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What To Do in Malibu Now

We've teamed up with our friends at Rachel Zoe to bring you the best of where to eat, drink and play in Malibu. Pack your bags: you're Cali-bound.

Photo by Henry Hargreaves

See recent posts by Siobhan Reid

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Hang with the locals at Cholada Thai

Located off PCH directly across from Topanga Beach, this Thai shack is a favorite of surfers and Malibu locals alike. Follow a dip in the ocean with a cold Singha beer or fresh young coconut, then feast on a plate of crispy fried wontons stuffed with chicken, shrimp and water chestnut. Cholada’s take on Thai classics—from fiery sea bass curry laced with coconut milk to crispy rice salad with ground chicken and ginger—will transport you from the ‘Bu to Bangkok.

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Go on a hike through Escondido Canyon and Falls

Why take an exercise class indoors when you’re surrounded by gorgeous mountains and exquisite hiking trails? The four-mile hike through oak-lined Escondido Canyon will lead you to Escondido Falls, the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains. While getting to the upper tier of the falls requires a bit of boulder scrambling, it’s well worth it. The trail is dog friendly, so bring the pup along for an adventure.

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Tuck into the daily catch at Malibu Seafood

This beachside fish market and cafe is the spot if you’re searching for high quality, fresh seafood. You can order whole fish or filets to take home and cook on your grill; alternatively, you can feast on piping hot fish and chips, tacos piled high with seafood and cabbage, or whatever sea creature you desire fried or grilled to perfection and served with vinegary cole slaw and thick-cut fries. Score a spot on the patio to soak up the sun and ocean views.

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Get in step with the city's style

Malibu fashion blends polished glamour and the easy, breezy SoCal style. Get the look by pairing Rachel Zoe’s Stevie Dress—a silk, off-the-shoulder number with a ruffled neckline and tassel rope belt—with the brand’s sleek Alicia Flat Sandals, which have metallic accents and a patent sheen. Come night, dress things up with the vintage-inspired Kelly Pendant Earrings and the standout 14k gold-plated Kate Collar Necklace.

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Sip local vino at Cornell Winery & Tasting Room

If you’re looking to sample a variety of wines made by Malibu and Central Coast growers, make a stop at this funky tasting room housed in a wood barn. Owner Tim Skogstrom spent a decade working for Francis Ford Coppola in Napa before opening Cornell in 2006, so you can rest assured that the bottles he carries from 40 boutique vineyards are up to par. A flight will set you back $10, but make sure you have extra cash on hand to snag a bottle from Dolin Malibu Estate Vineyards.

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Watch the sunset from The Reel Inn

The feel-good vibes at this surfside seafood shanty are infectious. The shrimp and calamari is battered and fried to order—but if you’re feeling extra fancy, there’s always the Maine lobster tail. A pint or pitcher of local draught beer from Golden Road or Firestone Walker serves as an ideal accompaniment to the seafood and sunrays.


Grab brunch at Lily's Cafe

Locals line up at Lily’s for the cafe’s signature breakfast item: a hefty breakfast burrito stuffed with crispy bacon, scrambled egg, pinto beans, and Cheddar. This is the type of hearty breakfast you want before trekking through the canyons or shredding the gnar (a.k.a. surfing) at Zuma Beach. If burritos aren’t your thing, there’s chicken tamales and fish tacos, which can and should be doused in the restaurant’s homemade salsa.

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Kick back and relax at Malibu Cigar Lounge

After you’re through surfing, wine tasting, and feasting, head to this comfy cigar lounge to relax. Owner Rick Loehr, a certified surfer dude, hosts invitation-only poker games on Fridays and brings in a massage therapist on Thursdays. Any day of the week is a good time to light up a cigar from Loehr’s extensive selection, sink into the overstuffed leather sofas, and chat with fellow customers who range from surf bums to Malibu billionaires.

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Photo by Henry Hargreaves


Hang with celebs at Nobu Malibu

If it’s a celebrity citing you’re after, head straight to the Malibu location of chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s restaurant empire. Every seat in the house offers an ocean view; but when you’re not ogling the surf, keep your eyes peeled for Malibu locals like Gwen Stefani and Charlize Theron. Stick to signature Nobu hits like black cod miso and yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño, then treat yourself to a lychee martini or two.

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