Malibu is just north of Santa Monica, stretched along a 27 mile coastline where the Santa Monica Mountains abruptly collides with the Pacific Ocean along the northern perimeter of Santa Monica Bay. The city enjoys the loveliest setting and greatest prestige among the beachside communities around Los Angeles.
Malibu’s beachfront homes sell for millions. The community, in fact, is known as “The Colony”, where almost-exclusively the residents are all rich and famous. Also dubbed “Hollywood-by-the-Sea”, homes in Malibu are super-expensive. The residents are also extremely protective of their privacy. Still, visitors can drive along Malibu Road and still catch glimpses of how these famous and wealthy people live.
The best views of the Cliffside homes are enjoyed from Malibu Pier, whose line of sight encompasses miles of coastline. But visitors from the casual crowd of beachgoers, to locals and resident glitterati are probably more fixated on Malibu’s line of restaurants, shops, and cafes.
The city's definitive landmark, the Getty Villa at 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy is a recreation of an ancient Roman villa set in formal gardens, a replica of the town of Herculaneum which was completely destroyed and buried by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in 79 AD. The museum closed for extensive renovations in 1997, which were completed in 2003. The collections were moved temporarily to the Getty Center in Brentwood but have since moved back. The villa reopened recently in 2006 and now features a collection of Roman, Greek, and Etruscan antiquities and sculptures.
Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum
Malibu is also home to the Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. The Malibu Lagoon gazes into the Pacific ocean from a 13-acre garden. The museum is housed in a Spanish Colonial Revival house measuring two stories high. It was built with an abundance of colorful tilework from the Malibu Potteries, the 1920s ceramic-producing factory. The house is adorned with a star fountain designed in Moorish fashion and set in the middle of the property’s graceful gardens. Next to the house, there is a small museum dedicated to the history of the Los Angeles area, from the days of Native Americans to the present.
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
The Malibu Lagoon State Beach is a 5-acre haven for native and migratory birds. Visitors stroll along boardwalks and observe various birds in the marshes like blue herons, gulls, avocets, and egrets. The lagoon is open 24 hours a day and is best visited in the early morning or at sunset.
Malibu was originally inhabited by Chumash Indians. In the early 19th century, the area became part of the Rancho Topanga Malibu Sequit land grant, a 13,000 acre expanse that was later passed on to millionaire businessman Frederick Hastings Ridge. He acquired it for a paltry sum of $300,000 in 1892. He converted it into a country retreat used for cattle ranching and wheat farming. After he died, his wife established the Malibu Potteries in the 1920s, a factory that produced colorful ceramic tiles in the Spanish style which were sold and used in many of the homes and office buildings in Los Angeles, including the City Hall. Malibu was later sold in 1928 to developer Art Jones who established the exclusive residential enclave, Malibu colony. He leased homes to many celebrities of the day, including Gary Cooper, Gloria Swanson, Delores del Rio, and Clara Bow among others. Instantly, Malibu became the place to be for the rich and famous. Today, the homes still attract Hollywood stars. The multimillion dollar homes are heavily secured and gifted with accessible public beaches, sparkling coastline views, and sweeping panoramas of the Santa Monica Bay.
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