With over 40 retail shops, plenty of eateries and even a playground filled with fun, the Malibu Country Mart is a year-round shopping destination on Pacific Coast Highway. The buildings that make up the shopping complex suggest a rustic country market, yet the shops inside reflect sophistication and high fashion. Shops include John Varvatos, Toy Crazy, Ron Herman, Oliver Peoples, Madison and Planet Blue. Malibu Country Mart is also home to some of Malibu's best restaurants, including top-notch Italian cuisine at Tra di Noi and famous Chinese food delicacies at Mr. Chow.
Zuma Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches on the California coast â" or any coast for that matter. Located on the north end of Malibu, Zuma Beach is mellow with soft sand, making it an ideal beach to lounge back and relax. There are also volleyball nets on part of the beach for those looking to get in a bit of exercise during their time in the sun; sometimes in the summer, you'll be able to watch top players competing in tournaments held here. With a paid parking lot, bathroom and even an outdoor shower, you can spend the whole day on Zuma Beach and then get ready to go straight to dinner in town.
If you're a fan of famous and beautiful college campuses, you'll want to swing by Pepperdine University during your time in Malibu. The campus is situated on the side of a hill above Pacific Coast Highway and overlooks the ocean, providing panoramic views and making Pepperdine University one of the most expensive schools in the country. The college is also one of the nation's best, a Christian university that has an ongoing calendar of faith-based special events that take place on its campus, many of which are open to the public. Pepperdine is also the home of the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, which showcases the work of California artists from the 1960s to present day and is open every day except Monday.
The Adamson House is the fully restored home of the Rindge family, who owned all of Malibu in the late 1800s and well into the 1900s. The lovely Spanish Colonial Revival style beach house sits right on Pacific Coast Highway and is both a California Historic Landmark and a National Historic Site. Adamson House is filled with original furnishings, looking just as it did when the family built it in 1929, using many of the Spanish tile manufactured by the family's famed Malibu Potteries. As you take guided tours of the house, gardens and nearby museum, you'll learn more about the family, as well as the Spanish settlers and Chumash Tribe that went before.
Open since 1972, the Malibu Surf Shack rents all the water sports toys you need to get into the real Malibu groove, communing with the ocean up close and personal. Give paddle boarding, kayaking or surfing a try; if you're not sure just how to ride a board or paddle a kayak, the experienced folks at Malibu Surf Shack are ready to show you how with private lessons. Once you've mastered your chosen sport, head out on a guided tour with one of the Surf Shack's experts. And if you're already a pro at stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking, simply head out on your own to see Malibu from a very different perspective â" on top of the water.
Paradise Cove Beach Cafe is literally right on the beach in the northernmost reaches of the Malibu community, almost to Point Dume. The inside of the cafe that has been on this spot for generations has funky booths with a beach-inspired vibe and large windows overlooking the Paradise Cove Beach. You also have the option of choosing lounge chairs right on the beach, giving you a chance to enjoy their famous Fruit Boba Rum Drinks and take in the Malibu sunshine with your feet in the soft sand. The menu has plenty of choices, with a focus on seafood options and BBQ specialties, both of which have sampler options ideal for sharing.
Malibu Wine Safaris combines a ranch adventure with wine tastings â" and a meal, too, if you'd like â" to create a unique day experience in the Malibu hills. This family-owned company is located on the Saddleback Ranch, a 1,000-acre estate that features a vineyard and an incredible assortment of wild animals, many of them veterans of Hollywood movies and television shows. They offer various safari trips to see the critters, which include zebras, camels, alpacas, bison, and even a giraffe named Stanley. Every tour (for the over-21 set only) includes tastings of six wines or four flavors of mimosas, as well as tours of the ranch and an animal encounter. Starting at $65 for a 90-minute tour and extending to a $180, 120-minute excursion that includes a visit to the ancient Chumash cave paintings on the ranch and a catered lunch, the Malibu Wine Safaris all happen in open-air vehicles that allow everyone a terrific view along the way.
The long Malibu Pier is an ideal place in Malibu to go for a relaxing walk. The pier is refreshingly uncluttered compared to most piers in California, with just a few restaurants and shops. As you walk down Malibu Pier you'll pass fishermen trying to catch their own personal catch of the day. From the pier you can see down the coastline, the multi-million dollar beach homes of Malibu hugging the edge of the sandy cliffs. The end of the Pier is worth a good long stop so you can gaze out at the ocean, unobstructed save for a few ships and revelers enjoying some exciting water sports.
The Getty Villa is an incredible architectural masterpiece, the repository for the J. Paul Getty Foundation's extensive Greek and Roman antiquities collection, as well as ancient art from other cultures ranging from the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire. Located just up the hill from Pacific Coast Highway on the way to Malibu from the south, it's the perfect place to begin a day of sightseeing up the coastline. The villa's four gardens are beautiful, the buildings are marvels of Italian marble, a faithful recreation of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy, a first century A.D. Roman country house. Admission is free, as are the various tours offered each day, both of the artistic treasures and of the special gardens.