15 Best & Fun Things To Do In Santa Monica 2022
Santa Monica is a coastal city west of downtown Los Angeles. Santa Monica Beach is fringed by Palisades Park, with views over the Pacific Ocean. Santa Monica Pier is home to the Pacific Park amusement park, historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Next to the pier is Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym established in the 1930s. In the city center, Bergamot Station houses several art galleries.
- Elevation: 105′
- Area: 8.416 mi²
- Weather: 55°F (13°C), Wind N at 1 mph (2 km/h), 84% Humidity weather.com
- Population: 91,577 (2019)
- Mayor: Sue Himmelrich
- Local time: Friday 2:27 AM
- Area code: Area codes 310 and 424
Since the early 20th century, Santa Monica has been a popular seaside resort, and it’s easy to see why. In addition to its beautiful beach and bustling pier, the city is famous for its warm weather, laid-back atmosphere, and thriving alternative scene.
While most people visit for its sun, sea, and sand, other things to do in Santa Monica include fine dining and shopping, as well as exploring its excellent museums and farmers markets. Aside from this, it also boasts many fantastic water sports and outdoor activities and art galleries, an aquarium, and an amusement park.
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As it is surrounded on three sides by Los Angeles, SaMo is an ideal base to see its tourist attractions or relax and escape the hustle and bustle.
1. Annenberg Community Beach House
Alongside the city’s golden sands is the Annenberg Community Beach House, which offers all kinds of fun activities. Located just north of downtown and the pier, the fantastic facility has everything from playgrounds and a pool to volleyball and tennis courts.
Built-in 1929 for actress Marion Davies, it was in this massive mansion that she hosted Hollywood’s elite during California’s Gold Coast era. While much of the house has been demolished, the historic pool, large guest house, and beautiful grounds that remain are reminiscent of the roaring twenties.
Today, the public beach facilities are a lovely place to kick back and relax, indulge in some activities, or enjoy the appealing aesthetics and atmosphere.
2. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
The sprawling Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is just a short drive northwest of downtown. Made up of more than twenty different parks, it contains everything from beaches and mountains to canyons, valleys, and forests.
Since it was established in 1978, the protected area has grown considerably and is now the most significant urban national park globally. While some parks face the Pacific and include sheltered coves and beaches, others are nestled amid towering mountains or tucked away in vast valleys.
Due to its scenic splendor, the National Recreation Area is very popular with locals and tourists alike and offers excellent hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. In addition, there are great archaeological and historical sites to visit and fantastic wildlife viewing.
3. Museum of Flight
Offering a fascinating look at aviation history, the excellent Museum of Flight is located right next to the Santa Monica Airport. In addition to aviation artifacts, exhibits, and art, it also has dozens of vintage airplanes and gleaming jet engines to peruse.
Founded in 1974, the museum focuses primarily on developing the aviation and aerospace industries in Southern California. Its huge exhibition spaces are filled with informative exhibits on companies like Boeing, Lockheed, and Hughes Aircraft, among others.
As you learn about the history of flight, you’ll come across exciting photos and short movie clips, the highlight being its replica of a Wright Flyer. Additionally, visitors can try out its interactive flight simulator or view educational films and documentaries in the theater.
4. Montana Avenue
Lined with more than 150 unique boutiques and sparkling restaurants, Montana Avenue is one of the most popular places to shop, dine and go out in the city. Stretching from Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica to the Brentwood district of Los Angeles, the beautiful tree-lined street does have a lot to see and do.
While most of the long road is home to huge residences, countless bustling businesses can be found between the 7th and 17th streets in Santa Monica. Here you will find everything from cozy cafes and unique restaurants to tiny art galleries, luxury boutiques, and relaxing spas.
Due to its lively atmosphere, delicious restaurants, and extensive outdoor shops and cafes.
5. Santa Monica Farmers Market
It doesn’t get much better than the splendid Santa Monica Farmers Market if you’re looking for fresh produce and street food. Held year-round on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, it’s fun to explore the sprawling market with its myriad vendors selling everything under the sun.
Since 1979, locals and tourists, chefs and celebrities have flocked to the market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables or locally produced cheeses, condiments, and baked goods and dotted with little coffee stalls and stalls selling savory-sweet snacks to try.
Due to its popularity, the market now takes place in various locations around the city, with Main Street and Arizona Avenue being the biggest and best. With live music often on offer and fresh food to sample or purchase, the vibrant Santa Monica Farmers Market is not to be missed.
6. Santa Monica Place
Another of the city’s top places to shop till you drop is the enormous open-air mall on Santa Monica Place. Located right in the center of town, just a short walk from the pier, it has over ninety shops and restaurants spread over three floors, with a cinema also on offer.
Opened in 1980 before being redesigned and reopened in 2010, the mall is primarily home to big-name brands and exclusive stores, including Burberry, Louis Vuitton, and Emporio Armani. In addition to high-end fashion boutiques, you can find stores that sell accessories, beauty products, and jewelry.
On its third floor are countless great restaurants and eateries, including The Dudes’ Brewing Company and The Cheesecake Factory, with fantastic views on offer from its dining terrace.
7. Palisades Park
Along much of Santa Monica State Beach and Ocean Avenue in Palisades Park, a trendy place to relax and unwind or enjoy some outdoor activities, located right next to many of the city’s main attractions, it boasts sublime landscaping offers beautiful views over the Pacific.
At over a mile and a half in length, the pretty park is dotted with towering palm and pine trees, with paved trails intertwining. Amidst its green spaces, you can find park benches, picnic areas, and petanque courts, as well as public works of art and a rose garden.
Additionally, some interesting historical sites, such as a Civil War cannon and a Native American totem pole, can be found within its boundaries. At the same time, the sunsets from the clifftop park are spectacular.
8. Pacific Park
Pacific Park is just one of the many unique attractions on the Santa Monica Pier and a fun, family-friendly place to visit. The former waterfront amusement park is home to thrilling rides, and thrill rides with a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and arcade also on offer.
Since 1909, Pacific Park has delighted countless generations with its enticing array of rides, restaurants, and attractions. In addition to taking a thrilling ride on its roller coaster or a hair-raising plunge at Pacific Plunge, there are also classic carnival games like Whac-A-Mole, ring toss, and bumper cars to enjoy.
In addition to its charming atmosphere and charming old-fashioned style, Pacific Park has food stalls and gift shops with beautiful views of the ocean and beach wherever you look.
9. Bike lane
The iconic Santa Monica Bike Trail takes you through some simply mesmerizing coastal scenery, affectionately known as’ The Strand’ by locals. Stretching 20 miles in length, the paved bike path gently curves along the Santa Monica Bay shoreline with phenomenal views over the Pacific the entire way.
Founded in 1989, the coastal path now stretches from Will Rogers State Beach north of the city to Torrance County Beach in the south. As you leisurely pedal along the trail, you’ll pass landmarks such as the Santa Monica Pier and Marina Del Rey, as well as numerous natural sites, beaches, restaurants, and attractions.
The bike path also connects Santa Monica to several waterfront communities, such as Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach.
10. Third Street Promenade
Winding its way through the heart of downtown Santa Monica is Third Street Promenade, one of the most popular places to shop, dine and drink in the city. Mainly known for its vibrant street life, it has countless shops and restaurants to browse and dine in.
Stretching across three blocks, there are countless one-of-a-kind boutiques and name-brand stores with great restaurants, alfresco cafes, and tempting eateries. Also, the pedestrian walkway hosts a fantastic farmers’ market. And it has a handful of theaters and places to go out at night.
Thanks to its many public works of art, fountains, and trees, the street has a charming appearance, while street artists and performers give it a lively atmosphere.
11. Santa Monica Beach
For sun, sea, and sand, there is nothing better than the beautiful beach of Santa Monica, which borders the bay’s sparkling waters. At over 3 miles long, it offers water sports, beach activities, playgrounds, picnic areas, and of course, the pier for you to enjoy.
Attracting locals and tourists alike, the wide beach is famous for its soft sands, sunny weather, and many attractions. In addition to sunbathing, swimming, and surfing, you can also play volleyball on its courts or ride a bike along its bike path.
In addition, the beach is also adjacent to a multitude of brilliant restaurants and cafes, with the enticing rides of the piers and the passages of Pacific Park just a stone’s throw away.
12. Santa Monica Pier
No visit to Santa Monica is complete without strolling along its bustling pier. The iconic pier juts out into the bay and features countless attractions and restaurants, as well as an amusement park, arcade, aquarium, and much more.
While Santa Monica has had many piers throughout its history, the current one dates back to 1909 with retro-style rides and a classic vintage carousel along with newer additions and modern conveniences. In addition to visiting all of its little shops and cafes, the pier is a great place to fish, gaze out over the city and ocean, or catch a memorable sunset.
Having been featured in numerous movies, TV shows, and even video games, the Santa Monica Pier and all of its unique attractions should be at the top of your list when you’re in town.
How do I spend a day in Santa Monica? Things to Do and See in Santa Monica if You’re Car Free
- Pacific Park and the Santa Monica Pier.
- Third Street Promenade.
- Bergamot Station.
- McCabe’s Guitar Shop.
- Camera Obscura at the Santa Monica Art Lab.
- Tongva Park.
- Downtown Santa Monica Farmers Market.
- Santa Monica History Museum.
What can you do in Santa Monica right now? Top Attractions in Santa Monica
- Santa Monica State Beach. 6,712. State Parks • Beaches. …
- 26-Mile Bike Path. 1,469. Biking Trails • Scenic Walking Areas. …
- Third Street Promenade. 6,103. Shopping Malls. …
- Santa Monicaa Pier. 18,985. …
- Santa Monicaa Bay. 5,343. …
- Pacific Park. 1,032. …
- Palisades Park. 562. …
- Santa Monicaa Mountains. 285.
What is Santa Monicaa most known for?
The blend of Santa Monicaa’s natural beauty, award winning dining, incomparable hotel collection and famed shopping options, all on one of California’s most iconic stretches of shoreline, creates a truly unforgettable seaside destination.
What the locals do in Santa Monicaa?
Santa Monicaa Pier – This is the main attraction in the city and a must-visit for locals and tourists alike. The pier is home to Pacific Park, a mini amusement park with roller coaster and a ferris wheel overlooking the ocean. … Santa Monicaa Stairs – Get your workout on at these famous steps.
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