appealed more as a day trip from L.A. for beach time or shopping at either the open-air Malibu Country Mart or the Lumber Yard. But now Malibu is coming into focus as a destination itself with April’s opening of the Nobu Ryokan and the ongoing renovation of Malibu Beach Inn, both centrally located on Carbon Beach, in the eastern part of town. The shifting lodging landscape makes it possible now to spend enough time to experience Malibu the right way—by discovering its charms through the eyes of the locals featured here.