Malibu’s Public Spaces


Malibu conjures all the cliches of LA. We took a mid-week visit off season to remind ourselves how Malibu became Malibu. In other words, why do those who can afford to live here choose to live here, despite the fires and flooding and traffic? The answer is simple: when the land meets the sea, remarkable things happen.

There are three rather impressive parks within a stone’s throw of Malibu Country Mart and The Malibu Lumberyard, which is increasingly what folks think of when they think of Malibu – the swanky shopping and dining scene.  We recommend you focus on the natural beauty of the area, but also stop for a snack, or even a little shopping, because it’s all part of the Malibu scene.


Malibu Bluffs Park – Atop the hill, just beyond the Malibu Colony, sits what is probably the most lovely town parks ever. Right beyond the fields is a world class view of the Pacific, celebrated here with a whale’s tail park bench. malibubluffsoccergoalHere’s where the locals play recreational sports at what has to be the most picturesque baseball and soccer fields you’ll ever see.  At least, it’s not a chore to watch AYSO or a Little League game with these views.malibubluffsplayThe park boasts lovely play spots for little ones and acres of easy hiking terrain below for the adventurous. As in, little boys who like to run and dart about and parents whose walking is a bit slower and more contemplative.  ( Click here for the Park Site: 24250 Pacific Coast Hwy Malibu, CA 90265)

malibulagoonsignMalibu Lagoon — Six months ago, the Malibu Lagoon reopened and is now a wide-open space of prime real-estate that perhaps is not quite as beautiful (yet) as it intends to be. But it is worth exploring.malibulagoonegretWhen we visited, hundreds of small flags waved in the wind to indicate newly planted beds.  Lovely Egrets legged through the marshy flats, but the algae on top of the water was so thick as to remind us of carpeting. malibulagoonoverviewThe architecture of the space is very appealing; in fact, this pathway gets submerged during high water, which is meant to teach visitor about tidal flow. Here’s a recent article about the algae. And here’s the LATimes review of the refurbishment that outlines the controversy. We’ll have to revisit when all the plants have populated the area, which may take as long as two years.malibulagoonbeachDespite the controversy, a stroll through the area lands you on Surfrider Beach, which isn’t all bad. Surfers enjoy this famous break at all times of the year, and off-season offers unobstructed and beautiful views, which is why Malibu remains as desirable as ever.

legacysurferLegacy Park – You can access this lovely new park from the Malibu Country Mart shopping plaza, or off of Civic Center Way (near the Court House). It’s a wide-open space where the efforts to replant native grasses is more successful than in the wetlands across the street. legacyowlIn fact, wandering around the circular pathway we couldn’t even hear the bustle of PCH over the man-made bluff. With large-scale, quirky mosaic statues of owls and snakes and other local denizens, kids will love to romp along the path. legacysnake And, the signage is geared towards a bit of nature education.

legacyboyThe area, which was saved from development by locals, is an outdoor learning center and lovely spot to explore when you’re through with lunch and people watching at Malibu’s swanky shopping centers.  (Click here for the Park Site: 23500 Civic Center Way Malibu, CA 90265)

Lunch Spots:

John’s Garden for excellent sandwiches – take out and eat in the sunshine.

Tra Di Noi is a casual, delicious Italian sit-down restaurant

Cafe Habana is a rockin Pan-latin joint in the adjacent (but separately named) mall, the Malibu Lumberyard.