Santa Monica Stairs (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times )
Check in at Santa Monica's venerable Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows (101 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; www.fairmont.com/santamonica), grab a table overlooking the pool and dig into an early dinner at FIG (www.figsantamonica.com), an in-house bistro that focuses on seasonal dishes. Splurge on the carbohydrates, because you'll be up and out early the next morning in your workout wear, walking, jogging or pedaling 1.3 miles along Palisades Park to the public stairways on Adelaide Drive near 4th Street, a.k.a. the Santa Monica Stairs. You'll find the stairs easily enough -- one set is concrete, one is wood, and they'll be populated by fitness fiends panting, stretching, kvetching and primping, which occasionally annoys the well-heeled neighbors. You'll see the young and beautiful, the old and resolute, maybe a guy or two with boxing gloves. Once you've retired to the hotel and freshened up, head for nearby Montana Avenue, where dozens of high-end boutiques, service businesses and restaurants are arrayed from 7th to 17th streets. Get breakfast or lunch at Cafe Montana (1534 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; www.cafemontana.net) or Babalu Bakery & Restaurant (1002 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; www.babalu.info).
8. Art and music, all day and into the night
James Gray Gallery at Bergamot Station Art Center (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times )
Once upon a time, in the 19th century, Santa Monica's Bergamot Station (2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica; www.bergamotstation.com) was a rail yard. But ever since its revival as a cluster of galleries in 1994, it has been a treasured spot for one-stop art browsing. Along with contemporary painting and sculpture, you'll find a lot of photography, a few artsy shops, a well-shaded patio cafe for lunch or a snack, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art (www.smmoa.org). There's your afternoon. Then head to McCabe's Guitar Shop (3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; www.mccabes.com), a beloved retailer and concert venue at 3101 Pico Blvd. The shop is more than 50 years old and has served as a clubhouse of sorts for Jackson Browne, Ry Cooder and many other Los Angeles musicians. Live shows, often acoustic and often Americana, happen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the guitar showroom, which holds 150 fold-up chairs and some of the city's most discriminating (yet enthusiastic) audiences. For food, it's a two-block walk to the trendy Upper West restaurant and bar (3321 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; www.theupperwest.com). Or go three blocks west and try the throwback Googie diner Rae's (2901 Pico Blvd.; open until 9 p.m.), which is as old and weathered as Upper West is shiny and new. If the evening gets late, the Travelodge Santa Monica (3102 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; www.travelodgesantamonica.com) awaits across the street from McCabe's. It's not fancy, but rates start well under $150 (as of March 2012), and parking is free.
9. The Getty Villa
The Getty Villa (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times )
The Romans, the Greeks, the Etruscans -- they're all here in Pacific Palisades, surrounded by gardens that have matured nicely since the villa's grand reopening in 2006 after a massive redo. The Getty Villa (17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades; www.getty.edu) is as intimate as the Getty Center in Brentwood is epic -- the gardens, galleries and open-air theater crowded together in a canyon near the sea just south of Malibu. Do lunch in the cafe (open Thursdays-Mondays). There’s a cool gift shop too, with art books and prints, jewelry, pinhole cameras, mood pencils, "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English" and, admit it, your secret favorite item, a paperback edition of J. Paul Getty's 1965 not-quite-classic "How to Be Rich."
10. The Malibu quartet
Malibu Pier (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times )