Had a great stay! Landed at LAX late on a Saturday evening so I stayed at the Renaissance Airport. I was with my 5 year old so he loved taking the shuttle to the hotel and then afterward, we went into the whirlpool. The hotel was very nice, as most Renaissance's are. I was going to cab to Santa Monica but then I found out that the bus station was in walking distance from the hotel that took me directly to Santa Monica. So I took the number 3 bus, which my son just loved. I was dropped off right near the Hostel I was staying at. Why a hostel? Well, first, this hostel was just a block from the SM Pier plus I was on a budget and I find hostels to be quite fun--it's easy to meet interesting people from all over the world. Of course, I did get a private room (would not stay otherwise of course with my son) and it had a nice TV and a desk and a closet and it included breakfast in the morning. I did meet a few nice people, including one 85 year old woman who was born in China, moved to South Africa as a child but eventually ended up in San Francisco. She was pretty fascinating. They also had a huge kitchen completely stocked with utensils and cups, glasses, cutting boards so it's easy to whip up a snack for my constantly hungry and thirsty child. Of course, Santa Monica was awesome, the board walk was terrific and my son, of course, loved the pier. I found the rides and games to be pretty expensive but at least there was no admission price to go on the pier so it can be free, if you just walk. We also went to the Aquarium, which was $3 to go in which I thought was an awesome deal except it is just one room. But a great one room and it's real hands on--you can touch the starfish--and some other fish. They had little sharks there that you could watch getting fed, again, my son loved it. The next day we walked over to Venice Beach. I did read some not great reviews about it so I thought I would go early on a Monday morning and I should be fine. Well, I was fine--but I was not that happy there. I did feel a bit uncomfortable. It was not my kind of place--seemed kind of drug oriented--even the T Shirt shops had all kinds of drug type Tshirts and there weren't any nice restaurants--I walked quite a bit waiting for it to get nice but it never really did. Then I saw a lady walking her dog and asked her where the canals were and she said she lived that way and walked me over to them. Those canals were very cool. It was tough getting my son's stroller over those bridges though but I loved that area. Definitely glad I made the trip to see that. I wonder how it is bug wise in the summer though living there? Anyway, each afternoon when I'm on vacation, I go to a fancy hotel and get a nice glass of wine and my son gets a dessert. So, I went to Lowe's and they had a nice area to sit and have a glass of wine. I also went to the Marriott the next day which had outstanding ocean views, great wine and gorgeous desserts. I also made it to the Fairmont but they didn't have ocean views to sip wine. They had a garden with a waterfall and pond with fish, which my son enjoyed. Next day, I rented a car and headed up to Malibu for the Getty hilltop museum. I really loved it there. Who wouldn't. A beautiful palace that was built to house the roman and greek art of J Paul Getty. The art was wonderful, the grounds amazing. Pools and gardens and portico's, oh my! Even my son loved it--anytime he got ancy looking at the art, I would take him out to a balcony or a pond and he would be satisfied. Of course, there was a lot of myth type art--like Zeus and Hermes so I thought my next stop for lunch would be Neptune's Net. Well, it wasn't my type of place really. It was sort of confusing and there were two places to order and one was battered food I guess and the other side was not battered I guess. We got a couple orders of ceviche and sat down on the porch but the sun was really hot so it wasn't great for my son. It was some tasty ceviche though. On to Santa Barbara and then Santa Ynez Mountain Marriott. I didn't see much of SB--just a drive through the wharf area--but it seemed nice. And well, I heard Oprah bought a place there to retire so if she can retire anywhere but chose this place, it's probably nice. Santa Ynez was ok--nothing spectacular. We went over to the Danish area--Salvang--cute little touristy town. Candy shops, restaurants, cute souvenir places, charming little hotels. The Marriott was older, but adequate. Nice whirpool and a really nice fire pit with sofas around it. It was nice to sit out in front of the fire talking to people and star gazing. Next day, back south and stopped in Malibu for lunch. This time, I gave Duke's a try and boy what a great place. Perfect for me. The staff was sensational, very accommodating (because I changed seats as I wasn't happy with the first table I received). My waiter was great and helped me with my food selections. The fish was delicious--I had a herb encrusted Mahi Mahi and also a crab and macadamia nut wonton. Hmmmm. Plus, the huge windows overlooking the Pacific made this a perfect spot for us. From here, back to the airport Renaissance where I can return the car, put my son in the whirlpool and the next morning, the shuttle bus dropped us at LAX. Great trip! Thanks everyone on TA for your help!