Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica, California

Things to do - general

Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on three sides by the city of Los Angeles – Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south.

Due in part to an agreeable climate, Santa Monica became a famed resort town by the early 20th century. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core, significant job growth and increased tourism. The Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park remain popular destinations.

Climate

The mild year-round weather is part of what attracts so many visitors to Santa Monica. It’s perched on the wide open Santa Monica Bay, a location that tempers the weather regardless of the season. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, the most inclement weather the city experiences is hail and high wind. The location is classified as a Subtropical Mediterranean climate, exchanging four demarcated seasons for temperate year round weather in a wet and dry season.

What to do

Shopping and eating are the two major attractions of Santa Monica. Block after block of the city is filled with cafes, restaurants and shops. But there are plenty of great activities for visitors who want to shake up their vacation and take a break from sunbathing, shopping and eating.

True to the culture of California, Santa Monica is health-conscious and enthusiastic about wellness. There are several bicycle rental companies so visitors can take advantage of the beachside bike paths, as well as the paths through the many city parks. There are almost as many yoga studios as there are coffee shops. A wide variety of practices for different styles and ability levels offer something for everyone from yoga gurus to beginners. Crossfit studios and gyms are found throughout the districts for travelers who can’t miss a workout. And for a day of pampering there are spas featuring organic and holistic services.

A day the beach doesn’t have to be all sunbathing. There are surf instruction schools, volleyball nets and beach-based fitness and yoga classes. ‘’’The Strand’’’ is the path that connects all Westside beach cities, and Santa Monica visitors can bike, rollerblade or jog a few miles to the south to colorful Venice Beach.

Watching over the beach is the Santa Monica Pier, which is full of activities for families, locals and tourists. This old-fashioned amusement park features a huge solar-powered Ferris Wheel that the city has adopted as its icon. There are several rides and a small roller coasters that are all pay-by-ride so visitors can snag a few thrills without a big ticket commitment. The arcade has over 200 games, plus restaurants, shopping, fishing and even a trapeze school all keep visitors busy on the pier.

There’s a vibrant arts scene in Santa Monica. There are over 75 galleries and museums in Mid-City and several other districts feature everything from local talent to internationally-known artists. For those that can’t bring themselves inside a museum while visiting a beach town, Santa Monica provides plenty of culture plein aire. The city takes civic pride in providing public art around the city, and summers in Santa Monica are filled with special events. Live music, street performances and festivals can be found in every district and are usually free.

  • Aero Theatre. A non-profit operated movie theater in Montana Avenue’s shopping district, the Aero shows arthouse, foreign, classic and archival rerelease movies on four evenings a week. Hollywood A-list directors and stars make regular on-stage appearances.
  • Bergamot Station. A city-owned art gallery compound which includes the Santa Monica Museum of Art. 
  • Chess Park. Chess park lies along the concrete path about 500 feet (150 m) south of the pier, and is frequented by locals who rate no less than class B in standard chess and can promise a fierce game of blitz chess. Watch a game in action, or challenge an aficionado. Be prepared for some keen competition, though.
  • Montana Avenue. A local street with lots of small stores and restaurants. This is where the local rich folks hang out, so you’ll see lots of rich folks shopping, going to Yoga, and walking dogs.
  • Main Street. A local street that attracts the most surfers and bikers. It is just 2 blocks from the ocean, and have many hotspots on the street like Urth Cafe, World Cafe, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf along with cool local restaurants, pubs and just few blocks to Abbot Kinney, Venice.
  • Morgan-Wixson Theatre
  • Santa Monica Pier. A bustling boardwalk whose huge Ferris Wheel is the city’s icon. The long pier has an old-fashioned amusement park, with reasonable by-the-ride pricing, including a small roller coaster. The Pier has restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and some street performers. At almost all hours you’ll find at least a few people fishing as well. The Santa Monica Pier has terrific coastline views of Malibu and the Southbay. The Pier is within easy walking distance to the Promenade. 
  • Santa Monica Beach. A large, wide, beautiful beach on either side of the pier. Perry’s rents bikes and roller blades or bring your own for use on the world famous *strand* that links all of the Westside beach cities. For some of the best people watching in the world, follow the strand south a couple of miles to Venice Beach. Hire a bike or skates and travel along the cycle path (there are a number of shops to hire from around and on the pier). 
  • Third Street Promenade. A very successful Urban mall project: a vibrant, outdoor street full of restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, bookstores, and bars. Those who enjoy street performances will be impressed by the quality of musicians, dancers, and others. The Promenade is located only three blocks from the beach, the Promenade is one of L.A.’s most popular places to “hang out” for people of all ages.
  • Twilight Dance Series, (on the Santa Monica Pier).  The Twilight Dance Series is a free concert series that has been running since 1983. Acts range from rock to reggae to folk and have included artists such as the Indigo Girls, Patti Smith, Los Lobos, Dick Dale and others. There is no organized seating, so arrive early to stake out a spot and bring something soft to sit on since the pier can be hard (note that once concerts start most people end up standing).
  • Daniel Rolnik Gallery (DRG). Daniel Rolnik Gallery was founded by the world’s most adorable art critic as a showroom of America’s greatest young artists.
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Country United States of America
Languages spokenEnglish
Currency usedU$ Dollar
Area (km2)21.80 km2

Unfortunately there are no accommodations at this location at the moment.

Route 66 Fly & Drive!

Route 66 Fly & Drive!

Springfield, Missouri, Springfield, Illinois, Bloomington, Indiana, Santa Monica, California, Grand Canyon, Arizona, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Nevada, Flagstaff, Arizona, Gallup, New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Amarillo, Texas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri, Illinois, Chicago, Illinois
ROUTE 66 with rent-a-car! Duration: 17 Days / 16 Nights Departure: from Madrid / Barcelona / Valenci More info

Unfortunately there are no cruise offers at this location at the moment.

Unfortunately there are no car rental offers at this location at the moment.