What’s Haute: 25 Great Things to do in Malibu

The Malibu pier at sunset
The Malibu pier at sunset

The amazing SoCal city of Malibu celebrated its silver anniversary this year and, to commemorate, we’ve highlighted 25 places—from top secret spots and the most beautiful beaches to the grandest gourmet restaurants and the best boutiques—that you absolutely need to experience. Happy birthday to the ‘Bu, a city made famous by Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon’s Beach Party, sunsets, surfing and Billionaire’s Beach, and happy hunting to you!

1 CAFÉ HABANA If you want to see your favorite celebrities doing karaoke, head to Rande Gerber and Sean Meenan’s Cuban/Mexican hot spot at the Malibu Lumber Yard on a Wednesday night. If you’re lucky, you may even spot Bono!

2 CARBON BEACH A.K.A. BILLIONAIRE’S BEACH Some of the most affluent folks in the world—from entrepreneurs and celebrities to philanthropic power players—live in the 70 homes on this one-mile stretch from Malibu Pier to Santa Monica.

3 CELEBRITIES You name them, they live here. Look for famous faces like Laird Hamilton and Gabrielle, Reece, Cindy Crawford, David Geffen and Leslie Moonves on any given Sunday.

4 THE COLONY This mile-long enclave of roughly 115 homes is a real community for the affluent, a family-like collection of multi-million dollar homes located behind simple wooden guard shacks.

5 EL MATADOR STATE BEACH As one of the most beautiful beaches in Malibu, it is known as much for its sea caves as its sunbathers.

6 GEOFFREY’S For an amazing lunchtime view, head to Geoffrey’s, a fabulous lunchtime spot located on the site of the former Holiday House, a resort/hotel/watering hole to the stars for decades, designed by renowned architect Richard Neutra.

7 THE GETTY VILLA This stunning art museum is one of two L.A. locations of the J. Paul Getty Museum, and focuses on the study of Ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria. Make sure to check out the staggeringly beautiful gardens and amphitheater in addition to the amazing art and architecture.

8 HIKING Although not typically an activity you’d associate with this beachy city, there are some great secret hiking spots to check out; Big Rock, Amarillo, Escondido and Latigo are among the best.

The Carbon Beach Club at the Malibu Beach InnPhoto Credit: Cary Westfall

9 THE MALIBU BEACH INN AND CARBON BEACH CLUB There is truly only one place to stay in the ‘Bu right now, and it’s a doozy. The gorgeous boutique hotel rests on Carbon Beach, where you’ll wake up and go to sleep with the waves. Amidst your sandy adventures, stop and enjoy a beautiful brunch or starlit dinner at the signature restaurant, the Carbon Beach Club.

10 MALIBU COUNTRY MART AND MALIBU LUMBER YARD Shop your heart out at these high-end adjacent shopping centers. At the former, you’ll find boutiques like John Varvatos, Oliver Peoples, Ralph Lauren Women and Ron Herman, while at the latter, you can indulge in reality therapy at beloved L.A. boutique, Maxfield, as well as Alexis Bittar, Alice + Olivia, James Perse and Vilbrequin.

11 MALIBU FAMILY WINES One of the most idyllic experiences you can have in Malibu is a trip to Malibu Family Wines, picnicking, listening to live music, hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones as a live band plays in the background.

12 MALIBU FARM RESTAURANT Be sure to spend a sunny day brunching at this organic, kosher and farm-fresh eatery on the Malibu Pier where everything is healthy and delicious. Try a juice shot or fresh watermelon mimosa with your vegetable paella and spaghetti squash lasagna.

13 MALIBU RACQUET CLUB You’ll definitely want to become a member at this place, which is situated on raised ground overlooking the Pacific. There are eight fully-lit outdoor championship tennis courts, plus a cardio center, dry heat sauna and full espresso bar.

14 MALIBU WINE SAFARI You can’t miss the Wine Safari, an adventure around a 1,000- acre vineyard and ranch in Malibu, where you’ll enjoy delicious SoCal wine pairings with animals like zebras, camels, bison and giraffe. You have to see it to believe it.

The Pacific Coast Highway at sunset
The Pacific Coast Highway at sunset

15 MASTRO’S OCEAN CLUB One of the most luxe experiences in Malibu is fine dining at this restaurant with prime views of the Pacific. The gigantic seafood tower, steaks and extensive wine list make this spot a must.

16 MR. CHOW Michael Chow’s name is synonymous with high-end Chinese fare, which you can expect in spades at his beautifully decorated, all-white restaurant, located at the Malibu Country Mart.

17 NOBU The hottest spot in the ‘Bu is Nobu, which is equally known for its VIP sightings, impossible wait list and gourmet Japanese.

18 NOBU RYOKAN Angelenos (and everyone else) are waiting with bated breath for the arrival of Nobu Matsuhisa, the soon-to-be-opened Japanese concept hotel from Robert De Niro, Larry Ellison and Meir Teper, located in the former space of Casa Malibu.

19 POINT DUME In addition to being one of the most beautiful, private spots in the area, it’s also famous for its film history: Iron Man and Planet of the Apes were among those shot here.

20 THE RANCH AT LIVE OAK There’s no better luxury boot camp, which focuses on health, wellness and moderate activity over the course of a four-day jumpstart or week-long period

21 REAL ESTATE You don’t have to be local to realize that some of the most expensive homes in L.A. are located in Malibu. The agents you really want to know: the mother-son team, Irene Dazzan-Palmer and Sandro Dazzan, of Coldwell Banker Brokerage.

22 SOLSTICE CANYON This magic spot lets you hike, picnic or simply relax and check out one of the only year-round waterfalls in the Malibu mountains.

23 THE SUNSET RESTAURANT There are few more perfect ‘secret’ spots than The Sunset, a Zuma Beach institution owned by Franco Simplicio. The eatery, which is housed in a historical beach bungalow overlooking the Pacific, offers a diverse mix of vintage Americana and seaside-chic décor and eclectic cuisine that focuses on seafood with a California twist.

24 SURFING Malibu is home to some of the best surf spots in the world. Little Dume, Zuma and Surfrider are among the most

25 WESTIME There’s only one place to buy luxury timepieces in the ‘Bu and that is Westime, a family-owned establishment at the Malibu Country Mart that caters to serious collectors. It carries impressive brands like Hublot, Audemars Piguet and Breitling.