When in Southern California, where should one go to eat, shop, stay and play? Global jetsetter Shawna Yap tells us all we need to know about the region where stars come from.

(Shawna Yap at Marche Modern restaurant, South Coast Plaza)

Always on the go, travelling to wondrous cities around the world, Shawna Yap is a stylish globetrotter who is no stranger to Southern California, affectionately called 'SoCal', where her family resides.

When visiting the land of movie stars and celebrities, there are plenty to shop, eat and play. So, who better to tell us the best California has to offer than Shawna herself. She is after all a global jetsetter and SoCal regular.

Read on to find the best haunts of Southern California, which include street fairs in Santa Monica Beach and scrumptious lobster salad at Marche Modern.



(Shawna Yap with her family in California)

The last time we visited California was the end of last year. I was there to celebrate Christmas and New Year with my family, who lives in Irvine, California. We’re always there during this period.

Personally, the best time to visit California is December. The weather is perfect and you can feel the Christmas in the air. I just love it!

To best experience local Californian culture, Melrose is a must. It is not your regular tourist spot but you get to experience the cool local LA vibe. Santa Monica Beach is also good on weekends for the local street fairs, live music performances and great street food.

If you love arts and culture, Getty Center is one of the nicest museum in the world that you must to visit. Here, you can find famous paintings by Van Gogh and Rembrandt, along with beautiful sculptures and amazing photography works.

For shopping, head to Fashion Island in Long Beach. It is a fabulous outdoor mall by the beach and I love visiting the Neiman Marcus store there.

(Yap Teak Sing; Academy Awards nominee, Djimon Hounsou and Shawna Yap at Four Seasons)

To stay, Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills is perfect. It is an amazing hotel and very easy to get around to almost everything in the city. We often have lunch there with our friends.

For first timers, always remember to pay a visit to Rodeo Drive. They have everything fabulous concentrated in one place. From food to shopping, there's everything for everyone.

If you're lucky enough, you might even spot a few Hollywood celebrities walking around on Rodeo Drive. I’ve bumped into Kim Kardashion, Demi Moore and Sharon Stone before.

To satisfy your Asian food cravings, PF Chang's China Bistro is a great to stop by for Chinese fusion cuisine. Remember to try the delicious chicken lettuce wrap.

Other restaurants you should visit include Il Fornaio in Rodeo Drive and Marche Modern in South Coast Plaza. The first is great for pizzas and roast chicken, while the latter has the best lobster salad and fabulous bone marrow. 


(Photos courtesy of Shawna Yap and Instagram @shawnacoolcat)

We recommend: