Santa Monica

Santa Monica is possibly the most walkable neighborhood in LA. You’ll find fun in every direction, from the beach, to the Santa Monica Pier, to the shops and restaurants of the Third Street Promenade. 



Sights:

Santa Monica Pier
The pier houses Pacific Park, an amusement park with a roller coaster and a mini golf course, the Trapeze school of New York (TSNY), which offers two-hour long group classes (no prior experience necessary), as well as an arcade, carousel, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

Third Street Promenade
This pedestrian area boasts 200 chain and independent shops, offering everything from clothing and jewelry, to books and electronics, to housewares and furniture stores. At night, get an ice cream cone from Angelato Cafe and watch the street performers or catch a flick at one of the many movie theaters.

Main Street
Whether you’re looking for stand up comedy, theater, music or museums, you’ll find it on Main Street. The California Heritage Museum exhibits regional art, but for something more offbeat, visit Angel’s Attic, a Victorian mansion museum filled with dolls, doll houses and other collectibles, that serves high tea. For theater, try the Santa Monica Playhouse or City Garage Theatre, which present stage productions year-round. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes, clubs, pubs and wine bars.

Bergamot Station
2525 Michigan Avenue
Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturdays 11am-5:30pm
http://bergamotstation.com/
This campus-like art center was formerly a trolley station. Today it holds eight-acres of art galleries, architecture and design firms, a cafe and The Santa Monica Museum.

Montana Avenue
LA’s version of New York’s Bleeker Street with well curated clothing and accessory boutiques like Moondance and Planet Blue.

Activities:

Santa Monica Public Library
601 Santa Monica Blvd
http://www.smpl.org/
Airy and contemporary space featuring lectures, screenings, workshops and readings year-round.

Main Street Farmers’ Market
2640 Main Street
Sundays 9:30am-1pm
Weekly street fair that includes live music, pony rides, face painting and food stands.

Walking Tours of Santa Monica
Hostelling International
1436 2nd Street (between Broadway and Santa Monica Blvd)
Saturdays at 10am, $10
http://www.smconservancy.org/walking_tour.shtml

Farther Out:

Venice Beach
Home to some of Los Angeles’ early beat poets and artists, this neighborhood continues to be one of the most eclectic areas of Southern California.

Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Wednesday-Monday 10am-5pm, Free
http://www.getty.edu/visit/
Modelled after the Villa of the Papryi in ancient Rome, this Pacific Palisades museum focuses on the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.

Resources:

Santa Monica maps
City of Santa Monica event calendar
Yelp’s top Santa Monica restaurants
10-best lists for Santa Monica
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