A small-town vibe around every corner

An electric boat cruises on the lake in Westlake Village.
(Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times)

A master-planned community centered on a man-made lake, Conejo Valley’s Westlake Village backs up to the scrub-topped hills of the Santa Monica Mountains. Family friendly to the max, main thoroughfares here are broad avenues with roomy bike lanes where the sporty life is found around every curve.

Electric cruising

Electric-powered pontoon boats with colorful canopies leisurely crisscross Westlake Lake, with occasional sailboat regattas sponsored by the Westlake Yacht Club; most homes on the eight miles of shoreline have docks.


Watch as residents motor up on weekends to the Landing’s public dock for brunch at popular waterside eateries Zin Bistro (32131 Lindero Canyon Road, [818] 865-0095, and Boccaccio’s Restaurant (32123 Lindero Canyon Road, [818] 889-8300). Although it’s frowned upon, feeding the lake’s sociable ducks is a popular activity.

Links for all levels

The nearby Sherwood Country Club opens its private gates Nov. 30 to Dec. 6 for the Tiger Woods Foundation/Chevron World Challenge Tournament. Duffers can play the public links at the 18-hole Westlake Village Golf Course (4812 Lakeview Canyon Road, [818] 889-0770). Rates at the 5,200-yard course, which is mostly flat with lots of trees, are reasonable with twilight (after 2 p.m.) and super-twilight (after 5 p.m.) deals.


Within the Four Seasons Westlake Village (2 Dole Drive, [818] 575-3000,, the resort-style and -sized spa is a hit with locals for its many amenities, including rain showers, steam rooms and an outdoor, adults-only spa pool that looks out to a brilliant red Chinese pagoda. Body-bending Thai massage and facials with soothing organic products are among the many treatments available.


Look for the crowds on weekends outside Brent’s Deli (2799 Townsgate Road, [805] 557-1882, Tucked into a low-rise office park, classic deli fare includes dozens of sandwich choices, such as the Reuben ($13.95), burgers and eight kinds of homemade soup. Take home a loaf of the spongy, fresh challah bread.

Culinary ed

Sharpen your knife skills at Let’s Get Cookin’ (4643 Lakeview Canyon Road, [818] 991-3940,, a 25-year-old neighborhood institution and foodie fave that offers hands-on cooking instruction as well as party classes with themes like “Parking Lot Paella” and “Sushi, Sashimi and Sake.” Many important chefs, including Julia Child and Jacques Pépin, have guest-taught here.

TGIF at the Civic Center

On select Friday nights during the summer (upcoming is July 24), free music and a happening block party take over the Civic Center’s courtyard (31200 Oak Crest Drive). Bring a picnic or purchase dinner and snacks offered by the elementary school, and enjoy the small-town atmosphere.