If you’re in southern California for any amount of time, you should schedule one full day to go see Santa Monica, preferably a Saturday when the city really comes alive. You just can’t beat the beauty of the beaches here, the gorgeous hills as your backdrop and the fantastic atmosphere created by the laid-back, fun loving, rock-your-socks-off Santa Monica crowd.
When it comes to beaches in Cali, it’s pretty tough to beat those in Santa Monica. You’ll find long expanses of pristine sand, wide open areas filled with volleyball courts and a paved pathway perfect for walking and jogging, or if you’d like, renting a beach cruiser and cruising up the coast. Go a couple miles and you’ll get to see Malibu too. Hit up snack shacks galore for tasty beach treats and ice cream and then grab your spot on the sand. You’ll have a fantastic view of wind surfers to add to the already breathtaking view.
Third Street Promenade
No trip to Cali is complete without a Saturday day afternoon spent at the Promenade/Santa Monica Place. Settled on Third Street, the iconic street filled with shops and restaurants galore and just blocks from the beach, Third Street beckons you in with arms wide open. If you head up on a Saturday morning, consider free Zumba on the deck, where you can get your groove on, three stories up and overlooking the ocean (free!). After that, you should walk through the amazing Farmers Market which will dazzle you with all the local goodies, including everything from fresh fruit and veggies to local honey, nuts, breads and baked goods to drool over. After that, meander through the fun shops, taking time to sit and take in a local musician or two while they rock out in the middle of the street. And, without question, grab a Gelato on the Promenade!
For dinner, you must hit up Sushi Roku and try their baked lobster roll. It’s heaven in a bite. And, of course, be on the look out for celebrities at the booth next to you. If sushi isn’t your thing, dine out on one of the many rooftop restaurants (Santa Monica is known for incredible food, so you almost can’t go wrong). There’s nothing like eating outside with a slight ocean breeze and looking down on a gorgeous ocean and sunset.
Santa Monica Pier
You could easily spend an hour or two at the pier. A walk down the pier will provide you with entertainment just from people watching! If you’ve got kids, you’ll definitely want to hit up the carousel and the arcade, right along with Pacific Park. And, another fun option for anyone is the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.
If you somehow manage to exhaust the options above, then taking a short drive in any direction will provide you with even more fun! You can get to Malibu in minutes, head over to Beverly Hills, or go to The Getty, one of the most fabulous displays of beauty, art and architecture you’ll find. It’s free to get into, your only cost is the $10 to park, and you can spend an entire day roaming and soaking in the beauty. You will need your camera handy here!
Jocelyn moved near Santa Monica nearly a year ago and still can’t get enough of it. When not out exploring, you’ll find her at work writing for an eco friendly home heater store.