Even though Los Angeles is an incredibly entertaining city to live in, everyone experiences a moment where travel beckons. Yes, there are endless opportunities and things to do in the city, but a change of scenery can be refreshing; you may even be a touch tired of the glamor and need a break from the LA lifestyle. As someone who was born and raised in LA, I can confidently say there have been times where I feel eager to get out and enjoy a more down-to-earth environment. Even LA’s elite – celebrities and influencers – at times seek normalcy outside the city and jet to remote locations. Just like The Weeknd sang, despite the fame and fortune, an ‘Escape From LA’ can become necessary. With the holidays right around the corner, there is no better time to treat yourself to a sweet escape, even if it’s just for a couple of days! Some of my favorite vacation spots that I tend to resort to during the holiday season include Santa Barbara and Cabo. Escaping to these nearby getaways always makes the holiday season feel as relaxing and joyful as it is meant to be.
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Santa Barbara has become one of my favorite places to visit, especially during the holiday season. Despite being a sunny beach town, Santa Barbara never fails to deliver the holiday spirit, particularly along State Street. This street is lit up throughout December with string lights, Christmas trees, and festive decorations for their annual holiday parade. In order to keep within this Winter Wonderland, I typically stay at Hotel Santa Barbara, which is located directly on State Street. Not only is this hotel decked out with flamboyant decorations, its location provides immediate access to both the parade and a classy dining experience. After walking through the parade, I always seem to end up at my favorite restaurant, Loquita Santa Barbara. This tapas restaurant serves authentic Spanish dishes as well as tasty cocktails from their in-house bar. Besides making one of the best sangrias I’ve ever tasted, this restaurant provides customers with a cozy yet classy ambiance that never fails to make my trips to Santa Barbara complete.
While the holiday season is usually associated with fuzzy socks and winter snow, Mexico looks very different from this Eurocentric archetype. As someone who thrives off vitamin D, I find Cabo San Lucas to be a perfect place to soak up the sun during the winter season. Last December, my best friend and I treated ourselves to a stay at the beautiful Waldorf Astoria Resort in Cabo. This 5-star hotel is located directly on the water, giving us immediate access to the white sand beach and relaxing cabanas. We indulged in endless cocktails and ate at every restaurant within the resort. Although all were delicious, our favorite meal was dinner was within our hotel at Don Manuel’s. This signature Mexican restaurant served classic dishes with a modern flare, my personal favorite being a pumpkin and pistachio enhanced bean soup. We ate our meals and sipped our cocktails while taking in the breathtaking 360-degree view surrounding us. This relaxing and luxurious getaway has redefined ‘winter wonderland’ for me and has made Cabo one of my favorite spots to visit during the holiday season.
Whether you are looking for a classic Christmas celebration or something a bit more atypical, don’t be afraid to get out of LA this holiday season. With destinations just a couple of hours away (both by car and plane) you can experience an exquisite winter vacation that even LA can’t compete with.