California, United States

Anchoring the Westside of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica is a beachfront city popular with tourists for its expansive beach and its famous pier, which are among the most popular coastal attractions in Southern California. Within the city itself, visitors will find a number of urban shopping districts and plenty of restaurants and nightlife.

Info Santa Monica


Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. The city is named after the Christian saint, Monica. 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,Sawtelle on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south. The Census Bureau population for Santa Monica in 2010 was 89,736.

Partly because of its agreeable climate, Santa Monica had become 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 remains a popular and iconic destination.

POPULATION : • Total 89,736
• Estimate (2013) 92,472
FOUNDED :  Spanish encampment August 3, 1769
Incorporated November 30, 1886
TIME ZONE : • Time zone Pacific (UTC-8)
• Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
LANGUAGE :  English
AREA : • Total 8.416 sq mi (21.80 km2)
• Land 8.415 sq mi (21.79 km2)
• Water 0.001 sq mi (0.003 km2)
ELEVATION :  105 ft (32 m)
COORDINATES :  34°01′19″N 118°28′53″W
AREA CODE :  310/424
POSTAL CODE :  90401–90411
DIALING CODE :  +1 310


Anchoring the Westside of Los Angeles County, Santa Monica is a beachfront city popular with tourists for its expansive beach and its famous pier, which are among the most popular coastal attractions in Southern California. Within the city itself, visitors will find a number of urban shopping districts and plenty of restaurants and nightlife.


Santa Monica was originally developed as a seaside retreat at the turn of the 20th century. The railroad owners built the first version of the amusement park on Santa Monica pier as an attraction to fill empty train seats on weekends. Santa Monica grew into an urban, eclectic, and prosperous beach city whose real estate values are amongst the most pricey in the world. Santa Monica is a very desirable city whose people are drawn to its accessibility and its progressiveness as a community. Today, Santa Monica is a mixture of very affluent, single-family neighborhoods, renters drawn by the high quality of life, lifelong surfers, young professionals and students.

Tourists visiting the Los Angeles region will find Santa Monica one of the best situated locations to base their trip. There are plenty of hotel, restaurant and entertainment options, as well as close accessibility to major sights like Venice Beach, Malibu and Beverly Hills. Visitors can also take advantage of the beach cities' moderate climate; during the summer and fall, as the mercury soars to 100 in the San Fernando Valley and 90 downtown, Santa Monica usually remains at a very comfortable 75 degrees.

Attractions and cultural resources

The Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome (carousel) is a National Historic Landmark. It sits on the Santa Monica Pier, which was built in 1909. The La Monica Ballroom on the pier was once the largest ballroom in the US and the source for many New Year's Eve national network broadcasts. The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was an important music venue for several decades and hosted the Academy Awards in the 1960s. McCabe's Guitar Shop is still a leading acoustic performance space as well as retail outlet. Bergamot Station is a city-owned art gallery compound that includes the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The city is also home to the California Heritage Museum and the Angels Attic dollhouse and toy museum.

Santa Monica has three main shopping districts, Montana Avenue on the north side of the city, the Downtown District in the city's core, and Main Street on the south end of the city. Each of these districts has its own unique feel and personality. Montana Avenue is a stretch of luxury boutique stores, restaurants, and small offices that generally features more upscale shopping. The Main Street district offers an eclectic mix of clothing, restaurants, and other specialty retail.

The Downtown District is the home of the Third Street Promenade, a major outdoor pedestrian-only shopping district that stretches for three blocks between Wilshire Blvd. and Broadway (not the same Broadway in downtown and south Los Angeles). Third Street is closed to vehicles for those three blocks to allow people to stroll, congregate, shop and enjoy street performers. Santa Monica Place, featuring Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom in a three-level outdoor environment, is located at the south end of the Promenade. After a period of redevelopment, the mall reopened in the fall of 2010 as a modern shopping, entertainment and dining complex with more outdoor space.

Santa Monica hosts the annual Santa Monica Film Festival.

The oldest movie theater in the city is the Majestic. Also known as the Mayfair Theatre, the theater which opened in 1912 has been closed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Aero Theater (now operated by the American Cinematheque) and Criterion Theater were built in the 1930s and still show movies. The Santa Monica Promenade alone supports more than a dozen movie screens.

Palisades Park stretches out along the crumbling bluffs overlooking the Pacific and is a favorite walking area to view the ocean. It includes a totem pole, camera obscura, artwork, benches, picnic areas, pétanque courts, and restrooms.

Tongva Park occupies 6 acres between Ocean Avenue and Main Street, just south of Colorado Avenue. The park includes an overlook, amphitheater, playground, garden, fountains, picnic areas, and restrooms.

The Santa Monica Stairs, a long, steep staircase that leads from north of San Vicente down into Santa Monica Canyon, is a popular spot for all-natural outdoor workouts. Some area residents have complained that the stairs have become too popular, and attract too many exercisers to the wealthy neighborhood of multimillion-dollar properties.

Natives and tourists alike have enjoyed the Santa Monica Rugby Club since 1972. The club has been very successful since its conception, most recently winning back-to-back national championships in 2005 and 2006. Santa Monica defeated the Boston Irish Wolfhounds 57-19 in the Division 1 final, convincingly claiming its second consecutive American title on June 4, 2006, in San Diego. They offer Men's, Women's and a thriving children's programs. The club recently joined the Rugby Super League.

Every fall the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hosts The Taste of Santa Monica on the Santa Monica Pier. Visitors can sample food and drinks from Santa Monica restaurants. Other annual events include the Business and Consumer Expo, Sustainable Quality Awards, Santa Monica Cares Health and Wellness Festival, and the State of the City. The swanky Shutters on the Beach Hotel offers a trip to the famous Santa Monica Farmers Market to select and influence the materials that will become that evening's special "Market Dinner."

Santa Monica is a mecca for skateboarding culture.

Santa Monica has two hospitals: Saint John's Health Center and Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. Its cemetery is Woodlawn Memorial.

Santa Monica has several newspapers and magazines, including the Santa Monica Star, Santa Monica Daily Press, the Santa Monica Mirror, the Santa Monica Observer, Santa Monica Magazine, and the Santa Monica Sun.

Visitor Information Centers

Santa Monica has three Visitor Information Centers that feature experienced Travel Counselors, foreign language line, tickets to area attractions and free visitor information on attractions, hotels, dining, museums, galleries and entertainment.


Santa Monica was long inhabited by the Tongva people. Santa Monica was called Kecheek in the Tongva language. The first non-indigenous group to set foot in the area was the party of explorer Gaspar de Portolà, who camped near the present day intersection of Barrington and Ohio Avenues on August 3, 1769. There are two different versions of the naming of the city. One says that it was named in honor of the feast day of Saint Monica (mother of Saint Augustine), but her feast day is actually May 4. Another version says that it was named by Juan Crespí on account of a pair of springs, the Kuruvungna Springs (Serra Springs), that were reminiscent of the tears that Saint Monica shed over her son's early impiety.

In Los Angeles, several battles were fought by the Californios. Following the Mexican–American War, Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which gave Mexicans and Californios living in state certain unalienable rights. US government sovereignty in California began on February 2, 1848.

In the 1870s the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad, connected Santa Monica with Los Angeles, and a wharf out into the bay. The first town hall was a modest 1873 brick building, later a beer hall, and now part of the Santa Monica Hostel. It is Santa Monica's oldest extant structure. By 1885, the town's first hotel, was the Santa Monica Hotel.

Amusement piers became enormously popular in the first decades of the 20th century and the extensive Pacific Electric Railroad brought people to the city's beaches from across the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Around the start of the 20th century, a growing population of Asian Americans lived in or near Santa Monica and Venice. A Japanese fishing village was located near the Long Wharf while small numbers of Chinese lived or worked in both Santa Monica and Venice. The two ethnic minorities were often viewed differently by White Americans who were often well-disposed towards the Japanese but condescending towards the Chinese. The Japanese village fishermen were an integral economic part of the Santa Monica Bay community.

Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. built a plant in 1922 at Clover Field (Santa Monica Airport) for the Douglas Aircraft Company. In 1924, four Douglas-built planes took off from Clover Field to attempt the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. Two planes made it back, after having covered 27,553 miles (44,342 km) in 175 days, and were greeted on their return September 23, 1924, by a crowd of 200,000 (generously estimated). The Douglas Company (later McDonnell Douglas) kept facilities in the city until the 1960s.

The Great Depression hit Santa Monica deeply. One report gives citywide employment in 1933 of just 1,000. Hotels and office building owners went bankrupt. In the 1930s, corruption infected Santa Monica (along with neighboring Los Angeles).The federal Works Project Administration helped build several buildings in the city, most notably City Hall. The main Post Office and Barnum Hall (Santa Monica High School auditorium) were also among several other WPA projects.

Douglas's business grew astronomically with the onset of World War II, employing as many as 44,000 people in 1943. To defend against air attack set designers from the Warner Brothers Studios prepared elaborate camouflage that disguised the factory and airfield. The RAND Corporation began as a project of the Douglas Company in 1945, and spun off into an independent think tank on May 14, 1948. RAND eventually acquired a 15-acre (61,000 m²) campus centrally located between the Civic Center and the pier entrance.

The completion of the Santa Monica Freeway in 1966 brought the promise of new prosperity, though at the cost of decimating the Pico neighborhood that had been a leading African American enclave on the Westside.

Beach volleyball is believed to have been developed by Duke Kahanamoku in Santa Monica during the 1920s.


Classified as a Subtropical Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csb), Santa Monica enjoys an average of 310 days of sunshine a year. It is located in USDA plant hardiness zone 10b. Because of its location, nestled on the vast and open Santa Monica Bay, morning fog is a common phenomenon in May, June and early July (caused by ocean temperature variations and currents). Like other inhabitants of the greater Los Angeles area, residents have a particular terminology for this phenomenon: the "May Gray" and the "June Gloom". Overcast skies are common during June mornings, but usually the strong sun burns the fog off by noon. In the late winter/early summer, daily fog is a phenomenon too. It happens suddenly and it may last some hours or past sunset time. Nonetheless, it will sometimes stay cloudy and cool all day during June, even as other parts of the Los Angeles area enjoy sunny skies and warmer temperatures. At times, the sun can be shining east of 20th Street, while the beach area is overcast. As a general rule, the beach temperature is from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 6 degrees Celsius) cooler than it is inland during summer days, and 5–10 degrees warmer during winter nights.

It is also in September that highest temperatures tend to be reached. It is winter, however, when the hot, dry winds of the Santa Anas are most common. In contrast, temperatures exceeding 10 degrees below average are rare.

The rainy season is from late October through late March. Winter storms usually approach from the northwest and pass quickly through the Southland. There is very little rain during the rest of the year. Yearly rainfall totals are unpredictable as rainy years are occasionally followed by droughts. There has never been any snow or frost, but there has been hail.

Santa Monica usually enjoys cool breezes blowing in from the ocean, which tend to keep the air fresh and clean. Therefore, smog is less of a problem for Santa Monica than elsewhere around Los Angeles. However, in the autumn months of September through November, the Santa Ana winds will sometimes blow from the east, bringing smoggy and hot inland air to the beaches.

Climate data for Santa Monica

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 64
Average low °F (°C) 51
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.84
Average rainy days 7.0 7.9 5.1 2.4 1.0 0.4 0.1 0.5 1.0 0.8 2.5 4.0 32.7
Source: NOAA


The city of Santa Monica rests on a mostly flat slope that angles down towards Ocean Avenue and towards the south. High bluffs separate the north side of the city from the beaches. Santa Monica borders the L.A. neighborhoods of Pacific Palisades to the north and Venice to the south. To the west, Santa Monica has the 3-mile coastline fronting the Santa Monica Bay, and to the east of the city borders are the Los Angeles communities of West Los Angeles and Brentwood.


Santa Monica is home to the headquarters of many notable businesses, including Hulu,Universal Music Group, Lionsgate Films, the RAND Corporation, Beachbody, and Macerich. Supermarine (now Atlantic Aviation) is at the Santa Monica Airport.National Public Radio member stationKCRW is located at the Santa Monica College campus.

A number of game development studios are based in Santa Monica, making it a major location for the industry. These include:

  • Activision Blizzard
  • Treyarch
  • Cloud Imperium Games (Creators of Star Citizen)
  • Naughty Dog (Creators of Crash Bandicoot (1996–1999), Jak & Daxter and Uncharted franchises)
  • SCE Studios Santa Monica
  • Studio Santa Monica (An in-house studio of SCE and creators of God of War)
  • Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends is located just outside the eastern city limit.

Fatburger's headquarters are in Santa Monica. TOMS Shoes has its headquarters in Santa Monica.

Former Santa Monica businesses include Douglas Aircraft (now merged with Boeing), MySpace (now headquartered in Beverly Hills), and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In December 1996, GeoCities was headquartered on the third floor of 1918 Main Street in Santa Monica.

Recently, Santa Monica has emerged as the center of the Los Angeles region called Silicon Beach, and serves as the home of hundreds of venture-capital funded startup companies.

Internet, Comunication

Santa Monica has several free City Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the area.

Prices in Santa Monica



Milk 1 liter $0.98
Tomatoes 1 kg $3.50
Cheese 0.5 kg $7.00
Apples 1 kg $4.50
Oranges 1 kg $3.60
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $2.25
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle $12.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters $2.18
Bread 1 piece $2.55
Water 1.5 l $1.86



Dinner (Low-range) for 2 $32.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 $55.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 $
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal $7.00
Water 0.33 l $1.50
Cappuccino 1 cup $4.15
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l $6.00
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l $5.00
Coca-Cola 0.33 l $1.85
Coctail drink 1 drink $12.50



Cinema 2 tickets $26.00
Gym 1 month $45.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut $21.00
Theatar 2 tickets $200.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. $0.13
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack $6.00



Antibiotics 1 pack $20.00
Tampons 32 pieces $9.00
Deodorant 50 ml. $4.30
Shampoo 400 ml. $5.70
Toilet paper 4 rolls $3.70
Toothpaste 1 tube $2.00



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 $53.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 $48.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 $90.00
Leather shoes 1 $105.00



Gasoline 1 liter $0.80
Taxi Start $
Taxi 1 km $
Local Transport 1 ticket $1.75

Tourist (Backpacker)  

63 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

277 $ per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By car

Santa Monica is located at the western terminus of the 10 (Santa Monica) Freeway, about 20 miles west of downtown Los Angeles and 7 miles north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The city is roughly bounded by Centinela Blvd to the east, Ocean Park Blvd to the south, San Vicente Blvd to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

The tourist center of Santa Monica is the downtown area located near the famous Santa Monica Pier, which was once the western end of historic Route 66. By car, take the 10 Freeway to the 4th/5th Street exit, then head left toward the ocean. From the north, turn left off the Pacific Coast Highway (California 1) at the California Incline, which deposits you just a few blocks north of the pier.

Transportation - Get In

By public transit

The county-wide Metro public transit agency offers service to Santa Monica from throughout the Los Angeles region. Santa Monica is the western terminus for the Metro Rail Expo Line, which runs out to Culver City, Exposition Park, and onward to Downtown LA. The line ends in Downtown Santa Monica at Colorado Avenue and 4th Street, just a few blocks from the Santa Monica Pier. Prominent Metro bus lines to Santa Monica include the 20/720 via Wilshire Boulevard from Downtown LA and the 04/704 via Sunset Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard from Union Station in Downtown LA. Lines 720 and 704 are Rapid lines which stop only at major intersections, making them faster than their local-stop counterparts 20 and 04 (however, the 20 and 04 run later into the evening). Service tends to be every ten to twenty minutes. Metro fare is $1.75.

Santa Monica is also served by its own Big Blue Bus, which runs bus lines to surrounding neighborhoods such as Venice Beach and West Los Angeles, as well as an express line to Downtown LA (requires extra fare). Local fare is $1.25, with a day pass costing $4, both of which can be purchased from the driver onboard the bus. The reusable TAP card is good on both Metro and Big Blue Bus.

Transportation - Get In

By plane

For commercial passengers, the closest airport is Los Angeles International Airport (IATA: LAX) just a short drive south. The LAXFlyAway bus offers a direct shuttle service between LAX and Downtown Santa Monica for $9 each way.

If you are arriving via LAX, you and your luggage can access the Santa Monica Downtown area for $1.25 by taking airport shuttle C and asking the driver to let you off closest to the stop for Big Blue Bus line 3. Once you step off the shuttle, exit the lot, and turn right, and look for a blue triangular-shaped sign at the corner of the street. Buses arrive every 15-20 minutes on weekdays, and every 15-30 minutes on weekends; this is a regular route, the fare is $1.25. Also, Big Blue Bus line 3 connects Santa Monica to the Los Angeles light rail Green Line at Aviation Station.

Santa Monica Airport (IATA: SMO) is popular for general aviation and business jet travelers. The following air taxi and air charter companies fly a variety of private charter aircraft and jets, from charter luxury Gulfstreams down to economical piston twins for small groups and individuals:


Transportation - Get Around

The city is under 10 square miles, so getting around is fairly easy. A number of options for navigating the city are designed to be convenient and approachable for tourists. Hotels will likely have resources to help you find the best way to get where you're going, whether it’s the beach, a restaurant down the street or a district on the other side of the city.

By Bus

The ‘’’Big Blue Bus’’’ services not only Santa Monica but also the west side of L.A., so travelers who are looking to do a day trip into Los Angeles don't need a car. The routes are numbered logically and run along the major boulevards or make loops around the city. The website offers a trip planner that helps bus users find exactly what route they need as well as a timetable. Depending on the route, buses come from every 10 minutes to once an hour. It’s worth it to snag one of the ‘’Little Blue Books’’ that has bus routes and schedules, or check online before heading out to make sure you’ll catch the bus when you need it.

By Train

Coming in 2016, Santa Monica will get a light rail system to relieve the gridlock of Interstate 10 from L.A. to the beach. There will be three stations in the city, as well as a bicycle path, and will get riders to downtown Los Angeles in 50 minutes. Stations will be at 26th St/Bergamot, 17th St/Santa Monica College and Downtown and 4th St/Colorado.

By Car

Everyone knows how much L.A. residents love their cars, but Santa Monica is so small that it’s not necessary to drive in order to get around. During rush hour and on weekends, the arterial streets are still grid locked with locals and day trippers in from L.A. Visitors who don’t want to spend their whole day stuck behind the wheel can likely get where they need to go by alternative methods. Many of the districts provide parking options, for when you absolutely need your car.

On Foot

The city is hugely walkable. Once you get to a district, whether by bus or car, it’s easy to stay on foot to get around. There are plenty of parks, cafes and restaurants to take a break while walking or to wait out the traffic that jams up during certain times of day.

By Bicycle

Perhaps the best way to get around the city is by bicycle. Many of the bicycle rental companies will deliver beach cruisers, road bikes, mountain bikes, tandems and kids tag-alongs to your hotel. The beach side bicycle path is a great way to get from one side of the city to the other, as well as the car-free 3rd Street Promenade.







Santa Monica like the rest of the LA area is very cosmopolitan and attracts a lot of tourist shopping dollars.

  • Montana Avenue. Located on Montana between 7 and 17th streets, this area is relatively free of major national chains but is full of quaint but expensive local boutiques and cafes.
  • Third Street Promenade. A completely pedestrianized street that is the region's most popular shopping destination. Though chain stores have pushed out independent ones, it is the vibrant street life that distinguishes Third Street from the rest.
  • Santa Monica Place395 Santa Monica Pl (at the south end of the Third Street Promenade). An indoor-outdoor mall that was extensively remodeled in 2010. It houses a variety of restaurants, shops, and pavilions. A large parking garage is attached with reasonable hourly rates.
  • Main Street. From Pico Blvd to Navy Street, Main Street shopping is similar to Montana Ave in that it celebrates the independent retailer. Main Street also has its fair share of excellent restaurants and bars. Heritage Square on Main Street is home to the widely popular, family-friendly Sunday Farmer's Market.


Very diverse food selection, from high-end cuisine to burgers and tacos.


  • Bay Cities Italian Deli1517 Lincoln Blvd,  +1 310 395-8279. Some of the best sandwiches on the west side. There will be a long wait during peak hours, so browse the authentic Italian market after you take your number.
  • Bagel Nosh Deli1629 Wilshire Blvd+1 310-451-8771. M-F 6:30AM-2:30PM, Sa & Su 7:30AM-3PM. Serving breakfast, lunch, and hand-rolled bagels since 1978.
  • Pradeep's1405 Montana Ave+1 310-395-6675. Offers Indian Cuisine with a California consciousness. Emphasis is on healthy, so sauces are lighter, but flavor is still great.
  • Snug Harbor2323 Wilshire Blvd,  +1 310-828-2991. 6AM-3PM. A great breakfast place! A small "hole in the wall" with a relaxed atmosphere and competent service, you'll find many locals trying to wake up on Saturdays and Sundays. Offering up traditional bacon and eggs with a twist the food is fresh and good. Meat lovers should try Uncle Zeke's scramble.
  • Tacos Por Favor, 1406 Olympic Blvd,  +1 310 392-5768. Mon-Sat 8AM-8PM closed Sundays. Fresh, cooked to order Mexican food in a taqueria atmosphere. It features good tacos and an excellent chicken mole burrito. Don't miss the pickled carrots and jalepeños in the salsa bar.


  • Blue Plate1415 Montana Ave+1 310-260-8877. Blue Plate is a small, cozy neighborhood eatery that serves great American comfort food. Located in the heart of Montana Avenue, Blue Plate is close to many hip boutiques and is a great rest stop after a day of shopping. An added plus: the menu is kid-friendly, offering healthy items for kids as well as organic baby food. The turkey meatballs and mac 'n cheese are a must-try. Menu items range from $10-15.
  • El Cholo1025 Wilshire Blvd (11th and Wilshire). A Los Angeles institution and this Santa Monica branch offers great margaritas and wonderful traditional Mexican food. The green corn tamales, available from May to October each year, are a specialty.
  • Typhoon3221 Donald Douglas Loop S. (Santa Monica Airport),  +1 310 390-6565. Best known for its exotic fried insects, this pan-asian restaurant also serves dim sum and sushi, Malasian and Thai, in a unique setting with a view of the runway. Window tables have great views of the runway activity. Try the steamed whole fish (bass or catfish). Adventurous eaters can try tasty appetizers of crickets, scorpions, sea worms and ants. MSG used, so be sure to ask for your food without it if it disagrees with you.
  • Solidarity Restaurant1414 Lincoln Blvd,  +1 310-393-8831. Authentic Polish food can be found on Lincoln with a signature dish of roast duck. They have a fantastic outdoor patio in the back where you can get a great vodka martini.


  • The Lobster1602 Ocean Ave (Colorado Blvd & the Santa Monica Pier), +1 310-458-9294. One of the few restaurants in Santa Monica that actually has a view of the Pacific Ocean. Located at the Eastern end of the Santa Monica Pier, The Lobster provides good seafood dishes, great cocktails and a little bit of a scene. While a little noisy and on the expensive side ($120+ for two with alcohol), the food, fun and view can make it worthwhile.
  • Michael's1147 Third St. Along with Chez Panisse in Berkeley, lead the nouvelle cuisine movement. Using fresh vegetables from the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, locally caught fish and excellent meats every dish is sublime. While not cheap, a meal at Michael's does not disappoint.
  • Melisse1104 Wilshire Blvd,  +1 310-395-0881. Also featuring organic, locally grown produce and two tasting menus (including a vegetarian version), Melisse is Chef Josiah Citrin latest world class restaurant. The food is outstanding and gets the highest marks in Zagat and Michelin. $100 per person at a minimum.
  • Ocean and Vine1700 Ocean Ave. Chic restaurant and lounge at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. "farm-to-table" approach, California cuisine.
  • The Penthouse1111 Second St,  +1 310-393-8080. A rooftop Santa Monica restaurant located on the 18th floor of The Huntley Hotel. Offers a bar and lounge and panoramic ocean views. Menu features contemporary American cuisine with global influences from Asia and Brazil. Serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4 to 7PM. Also available for private events.

Sights & Landmarks

Throughout Santa Monica there are numerous pieces of public art to discover. From large murals to huge sculptures, there are almost 40 of these to check out.

  • Bergamot Station Arts Center2525 Michigan Ave+1 310 453-7535. M 9AM-4PM, Tu-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM (Individual galleries may have different hours). Over 30 art galleries, including the Santa Monica Museum of Art. Free
  • Angels Attic Museum516 Colorado Ave+1 310 394-8331. Th-Sa: 12 noon to 4PM; closed on holidays. A museum of antique and contemporary dolls, doll houses, and toys. The only parking is at metered street locations. Adults - $8.00, Children Under 12 - $5.00, Seniors - $7.00
  • Museum of Flying3100 Airport Ave (at Santa Monica Airport (KSMO)),  +1 310-398-2500. Fri-Sun 10AM-5PM. Centered around artifacts from the Douglas Aircraft Company, which used to manufacture iconic aircraft like the DC-3 at the Santa Monica Airport. It includes many aircraft in static display, from a replica Wright Flyer to WWII fighters to the microjet which appeared in the James Bond filmOctopussy. "Rides" in a full-motion flight simulator are $8 each. $10 Adults
  • View Decks at Santa Monica Airport (KSMO)3223 Donald Douglas Loop South (On the north and south sides of the Administration Building),  +1 310-458-8411. dawn-dusk, daily. Open air-decks with picnic tables. Watch and photograph the airplanes as they come and go at the airport. Listen to Air Traffic Control on loudspeakers. Bring a picnic lunch. Also, Clover Park, at the corner of 25th Street and Ocean Park Boulevard, has a viewing area with a telescope focused on the runway. Free.

Things to do

  • Chess Park. How is your chess game? 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.
  • Santa Monica Pier (Ocean Front Walk At Seaside Terrace). A bustling boardwalk whose huge Ferris Wheel is the city's icon, with terrific coastline views of Malibu and the Southbay. 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 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 (several blocks of Third Street). 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). Thursday evenings in summer, starting at 7:30PM. 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). Free!.
  • Trapeze School New York (TSNY) (Santa Monica Pier),  +1 310 394-5800.7 days a week. Trapeze School New York at Santa Monica Pier is a school of flying trapeze and aerial arts open to the public and for all skill levels and ages. Also offered are corporate workshops, events and parties, birthday parties and performance workshops. $47-$65.


Santa Monica offers over 50 Happy Hour specials all over town, from dive bars to the high end hotels.

Unfortunately since LA and specifically the west side of LA is famous the world over for its night life going out and drinking in Santa Monica is expensive, normal prices for a domestic beer are $5 and martinis frequently range over $15. To that end the bars listed below are sorted by type and not price:

  • Fathers Office1018 Montana Ave (near 10th & Montana), +1 310-323-BEER (2337). Best Burgers in Santa Monica in this tiny and wildly popular pub. Offers beers from over 20 different micro-breweries, a nice wine selection, but alas no full bar. The other downside is that its a small space and very popular so long lines quickly spring up. Don't try to change any of the items on the burger - it's their way or the highway.
  • Britannia Pub318 Santa Monica Blvd (near 3rd Street Promenade),  +1 310-458-5350. Small but very friendly Brit style pub, popular with locals and budget travelers. Good and cheap snacks and meals.
  • Circle Bar2926 Main St+1 310-450-0508, e-mail: .This is a deep dark space that as you would imagine has a circular bar, popular with the twenty-something I drink too much crowd.
  • Renee's Courtyard Cafe522 Wilshire Blvd,  +1 310 451-9341. This is a great bar. One of the few you can still smoke in, technically. Its entrance way is a patio, with tables, so its outside, and ashtrays abound. There are lots of little nooks and cranny's here, each room with its own feel. Mellow during the weekend, a total meet market on the weekends!
  • O'Brien's Irish Pub2941 Main St,+1 310 396-4725. This is your typical Irish pub, but BIG! IT has 4 parts really. The outside patio, the front seating area, the bar, and the back room with the stage. There is almost always live music on the stage, ranging from punk rock bands to acoustic sing-alongs.
  • Cock N Bull Pub2947 Lincoln Blvd+1 310 399-9696. Referred to as "the most OG English bar in LA" by espn's page 2, the Cock and Bull Serves typical British pub fair, has a wide array of beer on tap, and authentic British bar tenders. Although it can be quiet on the week nights this bar rapidly fills up when ever a quality soccer (football to the rest of the world) match or rugby game is on the TV, regardless of what time it is on, during the World Cup lines started forming at 4AM.
  • Wokcano1413 5th St (near Third Street),  +1 310-458-3080. Wokcano offers indoor and outdoors seating in a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
  • Ye Olde Kings Head (Kings Head), 132 Santa Monica Blvd+1 310 451-1402. British style pub that is a notable hangout for tourists, celebrities and locals. Favorite amongst local Brits to watch football and play pub quiz on Tuesdays. Has excellent fish and chips.
  • Library Ale House2911 Main St. Carries lots of interesting beer on tap. Food is mid-scale pub style.
  • V Lounge2020 Wilshire Blvd (20th & Wilshire),  +1 310-829-1933. Santa Monica's largest dance club, with a huge sunken dance floor. DJs spin pulsating Top 40, hip-hop, R&B and rock, with a down-to-earth crowd who wants to avoid the hassle of the Hollywood scene.

Safety in Santa Monica

Stay Safe

With its small size and affluent local population, Santa Monica is a relatively safe city to travel. According to reported crime statistics in 2014, the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime, such as armed robbery or assault is approximately 4 in 1000. As expected in tourist-heavy locations, it is more likely to be a victim of a property crime, especially in crowded and busy locations. The Santa Monica Pier and Ocean Blvd beach areas have considerably more reported property crimes than the districts further inland.

Santa Monica also has a large population of homeless. Attracted by the mild year round climate, the beaches and parks are some of the few places for them to sleep without being harassed. Locals recommend steering clear of the beach at night, when larger groups of homeless might congregate. Panhandling takes place along ‘’’the strand’’’ path connecting the Westside beaches, as well as in parks and on the 3rd Street Promenade. While an unpleasant encounter with the homeless isn’t common, tourists should stay aware of their surroundings, and keep to main and busy thoroughfares after dark.

When heading out to the beach for the day, leave the cash behind. Try to keep valuables to a minimum and make sure someone is watching over personal belongings at all times. Keep your cell phone on your body, carry minimal cash and stick to using credit cards on the Santa Monica Pier and 3rd Street Promenade to keep a low profile and avoid being targeted.

Visitors should also be aware of local laws, including bans on smoking in public places, and on the Pier. Street parking is heavily regulated and parking authorities are quick to issue tickets for expired meters and illegal parking. There are a number of public parking garages throughout the city so it’s relatively easy to avoid the street parking.

Go next