Local traditions and culture in Santa Monica

  • Santa Monica, CA
    Santa Monica, CA
    by marinarena
  • Muscle Beach
    Muscle Beach
    by Dabs
  • Bubble man
    Bubble man
    by mht_in_la

Most Viewed Local Customs in Santa Monica

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Respect or detest NIMBY culture of SM

    by marinarena Updated Mar 4, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    OK, bear with some acronyms now. While Santa Monica enjoys much pleasant praise in its overall presence and for its entertainment attraction, SM is also shed in some negative aspects and is sometimes scorned and is the butt of jokes because of some of its political ultra-pro green environment and social views which has inspired the creation and enforcing of laws steep in "BS".

    Since the 80s and 90s, SM city government has decidedly passed strict NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) and NIYFY (Not In Your Front Yard) rules and policies, some of which include:

    --A wide reaching NIMBY ban on smoking that reaches to just about anywhere in the city- including beaches, restaurants, bars and near most buildings plus an NIYFY ban to puff in apartments/condos for new residents (new as of 2012). ***Don't be surprised if SM will find a legal way to prohibit smoking for all residents, old and new, in all kinds of households in the near future. So heads up, butts away for you travelers who smoke!

    --NIMBY ban of the Nativity scene in a public area (seriously, OMG!) At Palisades Park, popular large Nativity scenes drew several hundreds of admirers during the holiday season. But in 2012, SM city council prohibited seasonal religious displays on public property due. *** For those who appreciate the Nativity and other religious-themed holiday scenery, there will be other displays mounted on private property outside of Palisades Park.

    --NIMBY ban on plastic bags. No question of "Paper of plastic" is asked at city groceries. The city banned offering plastic bags for product carrying in 2011.

    --NIYFY ordinance requiring solar equipment to be installed “in the location that is least visible from the street”.***Careful if you're thinking to get property here Oy," vague"!

    --NIYFY ban on leafblowers, for home or commercial. *** If you plan are considering to have a home in Santa Monica, get to love raking your own leaves in your front and back yard after a windy day (or have gardening help do it for a costlier price). There is a ban of motorized leaf blowers (gas and electric) in the city.

    --NIMBY ban on playing percussion instruments on the beach. ***No drumming on the sand. I dare ya to do it! (If ya do, no worries, you shouldn't be shamed badly. Definitely not be put in jail or anything like that!)

    In 2013, city officials could get their NIYFY way with a ban of - yes, it could be- free fitness training set-up at public parks. Fitness trainers may have to pay a $100 fee to instruct in SM.

    So, in the end, do feel free to come to Santa Monica but beware to enjoy some basic freedom- in certain cases.

    Santa Monica, CA
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Work Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Meet under the Fig Tree before Christmas

    by marinarena Updated Nov 16, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At the ridiculously posh Fairmont Miramar Hotel, there is an old (by Californian standards) Moreton fig tree on its grounds. To salute the 80 ft high natural beauty, the hotel get super holiday pretty and hosts an annual social gathering open to all. Some of the most grand holiday decoration is here, as well as some holiday treat to eat . Gingerbread houses will be on display and to purchase for charity.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Luxury Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Beware to puff!

    by marinarena Updated Oct 30, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Santa Monica is really becoming notorious- well, to smokers anyway. There are already strict rules to light up in the city and sooner, not later, smoking in all public places will be forbidden. The city council has ruled through the years to cut down smoking near the beach, at the 3rd Street Promenande and outisde government buildings. Some debate over all of this exists with many shop owners upset about potential smoking customers being lost.

    Come back for an update to all this. More legislation is under review!!!

    Related to:
    • Singles
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Wait patiently for your coffee/tea

    by marinarena Updated Oct 11, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Well, this is a tip especially for Santa Monica but can be applied to most crowded West L.A. coffeehouses and similar establishments. Come to a place like 3rd Street Promenande on a busy weekend night and expect to wait up to 20 min for a coffee. Here, the Coffee Bean and Starbucks here experience the rush-rush grind of delivering the goods of coffee and tea drinkers alike(yes, had to go there with the pun). On the nights I've spent here I see ridiculously long lines just to get coffee that's way overpriced and overrated- and a few times I grin and bear it myself (only for Chai tea-never for coffee I wait so long). Throught the L.A. we just loooooove our corporate coffee and will just be typically L.A. non-chalant about waiting for it to burn in our hands and give us comfort.

    Related to:
    • Singles

    Was this review helpful?

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    SM: Such a Mess with Cars!!

    by marinarena Updated Mar 30, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Car Culture!

    Granted, car culture and its traffic is almost everywhere in southern California, but, it is heightened in Santa Monica. Everytime I come here, there is some kind of jam, especially the more west (to the beach) that I go. Well, blame this mostly on Santa Monica herself. She is just so attractive that everyone wants to see her.

    Here is congestion right by the beach, I believe on Ocean Ave. Here's a tip: when driving, do not block the intersections! This should go without saying, yet, many drivers simply do not get this concept. Common sense is like rocket science, I guess.

    Santa Monica's car culture, California
    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Muscle Beach

    by Dabs Updated Mar 17, 2005

    The original Muscle Beach where Jack LaLanne, the TV fitness guru, used to work out is just south of the Pier in Santa Monica, now marked only by this sign. It was popular in the 1930s and 40s but closed in 1959 and the muscleheads moved south to Venice Beach.

    I think the Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, would have been too young to have worked out at the Muscle Beach in Santa Monica but perhaps he has paid a visit or two to the one in Venice?

    Muscle Beach

    Was this review helpful?

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Do check out some performers...

    by marinarena Written Nov 28, 2004

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    at the (3rd St ) Promenade. There are some talent musicians there. Crowds often form around them at the Promenade. One time, there was a father and daughter singing a soulful version of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb". I was totally impressed. Besides musicians, you'll find all kinds of acts here.

    street performer, Santa Monica (California)
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Music

    Was this review helpful?

  • marinarena's Profile Photo

    Don't feel that you have to give in to solictors..

    by marinarena Written Nov 28, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    at the (3rd St) Promendade unless you want to. On a few occasions, some people, like the homeless give you a hard time if you don't give them money or pay attention to them as you pass by them. Just simply smile and walk away as I would do.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • mht_in_la's Profile Photo

    Bubble man

    by mht_in_la Updated Sep 13, 2004

    Street entertainment is more than singing, dancing, or acting. At the Pier I saw a bubble man. His little home-made apparatus blew out bubbles and the kids loved it. Of course donation is always welcome.

    Bubble man
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Yubert and Zrim tangle

    by zrim Written Mar 6, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    After years (it seems like years anyway) of sparring in the forums, Yubert and Zrim finally meet face to face (or more acurately face to chest). Yubert gives Zrim the Francoise Botha uppercut. And Zrim refrains from mopping up the floor with Yubert in response to Yubert's taunts of: "You can't catch me fatty." Of course, Yubert's remark is like the pot calling the kettle black.

    Zrim dutifully wearing VT cap
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Jenn's Boots

    by zrim Written Mar 6, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Justin was quite taken with Jenn's boots. Especially after she told the story about the dirty old man in the coffeeshop. Apparently, Jenn stopped in for coffee that morning wearing her boots and one of the regulars told her that he was imagining Jenn wearing those boots and nothing else. Poor Justin. after that story he had the very same image all the way back up to Santa Barbara. Kind of like a song that gets stuck in your mind and nothing you can do will remove it from your thoughts.

    these boots were made for walking
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • zrim's Profile Photo

    Yubert! You are half a second from being deleted!

    by zrim Written Mar 6, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    "Just try me, Yubert!" bellowed Giampiero from across the patio. "I have a special Yubert delete key on my desktop!" shouted the great and powerful G.

    Yubert showed an incredible lack of remorse in the face of such promised reprisals. Yubert is teflon.

    one of VT's great characters
    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yubert's Profile Photo

    Santa Monica might be Jane Fonda's kind of town...

    by Yubert Written Feb 29, 2004

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    But not at Schatzi on Main, owned by Right Winger, Arnold Schwarzenegger!!

    Spewing out leftist liberal bable just might get you an upper jab to the jaw, as Zrim has unfortunately discovered.

    Was this review helpful?

Santa Monica Hotels

Latest Santa Monica Hotel Reviews

Holiday Inn Santa Monica Beach At The Pier
92 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
Cal Mar Hotel Suites
249 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Seaview Hotel
161 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
The Fairmont Miramar Hotel Santa Monica
1161 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
Hotel Carmel
346 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 2, 2014
The Huntley Hotel Santa Monica
571 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014
Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica
219 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Shutters on the Beach
650 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
Embassy Hotel Apartments
1 Review & Opinion
Palm Motel
10 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Dec 13, 2013
Best Western Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
408 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Sea Shore Motel
407 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Doubletree Guest Suites Santa Monica
1028 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 11, 2014
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
1099 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 10, 2014
Hotel Oceana Santa Monica
369 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 9, 2014

Instant Answers: Santa Monica

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

79 travelers online now

Comments

Santa Monica Local Customs

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Santa Monica locals.
Map of Santa Monica
Other Local Customs in Santa Monica