Things to do in Malibu

Things to do in  Malibu

Hang loose or go home

Famously the domain of Hollywood celebrities and millionaires, Malibu sparkles with an air of exclusivity thanks to its clifftop mansions overlooking a sweeping stretch of pristine Pacific coastline. But there’s room for everyone on Malibu’s legendary beaches such as Zuma, Point Dune, and El Matador—whether you’re seeking epic surf breaks or sandcastles, beach-hopping is one of the top things to do here. Alternatively, venture inland for a taste of luxury while touring the sprawling Getty Villa, or work off a fresh seafood lunch from the Malibu Pier with hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Top 3 attractions in Malibu

Getty Villa

The older of two Getty museums in Los Angeles, this elegant villa modeled after an ancient Roman country house (the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, to be exact) is dedicated to Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art. Inside, wander through exquisite galleries and gardens to find all manners of statues, frescoes, mosaics, and other ancient art and antiquities.More

Paradise Cove

Although it is a public beach, Paradise Cove is best associated with the eponymous café located right off the Pacific Coast Highway. The beach and its corresponding eatery draw visitors to this idyllic setting with the allure of a quiet beachfront meal where you can quite literally put your toes in the sand, as well as the opportunity to camp out at the shore all day.More

Zuma Beach

Well known for its wide, miles-long stretch of sand, Zuma Beach is considered by many locals and visitors to be one of the ultimate Southern California beaches. The Malibu beach is a popular destination for beach dwellers, surfers, and out-of town travelers, providing plenty of space for activities such as kitesurfing, swimming, birdwatching, and bodysurfing.More

All about Malibu

When to visit

Malibu is mostly sunny and pleasant year-round, but beware of coastal California’s infamous “June gloom,” which leads to foggy and drizzly skies in late spring and early summer. You’ll also want to pay special attention to forecasts during peak wildfire season, which stretches from mid summer to late fall. The Pacific Ocean is famously chilly, but swimmers find the warmest water July-October.

Getting around

The car reigns supreme in Southern California. You’ll find a few local buses, but most travelers opt to rent their own vehicle, with either streetside parking or paid beachside lots available. If you’d rather forgo a rental, then rideshare options are plentiful and fast, usually just a few minutes’ away. As an added bonus, you’ll often meet aspiring performers moonlighting as drivers.

Traveler tips

Around the corner from Bob Dylan’s Malibu estate, stunning Point Dume is a craggy promontory that offers a few short walking trails and bird’s-eye views over the coastline. From December to May, you’ll have a chance to spot whales migrating from your perch on the cliffs. Also not to be missed is nearby Zuma Beach, with miles of pristine sand and easy parking.

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A local’s pocket guide to Malibu

Ariel Sophia Bardi

Ariel is a keen aficionado of all things coastal—and has been smitten with Malibu ever since Hole frontwoman Courtney Love crooned about it in the ‘90s.

The first thing you should do in Malibu is...

head to Zuma Beach to watch surfers ride the waves.

A perfect Saturday in Malibu...

starts with the catch-of-the-day at a roadside seafood shack. Two local favorites: Malibu Seafood and Neptune’s Net.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

a stroll through the Mediterranean-style gardens of the Getty Villa on a gorgeous sunny day. Fun fact: They’re modeled after a Roman estate buried in the same volcanic eruption that wiped out Pompeii.

To discover the “real” Malibu...

explore the coves and cliffs of stunning El Matador State Park. Malibu might be famous for glitzy celebrity hotspots like Nobu, but Malibuites are also big on the great outdoors.

For the best view of the city...

make your way over to Point Dume for cliffside hiking trails and a panoramic coastal vista stretching all the way to South Bay.

One thing people get wrong is...

assuming that Malibu will always have hot, perfect So-Cal weather. All those surfers are drawn here for a reason: the wind! LA is a land of micro-climates. Don’t forget a sweater.


People Also Ask

How do I spend a day in Malibu?

You’ll find hiking trails aplenty in Malibu, so set an early alarm and head out to the Zuma Ridge Trailhead or Point Dume—a panoramic promontory where you can spot gray whales migrating down below. After a hearty lunch at Neptune’s Net or Malibu Seafood, you’ve earned a rest at sandy Zuma Beach.

Is Malibu walkable?

Yes and no. Once you’re in Malibu, parts of the neighborhood can be navigated without a car—and finding parking along some of the more popular beaches can sometimes be tricky. But getting to Malibu without private transportation means either taking a taxi or relying on a very infrequent bus service.

What time of year is best to go to Malibu?

Gray whales are on the move from December through the first half of April, so keep that in mind if you’re planning on any coastal whale watching. Otherwise, while Malibu is a year-round destination, the Los Angeles weather phenomenon nicknamed “June gloom” can make early summer days at the beach less than ideal.

Where can you see celebrities in Malibu?

Plenty of stars call Malibu home, from Jennifer Aniston to Leonardo DiCaprio. You can join an organized tour featuring local star homes, or find maps online for the self-guided version. For real-life sightings, head to the Malibu Country Mart, an outdoor shopping center where you might catch a celebrity running errands.

What is Malibu most known for?

Malibu is famous for its stunning coastline and surfing hot spots like Topanga Beach, craggy, canyon-filled hiking trails overlooking the Pacific, and celebrity homes. But it’s also where you’ll find hilltop Getty Villa—a world-class art museum with adjoining gardens—and the ornate Malibu Hindu Temple, both well worth visiting.

Is it expensive to visit Malibu?

It may be expensive to live in Malibu, but visiting the glamorous beach enclave doesn’t have to break the bank. Hiking and walking trails are free, and most beaches offer day-long parking passes at reasonable prices. That said, if your itinerary includes visits to, say, Nobu Malibu, then you’ll want to budget accordingly.

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