Ways to Stay Hip in the HIP District

Ways to Stay Hip in the HIP District

Covering 7 blocks along PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) between Thalia Street and Bluebird Street, the HIP DISTRICT is a hub for all things California cool.

Here, all roads lead to the beach, literally. Touting 24 restaurants, 40 boutiques and shops, 20 art galleries, 5 hotels and 30 personal services there’s something for everyone. We’ve put together a guide with not-to-miss hip places to visit in the HIP DISTRICT.  

Groove to tunes at Sound Spectrum

Sound Spectrum Laguna Beach

Spinning groovy vibes since 1967, SOUND SPECTRUM has been THE destination for music fanatics. They’ve evolved with the changing music industry offering whatever form of media that was the flavor of the decade (vinyl, 8-track, tapes, CDs, mp3s) all while putting the experience of the customer first. Here you will find thousands of CDs and vinyl records from Billboard favorites to obscure up-and-coming artists. You can also find an expansive selection of posters, shirts and other memorabilia that owner Jim Otto has been collecting since 1967. Quite a few famous people have crossed the threshold of Sound Spectrum, including John Densmore, the drummer from The Doors.

1264 S. Coast Hwy.
Hours: Mon – Sun, 11:00am – 7:00pm

Have a drink where the Hollywood elite once did at The Rooftop Lounge 

Rooftop Lounge Happy Hour

HOTEL LA CASA DEL CAMINO quickly became a local favorite for the Hollywood elite when it opened in 1929, housing the cast and crew of Evangeline and All’s Quiet on the Western Front. It’s also rumored that Howard Hughes once played a game of backgammon in the hotel lobby. Today, La Casa del Camino is a favorite destination for anyone looking for a boutique hotel with historic charm and a hip atmosphere. Upstairs is the Rooftop Lounge featuring the best mojitos and sunset views in town. You can reserve your table ahead of time so you make sure you have the perfect spot. And, if you end up getting chilly upstairs The Rooftop Lounge offers complimentary blankets for you to snuggle up with.

1289 S. Coast Hwy.
Mon – Thur, 11:30am to 9:00pm
Fri, 11:30am to 10:00pmSat – Sun, 9:00am to 9:00pm

Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Chocolate Soldier

Ways to Stay Hip in the HIP District

The CHOCOLATE SOLDIER is a gem that is nestled in the corner of the Old Pottery Place. All of their chocolates and treats are handmade on-site, and many times, you can catch a glimpse of the chocolatier working on a fresh batch of truffles, chocolate dipped marshmallows or even caramels in the kitchen. Let the sweet aroma guide you and get lost in this real life land of chocolate.

1200 S. Coast Hwy. #103B
Hours: Mon – Sun, 11:00am to 9:00pm 

Explore the HIP District by bike at Laguna Cyclery

Laguna Beach Cyclery

Housed in the big red barn off of Thalia Street, LAGUNA CYCLERY is hard to miss. Originally the barn housed a meat and produce market which then became the original manufacturing home for Have’a Chips. It was in the late 1960’s it became a distribution warehouse for the French Peugot bicycle and finally a full-service bicycle shop in 1971. They have an extensive selection of the most trusted brands of road and dirt bikes. Their knowledge of the hundreds of miles of world-famous trails surrounding town is second to none and they offer regular biking tours exploring the wild side of Laguna. Didn’t bring your bike? No worries, they have a fleet of bikes available for rent so you can explore Laguna on two wheels. 

240 Thalia Street
Tue – Fri, 9:00am to 7:00pm
Sat, 9:00am to 6:00pm
Sun, 10:00am to 5:00pm

Get on the water with La Vida Laguna 

La Vida Laguna

See Laguna from its most stunning vantage point, the Pacific Ocean. LA VIDA offers tours by kayak and SUP (Stand Up Paddle board). On the water you’ll see hidden coves, the abundant life around the kelp forests and maybe even get up close and personal with some marine mammals. Or find out if you have what it takes to survive a shipwreck. This team building eco challenge tests your survival skills of building a shelter, cooking food and distilling drinking water from the ocean, all with found materials. A portion of all sales go to local charities ONE WORLD ONE OCEAN and KELP RESTORATION. La Vida Laguna believes that by working together to better our planet by experiencing nature people from all walks of life can be united. In fact they took Tibetan Monks, Catholic Priests and Native American Pipe Carries paddling together joined together by the serenity of the Pacific Ocean.

1257 S. Coast Hwy.
Hours: Mon – Sun 9:00am to 6:00pm

Find your next “good read” at Laguna Beach Books

Laguna Beach Books

Come to indie bookstore LAGUNA BEACH BOOKS to find that perfect next read. Get lost as you browse through sections including cooking, travel, art, fiction, children, and some more original groupings like ‘powerful non-fiction,’ ‘local,’ ‘surf,’ ‘pets,’ and a large ‘metaphysical’ selection. With such an array of books to choose from, Laguna Beach Books really captures the feel of the town…eclectic! Be sure to also check out their special book signings, lectures and events with authors. Laguna Beach Books has been the host of many author events with celebrities such as Kathy Griffin, Rick Springfield, and Jason Priestley. They have also had many celebrity spottings at the store, which include Rob Lowe, Pierce Brosnan, and Helen Hunt. Laguna Beach Books is also always happy to order any books that they may not have in stock (they will even deliver to you if you reside within Laguna Beach).

1200 S. Coast Hwy.
Hours: Mon – Sun 10:00am – 8:00pm
Plus free underground parking behind the store

Sip on a cup of joe at Laguna Coffee Co.

Laguna Coffee Company

Known for their gourmet and specialty coffee, LAGUNA COFFEE CO. has quickly become the coffee connoisseur’s destination in Orange County. They use only the best beans that are hand selected from all over the world that are slow-roasted right in the store! Every Saturday morning enjoy live Jazz music from 10am to 1pm.

1050 S. Coast Hwy.
Mon – Wed, 5:30am – 6:00pm
Thur – Sat, 5:30am – 8:00pm
Sun, 6:00am – 6:00pm

Stroll in a garden oasis at Laguna Nursery

Laguna Nursery

Stepping inside the grounds of LAGUNA NURSERY you are transported to a magical and artful world of serenity. The nursery is the realization of renowned California horticulturist and landscape designer Ruben Flores. He has curated a nursery that offers plants, gifts, art, fountains, architectural artifacts and even furniture from over 27 countries. The set-up at Laguna Nursery is unlike your typical nursery, instead of a “plants in pots” setup the nursery is staged in vignettes that typify a patio or garden that inspire a thoughtful approach to your own outdoor environment. In addition, the nursery offers an expansive listing of special events and tours.

1370 S. Coast Hwy.
Mon-Fri, 8:00am to 5:00pm
Sat, 8:00am to 6:00pm
Sun, 9:00am to 5:00pm

Feast on secret family recipes at Mama Gina’s

Mama Gina's Pizza

GINA’S PIZZA is a family-style Italian restaurant that was opened 40 years ago coming in 2015. Still family owned and operated, they have three locations here in Laguna Beach and have become a local favorite for casual dining. The South Laguna Gina’s location, in the HIP District, is the pizza-by-the-slice hot spot for locals and tourists and for the past two years has been voted ‘Best Pizza in Orange County.’ So head over and challenge yourself to finish the mega 38-inch award winning slice.

610 N. Coast Hwy.
Mon – Thu, 11:00am to 9:00pm
Fri – Sat, 11:00am to 9:30pm
Sun, 11:00am to 9:00pm

1100 S. Coast Hwy.
Mon – Thu, 11:00am to 9:00pm
Fri – Sat, 11:00am to 10:00pm
Sun, 11:00am to 9:00pm


About the Author

Anne-Marie Schiefer

Anne-Marie used her degree in Communications to work in the non-profit sector before taking a break to raise her children. If you want to find Anne-Marie, she’ll be at a local restaurant grubbing on salad and French fries. She currently lives in Costa Mesa with her three kids.

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