Santa Monica is a sunny paradise in California. It’s like an eternal summer, which you can enjoy if you visit this beautiful place, located only about 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Every year, the seaside town is well visited by tourists because it is a symbol of the coastal attraction of Southern California: long beaches, flowing waves, pedestrian-friendly streets, filled not only with day but also with night activity.
The best places in Santa Monica that are worth visiting include a coastal bluff overlooking the highway, the Pacific Coast, Santa Monica State Beach, Palisades Park consisting of 26 acres with stunning ocean views, endless rows of flowers, palm trees and benches, places for a picnic, and alleys for a pleasant walk. But not only the surroundings, but also the center of Santa Monica also offers attractions and reasons to visit, among which are the weekly farmers’ markets and the many shopping opportunities, as well as neat places to eat. To make the most of your sunny Santa Monica, check out the top 12 places to visit:
Santa Monica State Beach
Of course, it starts from the top of the cannon – the most famous beach, which is located 15 miles from Hollywood. It covers over 3.5 miles and attracts millions of beachgoers each year, thirsting for sun and water, to building sand castles, surfing, and all the things they can do on Santa Monica’s state beach. Our sightseeing activities cover the entire beach on both sides of the pier. There are fun places to visit in the south, including the International Chess Park, the Carousel Park, the original Muscle Beach, which includes a wide range of fitness equipment. To the north of the pier, you will find facilities such as the Annenberg Community Beach House, which offers all kinds of beach amenities, including volleyball courts, beach seats, and even a swimming pool. For cycling enthusiasts, it is also thought out. The Marvin Braude Bike Trail is 22 miles long and covers the entire beach. There is also a footpath, separate places for running and rollerblading.
3rd Street Promenade
Here is the center of Santa Monica. The 3rd street alley is characterized by heavy pedestrian traffic. There is a reason for this – this lively footpath is dotted with shops, restaurants, and skilled street musicians in each block. Your walk through the 3rd street alley is always lit by the sun during the day, and at night the area continues to shine with playful decorative lighting. At the southern end of the Promenade, you will find more opportunities for shopping and dining – the place is Santa Monica Place, a large outdoor shopping center. Now there is the Cayton Children’s Museum, which offers plenty of opportunities for play and learning.
Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is a classic landmark of the city and definitely one of its attractions. It is surrounded on both sides by the state beach of Santa Monica and is very convenient for families and dogs. There’s plenty to do and see – Pacific Park with its famous Ferris wheel, roller-coaster ride on the pier, or the historic carousel and Playland Arcade, as well as other attractions, including bike rental, beach shops, and souvenirs, the aquarium from the Santa Monica pier, hidden under the building with a carousel. Even just walking along the pier is enough to enjoy the view and the music from the musicians playing on the promenade.
Palisades Park is a 26-acre coastal-bluff park on Ocean Avenue, overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica State Beach. It is a remarkable place to visit, providing you with a well-maintained space with panoramic ocean views. The cement path you will walk on is decorated with palm trees, rose bushes, and plenty of seating. There are also footbridges that cross the highway and give you access to the ocean. Palisades Park is also home to renowned amenities such as an obscura camera, petanque platforms, and public art installations. The walk here is definitely worth it.
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
For some people, the best place in Santa Monica is where the mountains meet the sea. Here you can climb a mountain and surf several waves on the same day. Going north almost to Oxnard, the Pacific Highway narrows the coastal mountains, passing through other famous destinations, such as Malibu. The Santa Monica National Recreation Area is an excellent contender for a top-rated day trip.
Annenberg Community Beach House
This landmark of Santa Monica is located north of the pier. Its history dates back to the 1920s when this now public beach facility was a private mansion owned by actress Marion Davis. California currently operates this oceanfront cultural center, which offers beach playgrounds, playgrounds, a splash mat, a seasonal pool, and Marion Davies guest house with free tours and revolving art exhibits inside.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Among the things to do in Santa Monica, don’t miss at least one of the four farmers’ markets each week. This valuable urban tradition dates back to 1979 and, along with seasonal local produce, you can enjoy special events at farmers’ markets such as live cooking demonstrations, hot on-site offerings, and music by street musicians.
Venice Beach is a place that offers its scent of a coastal attraction. This beach is defined as more bohemian in spirit, probably because of the art found on the streets and the overall style presented by the local community. If you like art, you will like it here and you will feel at home. Venice Beach’s boardwalk has a scenic appeal, but that’s not all. Take a walk along the Ocean Front Walk to fully experience the taste of the aroma and the charm of the atmosphere. This is different from other seaside towns.
How about an irresistible combination of a city park with lots of radishes, sculptures, and the smell of the ocean? Tongva Park is the perfect place to relax on an afternoon picnic because it is not as crowded as on the beach. Next to the park is the newly created Ken Genser Square, where you can sit to enjoy the natural decoration with a fountain and a bubbling stream.
Santa Monica Stairs
These stairs are emblematic of Santa Monica because it is one of the best attractions, accepted as a kind of pleasant fitness. Ascending and descending the more than 300 steps, consisting of wood and concrete, you will feel a slight burning sensation on the thighs, just like in training, but not in a dusty gym, but outdoors, where it is undoubtedly far more pleasant. The Santa Monica Stairs are located in a quiet residential area less than a mile from the ocean. Climb the stairs without giving up in the middle – this is the goal of all who come here.
Montana Avenue is a popular street for dining and shopping and is considered one of the best places to visit in Santa Monica. There are over 150 restaurants and shop windows located on the sidewalks, which offer plenty of shopping, outdoor cafes, restaurants, and snack bars. Most of the boutiques and fashion stores on Montana Avenue are not located anywhere else in California except here. There’s more to do – visit the Aero Theatre or a renovated 1930s movie theater that showcases classic Hollywood movies.
This place is remarkable for the northern part of Santa Monica, far from the ocean. Between 1875 and 1953 it was a railway station, but in 1994 the city bought it. The Bergamot Station Art Complex is open to the public at all times, offering a number of galleries and workshops. Rotational exhibitions of artists from all over the world are regularly presented here, with free admission and parking available.
Santa Monica in California is a destination where you can get the most complete idea of summer on the ocean. Its very name attracts and intrigues, and a real visit to this city will give you a relaxing holiday for all your senses.