Just 20 minutes from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Santa Monica is a quintessentially Southern California beach city that stretches out over eight-and-a-half square miles on the Pacific Coast Highway. While striking the perfect balance of seaside charm and the west coast cool vibe, Santa Monica offers a variety of experiences for all travellers including beach lovers,adventure and thrill seekers, families, honeymooners, culinary enthusiasts and much more.
EAT - Make up for all those calories burned
The award-winning food scene in Santa Monica is as vibrant and diverse as its population. Also, the city’s size means you can find restaurants with varying cuisines, price and ambience in close proximity to each other.
Enjoy Santa Monica’s endless sunshine and sea breeze while dining in the many restaurants that offer some spectacular beach views along Ocean Avenue. Restaurants with patio-seating and entertainment on Third Street Promenade or the multitude of cafés in Main Street offer a range of culinary fare.
The pier has 7 restaurants ranging from fine seafood to classic American cuisine and because of the unique location over the Pacific Ocean, you get the perfect view with the most delectable food laid out for you.Or just head towards the Coast at Shutters on the Beach for a casual and family-friendly dining experience with views of the ocean. The Santa Monica Place serves up an assortment of outdoor dining options on its rooftop Dining Deck overlooking Santa Monica Beach and the Pacific Ocean.Grab a lunch or a leisurely brunch at one of the local favourites like the Huckleberry Café & Bakery, FIG restaurant, Urth Caffe Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery.
Overflowing with colourful produce from California’s rich agricultural land, Santa Monica’s four weekly farmers markets are a literal feast for the senses. Chefs from all over Los Angeles County converge on Wednesday's Market for first pick of the goods.You can also find lots of delicious food prepared with fresh produce – even some dishes made by local restaurants. Bring a bag or basket to carry around, and your trip to the farmers market will be so much easier as you hop from stall-to-stall, exploring everything on display.
DRINK – The Can’t Miss Happy Hours
With everything from dive bars to upscale lounges and live music venues, Santa Monica’s nightlife scene has something for every kind of nightlife-goer.For unparalleled views of the Pacific, a staple in Santa Monica is The Penthouse, located at the top of the upscale Huntley Santa Monica Beach. You can enjoy California cuisine alongside signature craft cocktails in one of their swanky restaurant cabanas all while you soak in the 360-degree views of the city, beach and Pacific Ocean. Regularly voted one of the best West Side happy hours by publications in Los Angeles, The Misfit Restaurant + Bar’s Happy Hour is hard to beat. Running Wednesday through Sunday, you can visit this shindig to enjoy discounts on cocktails, sangria, mimosas, wine, and beer.You can also head to the famous “celebrity dive bar,” Chez Jay, to experience Santa Monica’s nightlife and rub elbows with locals while enjoying a glass of wine or pint of beer from the bar.When it comes to rooftop bars, few do it better than the buzzing Elephante Beach House, which has a vibrant nightlife scene, unique cocktails, custom furniture and unbeatable atmosphere. You could also visit the ONYX, another iconic rooftop bar perched atop the Hotel Shangri-La, is known for its carefully curated menu of small plates and exquisite drinks.
PLAY – Activities Both Kids and Adults Will Love.
If you like being active, then Santa Monica is just the right place for you. On the beach, you can take surfing lessons and rent boards, as well as ride bikes along the South Bay Bike Trail. You can also practice yoga on the beach with the ocean as your soundtrack and the beautiful views as a backdrop.
There’s lots to do in the city for families with kids too. The Cayton Children’s Museum offers discovery-based exhibits, immersive play and discovery-based learning for children and is designed around core universal values, giving children, youth and families a unique space to practice being their best selves.Ever wish you could step right into a piece of art? You can bring your family (and your smartphone) to the 3DAR Trick Art Museum and use an app to bring the interactive art to life for creative videos and selfies. While you’re at the 3rd Street Promenade, be sure to show your kids the topiary dinosaurs.If your little ones like to climb, check out the play structures at the North Beach Playgroundwith separate play areas for kids. Pacific Park, Santa Monica’s amusement park on the Pier also offers rides, attractions, restaurants, and shops for your enjoyment.The Trapeze School of New York (TSNY) offers up a high-flying, fun-filled experience with opportunities for everyone, from the thrill-seeker to fear-facer, athlete to couch-potato, casual flyer to serious aerialist. Classes are two hours long and are taught in groups of up to 10 people. No prior experience is necessary to experience this must-do Santa Monica attraction.
SHOP – Retail therapy does the soul good
Santa Monica has an array of offerings ranging from one-of-a-kind artwork and eco-inspired housewares to iconic skater labels and straight-from-the-runway style; all within a walkable locale that’s around 8.3 square miles.Start downtown at Santa Monica Place that houses world-renowned anchor stores such as Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Tiffany & Co.
But where Santa Monica shopping really shines is at Montana Avenuewith independent boutiques and quaint little shops including Lucy, Splendid, Ruti and Citron that reflect the city’s casually sophisticated style. The Main Street offers chic clothing and design stores, art galleries and a weekly farmers’ market just two blocks from the ocean
The Third Street Promenade is a pedestrian-only, open-air shopping destination which is only two blocks from the city’s beaches and is noted for its weekly farmers market, street performers and people watching along with its variety of stores.
While Wilshire Boulevard is lined with numerous mainstream stores, it’s also home to some independent shops, such as The Acorn Storewhich is a specialty toy shop that sells only wooden toys, giving parents plenty of options when shopping for eco-friendly and non-toxic items for their children. On the southern end of Santa Monica is Pico Boulevard that offers a list of below-the-radar shopping finds and unique art galleries.
STAY–Beautiful settings and incomparable hotel collection
Santa Monica hotels are all within four miles to the ocean, with most adjacent to or in walking distance of the beach. Hotels that are closer to the beach or Santa Monica pier may be more expensive, whereas neighbourhood locations may be more affordable depending on their proximity to the beach.
Some of the luxurious beach front hotels are just a couple blocks south of the Santa Monica Pier, including Hotel Casa del Mar, Shutters on the Beach and the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Just a block off the beach, with great Pacific Ocean views are the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot and Viceroy Santa Monica.
Further from the beach, but still a 10–15-minute walk to the Santa Monica Pier and Beach and Third Street Promenade is the Doubletree Suites by Hilton Hotel Santa Monica. If you want to get more of a local experience, the Main Street and Ocean Park area, located just a few blocks from the beach, has a local, artsy feel to it. And as you head inland, you will find budget accommodations including SureStay Hotel by Best Western Santa Monica, Ocean Park Inn as well as more basic hotel options, including Holiday Motel, Palm Motel, Santa Monica Motel and Rest Haven Motel.