An Insider’s Guide to Malibu

Here’s how to plan a perfect Malibu getaway

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Located on the outskirts of Los Angeles, Malibu is a magical beach town with a big reputation. This tight-knit community is a haven for surfers, celebrities and affluent locals looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Despite being on the smaller side, simply driving down the Pacific Coast Highway in this coastal gem will lead you to some of SoCal’s most beautiful beaches, epic hiking trails and upscale eateries. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time Angeleno, plan the perfect trip with this insider’s guide to Malibu.

Where to Stay

Nobu Ryokan

  • 22752 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

With only 16 rooms across the entire property, the Nobu Ryokan is the most exclusive and intimate hotel in Malibu. Though you’ll feel completely zen in the Japanese-inspired garden rooms, the ocean and beachfront accommodations boast views that take your breath away. Several of the rooms feature teak soaking tubs on the balcony, where you can relax under the stars as you immerse yourself in aromatic bath salts. The fully stocked mini fridge and snack bar is also complimentary, allowing you to treat yourself to something sweet or savory at any hour of the day.

Nobu Ryokan. 2017 Barbara Kraft

Malibu Beach Inn

  • 22878 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Malibu Beach Inn is a timeless waterfront property located just a short walk away from the historic Malibu Pier. The 47 rooms and suites feature beachy yet modern decor, cozy fireplaces and spacious balconies where you can enjoy the sea breeze while taking in panoramic sunset views. The location is virtually unbeatable, and in addition to the pier, guests at the Leading Hotel of the World have prime access to Carbon Beach, Cure Wellness Club and the on-site Carbon Beach Club Restaurant.

Malibu Beach Inn. Malibu Beach Inn

Calamigos Guest Ranch

  • 261 Calamigos Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

Explore the best of Malibu’s majestic mountains when you book a room, bungalow or private cottage at Calamigos Guest Ranch. This rustic yet contemporary property has a bohemian ambiance that encourages rest and relaxation as you connect to the surrounding nature. Indulge in the signature outdoor massage before driving over the guest-exclusive Calamigos Beach Club for craft cocktails and appetizers by the beach.

Calamigos Guest Ranch. Calamigos

Where to Eat


  • 22706 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Between its iconic patio that sits right above the Pacific to the star-studded clientele, Nobu Malibu is one of the most elite restaurants in all of Los Angeles, not just Malibu. Reservations can be super difficult to snag, but if you plan in advance, you should be able to get one even on the weekends. From the fresh nigiri to chef Nobu’s famous Wagyu tacos, you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Nobu Restaurant. Nobu

Carbon Beach Club Restaurant

  • 22878 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Located at the Malibu Beach Inn, Carbon Beach Club boasts a beautiful outdoor patio that offers unbeatable ocean views at sunset. Whether you’re in the mood for a cocktail or wine, be sure to order an array of appetizers like the tuna tartare, oysters and crispy calamari. The freshly baked cookie that is served in a hot skillet is also a must-try. If you visit during brunch, know that Carbon Beach Club makes a mean Bloody Mary.

Carbon Beach Club Restaurant. Carbon Beach Club


  • 27400 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Geoffrey’s is an iconic cliffside establishment known for its romantic outdoor dining area, epic views and upscale cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for seafood or steak, the diverse menu caters to a variety of tastes, but the spicy fried oysters are always a hit. For your main course, the surf and turf is a worthwhile splurge that offers the best of both worlds, with a tender filet alongside a fresh lobster.

Geoffrey’s Malibu. Geoffrey’s

Broad Street Oyster Company

  • 23359 Pacific Coast Hwy #3874A, Malibu, CA 90265

Caught a craving for a buttery lobster roll and a crisp beer? Head to Broad Street Oyster Company. Despite its casual, counter-ordering set-up, Broad Street serves unbelievably fresh and high-quality seafood. Though the lobster rolls are what they’re famous for, you can also order raw items like ceviche, crudo and oysters.

Broad Street Oyster Company. Broad Street

Where to Drink

Rosenthal Wine Bar

  • 18741 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Located right off of PCH, Rosenthal Wine Bar & Patio is the perfect place for wine tasting after the beach. In addition to the charming interior in the tasting room, the massive patio outside allows you to soak up some sunshine while sipping on a bottle of rosé. On the weekends, food trucks post up outside and serve everything from pizzas to falafel, but you can also bring your own spread to enjoy.

Rosenthal Wine Bar. Rosenthal

Cafe Habana

  • 3939 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

No question about it—Cafe Habana serves up the best margaritas in Malibu. Whether you want to sit at the laid-back bar or on the tropical-esque patio, the hot pink prickly pear margarita is the ultimate thirst quencher. Every margarita is made with Casamigos tequila, but you can also order other cocktails, beer or wine.

Cafe Habana. Skott Snider Photography

Moonshadows Malibu

  • 20356 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Thanks to the huge floor-to-ceiling windows, the ocean views at Moonshadows can be admired even from the chic and dimly-lit bar top. The cocktail list is organized by spirit, but some local picks include the espresso martini, Mexican mule or the Moon Fashion. Moonshadows also boasts a solid list of sake that can easily be paired with fresh oysters and the spicy Ahi tuna tartare.

Moonshadows Malibu. Michel Lee Jackson

Lucky’s Malibu

  • 3835 Cross Creek Rd Suite #18, Malibu, CA 90265

Lucky’s Malibu is known for its sleek and timeless steakhouse vibes. The bistro-style bar stools are surprisingly comfy, if you want to sip on a gin martini at the bustling bar. Whether you’re flying solo, on a date or catching up with an old friend, the late-night ambiance at Lucky’s can’t be found anywhere else in Malibu. 

Lucky’s Malibu. AlexandraDeFurio

What to Do

Hit the Beach

Despite its affluent and famous residents and fancy restaurants, Malibu is, first and foremost, a beach town. From Paradise Cove to Westward Beach to El Matador, each strip of sand has its own charm and scene. Though some beaches are better than others for surfing and swimming, you’ll also find plenty of great tide pools where you can search for sea slugs, starfish and octopi. Of course, nothing beats reading a good book while catching a tan on a towel in the sand.

Malibu Beach. Malibu Beach Inn

Wine Taste at Cielo Farms

  • 31424 Mulholland Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Though it is a bit of a trek into the mountains, paying a visit to Cielo Farms is an unforgettable experience. While most people go for the wines, the views are the true draw, and you’ll be able to look out at the surrounding mountains and lush landscape that appear straight out of a storybook. Snap some photos while you sip or cozy up by one of the fire pits as the sun sets and lights up the valley.

Wine Taste at Cielo Farms. Cielo Farms

Visit the Getty Villa

  • 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Technically next door in Pacific Palisades, the Getty Villa is one of the most stunning and unique museums in Los Angeles. After admiring the Greek and Roman artifacts and antiquities, walk outside and check out the elegant fountains and abundant gardens while taking in the Panoramic Pacific views.

Getty Villa Museum. Getty Villa

Shop at the Malibu Country Mart

  • 3835 Cross Creek Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

From upscale boutiques to name-brand designers to metaphysical crystal stores, Malibu Country Mart is a true one-stop-shop destination. It’s located just across the street from the ocean, so if you’re in need of a last-minute bikini or sun hat, this is the place to go. There are also plenty of restaurants and coffee shops in the center if you need a little pick-me-up during your shopping spree.

Malibu Country Mart. Malibu Country Mart

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