We arrived at Santa Monica in the afternoon of August the 4th, thinking on parking and swimming immediately.
Well, well, well.
Ninety per cent of our winter is not so cold. Never mind, I'll do it tomorrow in Venice. But what can we do in a chilly and empty beach? Take an ashamed photo, and move. Let's go.
I just wanted to point out that Santa Monica is not surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on its fourth side but rather the Pacific Ocean. Try and make sure you know your geography next time you post something that pertains to it.
Officially an independent city, Santa Monica is surrounded by the City of Los Angeles on three sides. The fourth side is along the Atlantic Ocean, which provides Santa Monica with its scenic beachfront. This is my favourite neighbourhood in the Los Angeles area, not only because of its picturesque beaches, but also for its great restaurants and casual atmosphere. Things to see and do include:
1- The Santa Monica Pier;
2- 3rd Street Promenade and its shops;
3- Ocean Avenue;
4- Montana Ave;
5- and the Beach, of course.
For more, check out my separate page on Santa Monica
One of my favorite spots in LA is Main Street in Santa Monica. It is a fun place to walk around or sit in a coffee shop. There are lots of restaurants and bars and it's a great place to people watch. It is only a few blocks from the beach too. Check out the weblink below for additional information.
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I have to admit that we would prefer to overnight in Santa Monica as it is a small coastal town with charming atmosphere. But we just stayed for some hours the day we visited Venice, actually we walked along the Venice beach till we reached Santa Monica Pier. There is an amusement park there (pic 1) where your kids will have fun for sure with the carousel(a big merry-go-round that dates back to the 40s) and other items that kids love usually. We were already tired of walking for hours under the sun so we preferred to skip the rides here and looked for something to eat.
There are many restaurants in Santa Monica but definitely the most popular area is the 3rd Street (pic 2), a pedestrian street full of shops, cafes and restaurants, cheap and expensive so it’s up to you where you will stop. On Main street you can find the Santa Monica Visitor Center, they will provide you with a simple map and lot of suggest what to see around here and what buses you need to get away. Main street houses many galleries, craft shops and restaurants by the way.
I wish they had told me about the Black & White Biplanes though, a company that offers plane tours, its kind of expensive ($350 for 30’ in the air, 2 persons price) but I would love to see LA from the air (www.blackandwhitebiplane.com/).
Back to the Pier you can visit the Aquarium, enjoy the white sand of the beach and get the tan from the burning sun. Santa Monica was already a holiday region since the end of 19th century by the way. As in Venice we saw many people jogging or bicycling while other were taking their first surf lessons.
One of the best sources for Santa Monica visitor information is the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau website at http://www.santamonica.com/visitors
If you are actually in Santa Monica you can get Santa Monica visitor information at the Santa Monica Visitor Center on Main Street, the Santa Monica Visitor information cart on the Third Street Promenade, or the Santa Monica Visitor Information Kiosk in Palisades Park. They provide Santa Monica tourist info on bus schedules, sightseeing, special events, and lots of Santa Monica visitor attractions.
If you are looking for offline Santa Monica visitors information you can get the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau's Santa Monica Visitor Guide. It has all the information you need about the city and Santa Monica visitor attractions. The Santa Monica visitor guide also has bonus sections like Milestones, Town Tidbits, Public Art Alerts and I Am Santa Monica testimonials from the locals.
There's only one licensed Air Tour company operating at Santa Monica's beautiful airport. Black & White Biplane flies a pristine Waco biplane, and two passengers sit side-by-side in the front cockpit. Two passengers fly for the price of one. The ride is thrilling and joyous. If the beach isn't fogged in, the best ride is up the coastline past the Venice and Santa Monica Beaches, the Santa Monica and Malibu Piers. You see the surfers, you see the backyards of the homes of the celebrities and moguls that line the beach, the sailboats, the Queen Mary at dock, even the occasional shark or whale if you're lucky. Because of seasonal fogging, that ride isn't always available, but when it isn't, the spectacular alternative is orbiting the Downtown skyscrapers, the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign (you can never, ever see it better than this - what great pictures you get), Sunset Strip and Beverly Hills. The ride is thrilling and joyful - it leaves you smiling and with a memory that lasts.
The airplane is a beautiful classic biplane of the highest quality. it's like a flying Rolls-Royce. It's a gleaming black-and-white 1935 model airplane, but built in modern times and fully FAA-certified and licensed. It's super-safe and the pilot is very experienced and a great host. Also worth noting is that Black & White Biplane is a green company. They were written up for being the first small aviation company to buy carbon offsets so that the rides they offer are carbon-neutral.
You only pay for the time in the air, but you can take all the time you need to make sure you get great pictures and video and learn about the airplane, and what with briefings and taxiing for takeoff, so you have to add about an hour to the flight time for the total experience.
This has got to be the most fun and unique thing to do in Santa Monica, and it's just about a mile from the beach, 10 minutes from the Third Street Promenade, close to Venice, easy to get to from Downtown or anywhere in LA.
Black & White Biplane operates out of Atlantic Aviation, Santa Monica's premiere aviation services company. You meet your pilot in the terminal there where most of the business caters to ultra high-end private jet traffic. It's where LA's elite travel from, and it's a cool part of the experience.
Rides start at $395 for two people. It's a ride you'll never forget, and it gives a perspective on LA you can only get from the air. It's more romantic - and cheaper - than a helicopter tour. And there's nothing at all like open-cockpit flying.
Nice shopping area, nice beach.
I found a neat shop in the mall selling native american goods.
This [see photo] is often seen in movies and yes Bay Watch was filmed here too.
Santa Monica Pier is seen in lots of American movies.
Aqua Surf has fun, safe and amazing surf lessons and surf camps. Fun for the whole family age 4 to 84 and surf lessons are offered all year long. Positive and outgoing surf instructors with advanced oceanic knowledge.
Santa Monica has been a holiday region since 1885. It is a vibrant retail, dining and entertainment area in the heart of the city. Nestled on L.A.'s fashionable Westside, just seconds from the Pacific Ocean, the area had become a symbol of the Southern California lifestyle at its finest. The air is cleaner and it's a bit cooler than the rest of LA.
For us it was a very nice place to stay. The sand on the beach was beautifully white and there was enough entertainment and lots of places to go to.
For $50 you'll get all the basics, from how to paddle out to how to stand up on the board. Wetsuits and rashguards are provided, as well as a training board (soft foam covering so you don't smash your face). Tons of fun, with a 5-1 maximum student-teacher ratio. Great class, highly recommended.
This shouldn’t be missed. We went on a beautiful morning—air 73 degrees, water 62 degrees, and a group of tiny schoolchildren sifting seashells on the beach just behind us.
If money were made in the form of a building, it would look like this one on Santa Monica Beach.
Santa Monica is a coastal community not far from Los Angeles. You can easily spend a day here checking out the Santa Monica Pier and it's Pacific Park amusement park, shopping at the boutiques along Main Street or 3rd St., strolling/jogging/biking along the beach, eating at one of the many restaurants.
If you want a beach view hotel, you might even consider staying in Santa Monica which is more convenient to most of the sights in LA than the LAX area.
This is the best city of the ones that form LA. Make sure you visit the 3rd street promenade. Here you will find a wide variety of shop, mostly clothes but still there are a lot of places that sell other stuff ( toy shops, panoramic pictures, etc, etc).
Also go to the pier...it's not great to be honest but worth a visit (it's near the promenade anyway).
The beach in Santa Monica is nice but I prefer places like Hermosa Beach or Huntington Beach.