The ocean, the climate, the upscale hotels and the European vibe all make Santa Monica is a huge destination for tourists. This list of top destinations in Santa Monica (and the neighboring beach cities) covers both the essentials and some less well-known attractions.
Top Santa Monica sites include the Santa Monica Pier
and the Third Street Promenade
. The Pier features a wide spectrum of kid-friendly activities, including an arcade, amusement park rides, and an aquarium
. The Promenade is both a shopping center and pedestrian friendly space featuring street performers; adjacent Santa Monica Place
mall is recently re-opened as an open-air shopping center. Also nearby is Fred Segal
, basically a collection of many small boutique vendors.
The Venice Beach Ocean Front Walk
is a quintessential Southern California experience, giving you some of the flavor of the traditionally counter-culture Venice scene. The Abbot Kinney Boulevard
restaurant and shopping district is another Venice staple, showcasing the newer affluent side of this famous beach community.
More offbeat sites are included on this list as well: the Camera Obscura
and the Lake Shrine
are prime examples of quirky (and free!) destinations in the area. The Eames House
is a famous modern Case Study House that was an important location in the California Design movement; the grounds are open to the public (but be sure to park a little but away from the house itself!).
A little farther inland, Bergamot Station
is a renovated train station that features a host of art galleries and is home to the Santa Monica Art Museum
Great people watching, funky stores, and the beach!... read more
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy
1 mile N. of Sunset Blvd., Malibu
Smaller Getty museum near the ocean that is filled with antiquities... read more
Third Street Promenade & Broadway
Open air pedestrian shopping/hangout area in downtown Santa Monica... read more
1453 3rd Street Promenade
Outdoor mall at one end of the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade... read more
203 Chautauqua Boulevard
2525 Michigan Ave
East of Cloverfield Blvd
1450 Ocean Avenue
Senior Recreation Center
17190 Sunset Boulevard