Huntington Beach, with its 10 miles of sandy coastline, wetlands and mellow beach town vibe, steals the hearts of visitors almost instantly. One particular group who especially revel in the natural beauty of HB are those constantly searching for it—artists. Take local artist Mackenzie Matthews, a Colorado native who has called HB home for two years. Her stunning oil on canvas water scenes have graced the HB Downtown Art Walk numerous times, reminding residents why they are so lucky to live along the great Pacific seaboard.
Balancing her marketing director work life, creative moments with her brushes and easel and home life with her husband and black golden retriever, Finley, Matthews somehow finds time to explore HB's many indoor and outdoor offerings—when she's not inhaling whiffs of the salty sea air from her patio, of course.
Here are her five favorite spots around town, in no particular order.
Bolsa Chica Wetlands
I discover new parts of the wetlands every time I go. It has been a biweekly, sometimes daily, place my dog and I visit. With winding trails, ocean views and a unique collection of wildlife, it's worth a visit. For me, it's the place I go with my dog, for a run or an epic place to watch the sunset. Sometimes all three!
Bolsa Chica Conservancy // 3842 Warner Avenue, Huntington Beach, CA 92649
The Sugar Shack Cafe
An easy walk up from the Huntington Beach Pier on Main Street, The Sugar Shack is our go-to breakfast spot. It's quick, affordable and feels quintessentially HB. We ALWAYS sit on the back patio. Get yourself a coffee, and do yourself a favor by trying the Keppler's. Scrambled eggs on an English muffin with avocado, tomato, bacon and hollandaise with hash browns. Yes please. It's always packed, but the service is good and fast. You won't be waiting long!
The Sugar Shack Cafe // 213 1/2 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Huntington Dog Beach
This is my dog's favorite place in the whole world. It's the perfect spot to take your dog and let him swim in the ocean. With several places to park, you can walk alongside the ocean or just sit and relax. We throw the ball and let our dog tire himself out in the ocean. It's the best during the week!
Huntington Dog Beach // 100 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
A Slice of New York Pizza
Right in the hidden Huntington Harbour Mall is this gem of a pizza place. It's awesome New York pizza! White pizza is my fave. They have an awesome lunch and dinner special where you can choose pizza by the slice. They also have TVs everywhere, which is great for sports fans.
A Slice of New York Pizza // 16821 Algonquin Street, #101, Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Settled into the Shorebreak Hotel, Zimzala is our go-to dinner date night spot. The atmosphere is absolutely awesome. Sit on the patio with the lights and heat lamps, and the servers will even bring you a blanket if you feel cold. Dogs are welcome to sit and enjoy the patio dining with you as well. Our favorite menu items include the (fancy) grilled cheese, soft house made pretzels, mac n' cheese and the wild mushroom risotto. I can't get away from the mushroom risotto. It has a hold over me.
Zimzala // 500 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, CA 92648