By Austin Pick
What draws people in to the Pacific Palisades is its timeless and quintessential charm. Despite being part of the ever‐changing Los Angeles cityscape, the Palisades has peacefully maintained its beloved “village” feel, along with some of its lesser known local treasures. As a lifetime Palisadian, I am more than proud to share with you a few of our hidden neighborhood gems.
The Pacific Palisades is praised for its scenic ocean views and perfect weather, but to really enjoy this sentiment, I recommend visiting the secret Castellammare Stairs. Once used for beach access, this ostensibly forgotten stairway is one of my favorite little getaways from the stress of the day. It’s a lovely way to get in some sightseeing along with a little exercise, without the bustle of many other better known stairs. You can find this hidden staircase just North of Sunset along side the Getty Villa, with a spectacular view of PCH and the sea.
Another prized community treasure is the La Señora Research Institute, tucked away in the Santa Monica Canyon at 565 Dryad Road. La Señora is a non-profit organization, committed to conserving the cultural heritage and local history of its land, once part of the 1839 Mexican Land Grant “Rancho Boca de Santa Monica.” This beautiful Jose Mojica Hacienda sits beside a historic botanical garden, laden with beautiful plantains, bromeliads and air orchids transported from Mexico by Mojica himself in the 1930s.
At La Señora, visitors can enjoy botany classes, garden tours, as well as experience classic film screenings while sitting in the famed Teatro del Canyon theater. Thanks to local fundraising and generous patron donations, docents are able to offer cultural and educational programs, historic lectures, concerts, chamber music and even wine tastings for its supporters!
A third landmark of the Pacific Palisades is its renowned Will Rogers State Park. What we now knows as a park was once home to the American favorite, Will Rogers—who was not only a horse-loving cowboy and polo player, but also a household celebrated comedian and actor. As such, the park naturally offers riding and roping lessons, and even a Polo Club that plays April through October as a dedication to Rogers’ good works.
In addition, the park provides its visitors with guided trail rides throughout the beautiful grounds, as well as a Ranch Tour led by knowledgeable docents who share Mr. Rogers’ wonderful story with visitors as they’re led through the family home. Of course, if you want to experience the park on your own, there are always fantastic trails like Inspirational Trail or the local pick, “Backbone Trail,” that takes hikers three miles up into the Santa Monica Mountains, and even on and up to Point Mugu for those up for a challenge.
If you’re planning a visit or a move to the Pacific Palisades, I hope you enjoy at least one of these special local finds, and if you want to learn more, please don’t be shy on asking a local or myself for ￼guidance or advice. We’re proud of our community and love to see others appreciate it just as much as we do. Welcome!
Born and raised a Palisadian, and a longtime Brentwood local, Austin serves on the Board of Directors for the Palisades Chamber of Commerce, as well as several local community chairs and charity fundraisers.
Learn more about Austin here.