Twenty minutes west of downtown Los Angeles and nestled along the Pacific, Santa Monica is both a cultural oasis and the ultimate beach town. It’s also walkable so you can maximize your time enjoying the sunshine.
Santa Monica’s beachfront stretches over five kilometres and it’s home to the iconic Santa Monica Pier, santamonicapier.org. The pier’s Pacific Park features carnival games and rides, including the flagship solar-powered Ferris wheel and an historic merry go-round, plus restaurants and shops.
On the south side of the pier, you’ll find the Original Muscle Beach. It dates back to the 1930s and, back in the day, acrobatic and gymnastics exhibitions were held on site. What’s more, famous bodybuilders worked out there on weightlifting equipment. Today there’s an outdoor gym area with ropes, parallel bars, swings and more, so you can have some fun and flex what you’ve got for the world to see.
Just east of the Pier, you’ll discover another gem: the 3rd Street Promenade. Comprised of three open-air, pedestrian blocks, with everything from farm-fresh produce to fashion, it’s home to Santa Monica Place and its 80-plus retailers, along with a tantalizing collection of clubs and restaurants.
Don’t miss the chance to dine at Elephante, elephantela.com, a popular rooftop restaurant and bar serving California-Italian cuisine and craft cocktails. The spectacular ocean views, ambience and excellent food make it a fun experience.
For a classic California beach day, you can look to Santa Monica Picnic Co, santamonicapicnicco.com, for the ultimate picnic by the water. Everything from food and drink to furnishings, lighting and tableware are included in one of the packages. As for accommodations, the Oceana Santa Monica, hoteloceanasantamonica.com, is a welcoming suites-only boutique hotel with perks ranging from complimentary beachfront yoga to beach cruisers.