3rd St Prominade may be a bit of a tourist attraction but we really enjoyed the experience. Surprisingly we got very easy cheap parking in one of the designated parking buildings. That was a huge plus for we strangers who found city driving a bit daunting whilst in USA. On exiting the parking building we were given a map of the Santa Monica shops, which proved to be very handy and saved a lot of time searching for places.
There are eateries, bars, cafes, and of course shops. I rather liked the seats on the sidewalk, nice to rest, check the map and just take in the ambience. Nice trees along the street and plenty of room to amble along in a relaxed manner.
And then, of course, there are the shops. Most of the big names, Apple, Ripcurl, Lululemon, H&M, Crocs, Guess, Oakley, Skechers and so on, to name just a few.
The promenade is 30 city blocks of shopping, restaurants, family and adult entertainment. Third Street was closed from automible traffic in 1965 creating one of the first pedestrian malls. In 1989 the city spent millions of dollars revitalized the area creating a wonderful asset to bring visitors to this area. What is unique about the Third Street Promenade, it is only a couple of blocks from the beach and pier.
I am not an expert on shopping in Santa Monica, but if you are not eighter I suggest going to the Third Street Promenade, it is a shopping street with a mall at the south end, so you should be pretty much covered for shopping :)
You could find virtually anything mainstream in Santa Monica but there were not many one of a kind shops here. Also in the Mall we were surprised by the numerous empty shops.
What to buy We were after souveniers and cheap clothes that we had been told we would find everywhere in America. We were somewhat disappointed with it all until we got to Las Vegas really.
What to pay We were expecting big discounts on Australian prices and this we found. At the Body Shop tubs of cream were half the price we pay.
While 3rd Street Promenade did have some of the trendy brands in the fashion business such as Bebe, Armani Exchange, Abercrombie & Fitch, Express, and others, I did see many private stores with some innovative fashions from obscure labels- this is especially popular amongst women trying to discover a new look. So, dip into those unfamiliar store names- you might come out with a very unique look!
What to buy High fashion galore. I wish Miami would transform Lincoln Ave into this! The website below lists the stores.
What to pay Check your Credit Card limit before you binge on Santa Monica fashions!
The third street promenade was cool because its several blocks of stores and shops which you can get to outside. ANd on the outskirts of this, there is a large mall as well, called Santa Monica place. Santa Monica is a shopaholic's dream!
You can start shopping in Santa Monica Place (An American Mall/Shopping Centre) and then take a look on Third Street Promenade. You will be able to satisfy all your shopping needs. If you are coming from Europe it's great to take advantage of the cheaper prices.
Opening hours for Santa Monica Place:
Monday - Saturday 10am - 9pm
Sunday 11am - 6pm
What to buy Clothes, shoes, music, books, computers, (nice apple shop there). You can go to the cinema, eat out or just enjoy some street performers.
What to pay Take lots of money. :)
Well.. the best place I can think of to do this "activity" is Santa Monica Place. They have Gap, Victoria's Secrest :D, to name a couple. If you step onto the promenade, then you'll have stretches of shops waiting for you. Puzzle Zoo is one of the shops that always attract me, they have many weird but fun stuff to look at. Ex. R2D2, casts of star wars, Lord of the Rings and many more.
What to buy I'm not sure about this one, but you should definitely get sunglasses if you're around this area as the sun gets really bright when it's sunny :D
What to pay Depending what type of a shopper you are. But if you're uncontrollable.. all I can say is that you won't be spending a smuch as you would in Beverly Hills hehe