Sloan’s Ice Cream-Santa Monica

Sloan’s Ice Cream-Santa Monica

What: Sloan’s Ice Cream

Where: Santa Monica

For: All Ages

Sloan’s Ice Cream is a sweets wonderland.  Filled with whimsical decorations, amazing treats and luxury ice cream, it was the perfect place to stop with the kids on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica during a hot day.

The Store

The store is an eclectic group of bright pinks, greens, yellows and purples.  Famous paintings line the walls with ice cream inserted into them.  It reminded me of what a Barbie House would look like in real life.  If I were to give our 4 and 5 year old full reign to decorate a store, this is exactly what they would come up with.

A counter with all types of ice cream is at the front of the store.  More toppings than you can imagine are offered to put on top of guests’ ice cream.  There are assortments of treats offered to the side of the ice cream counter.

Candied apples, brownies, cookies and doughnuts are offered fresh from the bakery.  Desserts of all shapes and sizes are everywhere you look.  A candy wall lines the opposite side of the candy counter.  Bright stuffed animals and toys sit on tables around the store as well.

I tried the kids’ ice cream and it was very good.  It tasted very old fashioned and creamy.  The workers were generous with the amount of candy toppings the kids requested.  Since the scoops were generous, the kids couldn’t finish their desserts.  We would definitely come back to try some other desserts next time we’re in the area.

The Crowd

Although it was extremely hot outside, there was no one in line at Sloan’s Ice Cream.  This may be because there isn’t a very visible sign outside facing the Promenade.  Guests need to walk through two double doors to get into the store.  There is outdoor seating that allows for people watching while patrons enjoy their desserts.

Cost

We told the girls to get one scoop of ice cream each with two toppings.  For the two small scoops and two toppings, the bill came in at $15.  Although this is way more than I want to pay for a small scoop of ice cream, the girls enjoyed the atmosphere of the store.  If you’re looking for a ice cream shop and are on the Promenade, I definitely think that Sloan’s takes the cake.

Sloan’s Ice Cream Information

1315 Third Street Promenade, Unit A, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 394-3940

sloansicecream.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Sloan’s Ice Cream, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Candytopia (Seasonal)-Santa Monica

Candytopia-Santa Monica

What: Candytopia (Seasonal)

Where: Santa Monica

For: All Ages

Yesterday, Ethan and I took the kids to Candytopia, the seasonal candy museum in Santa Monica Place.  The kids felt like they were in Willy Wonka’s factory.  After a quick introduction, guests are led into a large room where they are explained the rules.  You can look and touch, just don’t eat the candy!  The kids had the time of their lives.

 

Attractions

Without giving away the specifics of the rooms (just see the pictures!), all rooms included a themed combination of animals, artwork and sculptures made out of candy.

A huge plus was that every room had free candy!  We thought that the kids would get hyped up on sugar, but there was so much to do that they only ate two pieces of candy the entire time.

Unanimously, our favorite place was the marshmallow pool.  There are small marshmallow-like foam pieces that the kids are allowed to toss around and swim in.   Marshmallows also fall out of a large bucket-device down onto the kids.  They were so happy after their visit to Candytopia that they couldn’t stop talking about it the entire day.

For the parents and bloggers alike, the Instagram-worthy photo opportunities are worth the price alone.  I took so many pictures and boomerang photos (@la-staycation) for memories.  If you enter your e-mail address before you go into Candytopia then you can get aerial pictures e-mailed to you after your visit.

The staff had so much energy and was helpful in throwing confetti and setting up the aerial photos.  I left with a purse full of candy.  The kids asked if we could come back every day.  Make sure to check the website for dates of operation in your city.

The Crowd

The crowd is mostly young children with their families (and bloggers looking for some photos).  There was never a dull moment for any of us.

Although it was crowded in the beginning, since you can take your time through the museum, we hung back to spend as much time as possible in each room.  One thing to keep in mind for the smaller guests is that there are no restrooms available inside Candytopia.

Cost

Adult admission is $30 per person with kids ages 4-12 costing $23.  Ages 1-3 are free.  All tickets must be purchased online in advanced and scanned from a printed document or from a mobile device.

Candytopia Information

395 Broadway Space 142, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(888) 718-4253

candytopia.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Candytopia, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Melisse-Santa Monica

Melisse-Santa Monica

What: Melisse

Where: Santa Monica

For: Ages 18+

For my birthday, Ethan surprised me by taking me to my first Michelin Starred Restaurant (two Michelin Stars).  Melisse is a French restaurant with a preset menu crafted by Chef Josiah Citrin.  Although it’s very expensive, it made for a night to remember.

The Restaurant

With Melisse situated in Santa Monica, parking is hard to come by.  I suggest you take an Uber or Lyft to the restaurant.  I did see a valet service parking patrons’ cars in the back of the restaurant.  When you walk in, you’re immediately treated like a VIP.  The tables have white tablecloths and there is a setting with many utensils (I wasn’t sure which fork to use first).  The restaurant exudes a chic ambiance of the French theme.  Ornate décor and chandeliers with soft lighting sets the mood for your dining experience.  The servers introduce themselves and every dish that you will be having that night.  You must make reservations online or by calling the restaurant.  I suggest making reservations as soon as possible, minimally three weeks in advance.

There are options of a four-course, seven-course and ten-course menu at Melisse.  If you opt for the ten-course menu, expect to spend at least two hours in the restaurant.  We had the seven-course menu and were in the restaurant for an hour and a half.  The menus are constantly rearranged and updated, so be sure to check their website for the most up-to-date dining options.

The Food

Although the serving size seems small, the dishes at Melisse really fill you up.  My favorite dish was the caviar egg that came out on an intricate platter.  My other favorite was the pasta with truffles (the truffles are a significant amount more cost-wise).  There were some plates that I generally would not order or try, but I ate everything that was put in front of me.  I felt like each part of the meal was better than the last.  I couldn’t even finish the dessert that was brought out.  This is definitely a restaurant to go to for the complete fine-dining experience.

The Crowd

Everyone was dressed to the nines here.  Men came in suits with ties and jackets.  I wore my Christian Louboutin heels and cocktail dress.  The age range is 18+ because of the atmosphere.  The servers were very knowledgeable about every dish and wine pairing.  They even bagged up our desserts to take home.  Since we went for my birthday, they brought out a special dessert dish and tied our menu up in a sweet reminder of our date.

Cost

Since Melisse is a fine-dining restaurant, you should expect to spend a pretty penny.  Each of us had the pre-fixed menu and two drinks (four total) with a receipt upwards of $600.  I did order truffles (extra $50) on one of my dishes that pushed the bill up (although it was so worth it).  I do know that the yearly DineLA menu includes Melisse for $99 per person (varies yearly).

Melisse Information

1104 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310)395-0881

melisse.com

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to Melisse, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

The Penthouse-Santa Monica

The Penthouse-Santa Monica

What: The Penthouse

Where: Santa Monica

For: Ages 21+

Ethan and I came here last year for our two-year anniversary.  We love going to Santa Monica, and he had a special place picked out for us to spend our night as a surprise.  We stayed here for about four hours and had an amazing time in the upscale restaurant and cocktail lounge in the Huntley Hotel.

The Restaurant

The restaurant has ocean views and offers breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner to guests.  Make sure to check the website for availability.  To enter the Penthouse, you need to walk through the lobby of the Huntely Hotel.  When we went, we had to wait in a line for the bouncers to check our IDs and lead us up to the elevator.  When we arrived, there was a beautifully modern themed restaurant with gorgeous ocean views.  We thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset.  We didn’t have a chance to experience the restaurant here, although we were able to sit at some of the tables to chat over a cocktail.  There was ample seating available on the left side of the restaurant when you walk out of the elevator.

The Lounge

This opulent lounge turns into a club atmosphere at night.  The restaurant tables are put away and a DJ starts playing modern music in front of a dance floor.  It was very easy to get drinks, as the bar spanned 360 degrees.  A free photo booth was offered for guests in the back of the bar, which is where we took our anniversary photo (don’t judge…we had a few drinks prior to this photo being taken!).  There was ample seating in the back-right area of the lounge when the dance floor became crowded later on during the night.

Our awesome photo booth anniversary picture.

The Crowd

The crowd was comprised of mostly 20- to 30- somethings.  Everyone was dressed nicely as if they were going to an upscale restaurant.  Women were in dresses and heels whereas men wore slacks with a jacket.  The workers and bartenders were also dressed to the nines.

Cost

You can expect to spend $15-$20 per person for breakfast, $20 to $25 for brunch, $20-$30 for lunch and $30 to $50 for dinner at the Penthouse.  Dessert is around $15 for a shared order, while lounge starters range from $15-$30.  All pricing excludes drinks, which would add approximately $15 per drink to your bill.

The Penthouse Information

111 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90403

(855) 998-5323

thehuntlyhotel.com/penthouse

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to The Penthouse, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com

Santa Monica Pier/Pacific Park-Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier/Pacific Park-Santa Monica

What: Santa Monica Pier/Pacific Park

Where: Santa Monica

For: All Ages

The Santa Monica Pier is a great place to go for rides, carnival games and dinner by the beach.  We took the kids there for a night out and the entire family had a blast.  There is also a historic carousel and aquarium under the pier to checkout.

The Rides

There are twelve theme park rides offered at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.  We purchased a Groupon and paid $15 for $30 worth of rides, but we ended up spending another $20 for tickets (the rides are not cheap!).  The kids loved going on the smaller rides (keep in mind that if you want to accompany your toddler or infant on a ride you are required to pay for yourself as a rider as well).  We also went on the Ferris Wheel, which lasted for a while and made for some cute photo ops.  Make sure to check the website for hours of operation and height/weight restrictions on rides.

The Games

The Playland Arcade offers a mix of arcade games with machines that dispense quarters to break cash.  The games each cost from $1 to $1.50.  There are also twelve carnival games at Pacific Park.  The carnival games each cost $3 to $5 and the prizes are cheap, which is to be expected.  The girls were happy that Ethan won them each a plush donut.

The Food

There are eight restaurants on the pier, and we’ve eaten at two of them.  Bubba Gump’s Shrimp is a favorite chain restaurant with dining prices ranging from $20-$25 per person excluding drinks.  We took the kids to the Pacific Park Food Court where they ate hot dogs under the outside overhang.  Keep in mind that it gets fairly cold by the beach at night.  It started to slightly rain when we were out there, but the kids enjoyed the rainy sprinkles.  The hot dog prices were a little inflated.  We spent $30 for four hot dogs and two drinks.  Most of the food offered at the pier is either American or a Seafood mix.  Pacific Park also has a choice of restaurants, dessert stores and coffee shops to choose from.

The Crowd

There is always a mix of people at the pier.  Many families come to enjoy the rides and carnival games with their kids.  Couples come for date night while groups of older kids wander around in the area by the arcade.

Cost

Overall we paid $10 for parking, $30 for dinner, $45 for the rides and $10 for the games.  We expected to pay a lot less for a night out with the kids, but we should have anticipated the inflated prices due to the proximity to the ocean.  We came back to Santa Monica again for some date nights, but we decided to forego the rides and carnival games.

Santa Monica Pier/Pacific Park Information

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

(310) 458-8901

santamonicapier.org

Thanks for reading! If you’ve ever been to The Santa Monica Pier/Pacific Park, please comment on this post!  Also, if you have suggestions of other places to go in the Greater Los Angeles Area, please let me know by e-mailing admin@la-staycation.com