Credit: Sharon Williams

How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Laguna Beach Like a Local

Here’s Where to Stay, Shop, Dine and Explore in This Funky Beach Town

Just a seashell’s throw from the neighboring city of Newport, Laguna Beach is one of Southern California’s gems—a little slice of paradise, if you will. A mecca for the arts and a surfer’s haven for maverick chasers, this boho-chic town is the perfect coastal getaway. Known for its vibrant culinary scene of farm-to-table outposts and idyllic beaches, it’s no wonder celebrities and locals alike flock to the sun-soaked shores of Laguna Beach for some fun in the sun. We’ve put together a two-day itinerary highlighting the best and brightest corners of Laguna Beach for a laid-back weekend of eating, shopping and exploring.

 

DAY 1

5 p.m.

Dinner at Bodega Laguna

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Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: Bodega Laguna

Wining and dining at one of the best restaurants in town is the first order of business when on vacay! Bodega Laguna will be ready to welcome you with a refreshing list of handcrafted cocktails and a sizzling selection of aperitivos. Celebrating the flavors of the “Mexicoastline,” this PCH restaurant in the heart of downtown put a playful spin on Mexican cuisine, offering a unique, seafood-centric menu of delicious creations. Just steps from Main Beach (you can practically see the waves crashing!), the interior of this cantina features a whimsical display of funky decor, colorful accents and cozy, lounge-like seating. The lights are low, drawing attention to the glowing bartop where expert mixologists shake up everything from margaritas to signature cocktails like Midnight Rider with muddled blackberries and the Abuelita Espresso Martini. There are also live DJs that spin funky beats, making the dining experience that much more of a vibe.

Credit: Bodega Laguna

In terms of eats, the PCH Tacos are a favorite, demolished in batches by local surfers, as are the fajitas and Spanish octopus ceviche. It’s always happy hour when in Laguna, but this Bodega Laguna celebrates the happiest of hours from 3-5 p.m. every day with discounted small bites and beverages as well as a selection of $10 plates. After chowing down, wander into the restaurant’s La Tienda, an adjoining market space that carries a crafty collection of artisan Mexican imports.

 

7 p.m.

Check in at Laguna Riviera Hotel

Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: Katie Oswald

Embrace the quintessential surfer lifestyle that characterizes this dreamy beach town at Laguna Riviera Hotel. Healthy, active living and an intentional mindset are the pillars of this hotel’s framework. Coastal-chic touches encompass every inch of Laguna Riviera—from beachy textiles to tiered balconies with rooftops set aglow at dusk with twinkling fairy lights. Winding pathways circle the property, leading down to soft sandy beaches, while recent renovations have placed sustainability at the forefront. Each remodeled, “peaceful” guest room and suite features eco-friendly furnishings, custom, reclaimed woodwork and local art pieces. Your morning routine rituals need no modification at this surfside lodge. Spacious living areas and curated bathroom amenities are designed for mindful mornings—with ocean views as an added bonus. Outdoor, wooden platforms are perched around various points of the hotel, inviting guests to connect with themselves through yoga and meditation. Situated in the heart of Laguna Beach, Laguna Riviera Hotel places guests just steps away from picturesque beaches, dining hotspots and local surf shops.

 

DAY 2

10 a.m.

Blk Dot Coffee

Credit: Taylor Franz on Unsplash

A day well spent in Laguna can’t possibly begin before securing that morning brew! At least not with this beach town’s charming selection of coffee shops lining the coast. Find your new favorite bevvy at Blk Dot Coffee (famous for their Vietnamese coffee). Both the Spicy Honey Oat Latte and Brown Sugar Series are non-negotiables! Their matcha and tea selections are equally divine, as is their breakfast menu. Grab your coffee and one of their breakfast bowls before hitting the break.

5/12

 

11 a.m.

Explore Laguna Art Museum

Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: Laguna Art Museum

Known for its enthusiastic artist community, the Laguna Art Museum embodies the rich landscape of Laguna Beach from land to sea. The gallery houses intricate pieces praising the symbiotic relationship between nature and the human experience. Vibrant displays of sculptures, paintings and photos highlight natural elements indigenous to the region. Immersive art exhibitions include panel discussions, films and activities dedicated to preserving Laguna Beach’s outdoor serenity. 

 

12:30 p.m.

Shop at Business & Pleasure Co.

Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: Business & Pleasure Co.

There’s something about an aesthetic beach setup that just hits different, you know? Business & Pleasure is an outdoor lifestyle brand transcending timeless classics into modern staples. Their vintage-inspired pieces are stylish yet functional. Soft, pastel fabrics embellished with creme-colored fringes recreate styles reminiscent of 1950s beach culture. Their scalloped sling chairs, fluffy beach towels and adorable striped tote coolers create an aesthetic that instantly enhances any photoshoot, resulting in adorable, Insta-worthy days on the sand.

 

1:30 p.m.

Sandwich From Wigz

Credit: Katelyn Jones

We’ve never quite understood what makes sandwiches taste so much better at the beach, but Wigz Laguna certainly knows how to craft the perfect sando for a beach day. This new beachside sandwich shop lets guests “style” their sammies as wraps, melts and even open-faced toasties. The deli bears its name with pride as a cultural landmark of the local community—specifically honoring Laguna’s beloved wig emporium that once stood on the same plot.

 

3 p.m.

Catch Some Rays at Thousand Steps Beach

Credit: ChrisGoldNY

While there might not actually be 1,000 steps leading down to this hidden gem, you’ll definitely get your steps in for the day. Located on the southern point, Thousand Steps Beach has remained a wildly popular trend that Instagram and TikTok users can’t seem to get enough of. Concrete stairs lead to one of Laguna Beach’s longest stretches of sand with a secret swimming pool that garnered the beach its fame. Only accessible at low tide, this paradise-like pool is well worth the trek!

 

6 p.m. 

Rooftop Dinner at Skyloft

Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: Sharon Williams

For a rooftop dining spot on point with both aesthetics and cuisine, look no further than Skyloft. This upscale dining loft boasts a sophisticated ambiance with outdoor heaters for nights when sea breezes are particularly chilly. Feast on appetizers and seafood favorites like calamari and grilled octopus while staring out at the picturesque ocean canvas. On Tuesdays, it’s all about barbecue with half off barbecue plates and sandwiches. Live music floods the space from Wednesday through Sunday, with rotating bands playing everything from soulful blues to jazz tunes.

 

8 p.m.

Drinks + Live Music at Marine Room Tavern

Jam out to live music while sipping craft cocktails at this seaside tavern in Laguna Beach. Marine Room Tavern combines whiskey and serenades in an eclectic setting that embraces a montage of vintage styles. The rustic interior is accented with gothic pieces while oversized leather couches and cozy lighting fixtures create an intimate gathering space. Pull up a barstool and select your drink of choice for the night. Make it a trio and order their Bullet Flight for a bit of the best!

 

DAY 3

9 a.m.

Hike Moro Canyon Trail

eco-friendly staycation Laguna Beach
Credit: El Moro Canyon Short Loop Trail

Fresh air and ocean views—what better way to start the morning? Moro Canyon Trail is a 9-mile loop in Crystal Cove State Park that skims the cusp of towering bluffs. Atop the flowering cliffs, hikers are met with panoramic views of the Laguna Beach coastlines—a sight well worth the journey. The loop is divided into four separate trails, ranging from easy to strenuous in difficulty. Each trail is divine, with a backdrop of rolling canyons draped in wildflowers (especially in the spring) and flourishing fauna.

 

1 p.m.

Brunch at Zinc Cafe and Market

Brekkie lovers, this one’s for you! With soulful dishes crafted in an artsy environment, Zinc Cafe and Market is a cherished gathering spot to connect over nourishing meals. While the veggie-based menu is an icon of the cafe’s commitment to healthy living, don’t let it fool you! They save plenty of room for indulgent pastries like their scrumptious oat cake. And as a farm-to-table market, seasonal specials are always in full swing.

 

3 p.m.

Shopping at AMĒNAH

Credit: AMĒNAH

With spring weather upon us, it’s really just an excuse to splurge on a new fit, right? AMĒNAH is a local clothing boutique carrying the latest seasonal styles. With simple sundresses to flirty rompers and jumpsuits, the real trick is walking away without a bag full of fun springtime essentials. The brand is an icon of individuality. Their pieces cater to the unique shapes and sizes of all women, making each lady look and feel like a masterpiece.

 

4 p.m.

Shopping at Museum of Peace & Quiet

Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: Museum of Peace and Quiet

Inspired by leisurely play and restful lounging, Museum of Peace & Quiet puts a deluxe spin on basic oversized sweatshirts. Most of their pieces incorporate neutral dyes and earth tones reminiscent of the natural landscape. The minimalist styles and cozy in-house furnishings exude a peaceful state of mind, inviting customers to cultivate a sense of inner calm that’s unruffled by the outside world. 

 

6 p.m.

Drinks at The Deck

Set the vibes for the evening with pre-dinner drinks at The Deck. This beachside bar is as close to the shore break as you can get—the perfect spot to watch the waves roll in as the last rays of the sun sink into the Pacific. Live music is a staple at The Deck, accompanied by their cocktail list with a dozen signature beverages. Order the California Cooler for a refreshing blend of mint and cucumber.

 

7 p.m.

Dinner at Las Brisas

Las Brisas The Pearl
Credit: Las Brisas

You won’t find a better spot in Laguna Beach to enjoy salt-rimmed margaritas and crispy tortilla chips than Las Brisas. With elegant dining rooms and an ocean-view, wrap-around patio, it’s easy to see why this restaurant was rated as one of Orange County’s best waterfront dining options by OpenTable. If dining inside, make sure to ask for a spot by the window! Start with a refreshing appetizer, such as the corn mousse tostada, before moving on to the mains like the butter squash tamales or Scottish salmon.

 

9 p.m. Take Refuge for the Night

Weekend Laguna Beach
Credit: SCP Hospitality

After a few craft cocktails and a dreamy dinner, head back to Laguna Riviera Hotel and prepare for a restful night’s sleep. Drift off to the sound of the waves rolling in below and prepare to wake up recharged, refreshed and ready for another day of adventures.

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