The Americas

Santa Monica Must Do Attractions

Reading time: 4 minutes

Santa Monica is the perfect beach town. Santa Monica manages the ideal balance of seaside charm and coastal sophistication. This makes it an entirely attractive travel destination. At just 8.3 square miles, you’ll find Santa Monica to be very walkable, yet with a laid-back warmth to it.

Santa Monica Beach


This is what October at the beach looks like.

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

Although a very popular Southern Californian attraction, the beach is also very large (3.5 miles long) which provides plenty of room for summer crowds. Manned lifeguard stations, paved walkways, restrooms and restaurants are plentiful and easy to find.


Bikes and beach is so Santa Monica! Have you taken a spin on our city’s bike share yet? photo by @breezebikeshare

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

The Marvin Braude Bike Trail, also known as The South Bay Bicycle Trail or The Strand, is a 22-mile long, paved trail that starts in Santa Monica and finishes at the Torrance County Beach while passing through Venice, Hermosa and Redondo beach. Bicycle rentals, bike tours and hotel loaner programs are available for visitors.

Surfing and Paddleboarding

#Surfsup! What’s your boarding style – surfboard or bodyboard?

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Bay St., just south of Hotel Casa del Mar is a popular surf spot because of easy accessibility, a sandy beach break and a spread out line up (not too crowded). Rentals and lessons adjacent to the beach offer beginners an introduction into surfing Southern California.

Santa Monica Pier

Pacific Park

Colorful lights and cotton candy make for a fun night out at @pacpark! photo by @clarketara

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Located on the pier, the Pacific Park amusement park features a five-story West Coaster roller coaster, the nine-story Pacific Plunge tower ride, the only over-water miniature golf course, and the nine-story Pacific Wheel ferris wheel – the only over-water ferris wheel in California, and the first solar-powered wheel in the world. More than 6 million visitors a year stop at this iconic Santa Monica attraction and popular photo spot.

Visit the Aquarium

#TravelTip: Just below the Santa Monica Pier, you will find an underwater world of wonder at the @smpieraquarium.

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is located at beach level under the historic Carousel. Featuring hands-on presentations and interactive exhibits, the Aquarium is a part of Santa Monica’s own “Heal the Bay” program, an initiative to educate, inspire and empower its visitors to be stewards of the environment.

Trapeze School Of New York

The Trapeze School of New York (TSNY) offers up a high-flying, fun-filled experience on the Santa Monica Pier. There are opportunities for everyone, from the thrill-seeker to fear-facer, athlete to couch potato, casual flyer to serious aerialist. Classes are two hours long and are taught in groups of up to 10 people. No prior experience is necessary.

Ocean Front Walk

This Monday gets a dose of bright colors and boardwalk vibes thanks to Santa Monica’s Ocean Front Walk. #discoveramerica

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

This wide, paved footpath extends south from the Pier and is lined with shops and restaurants. The kids will love the stone-walled sandbox with a concrete Viking ship in its midst. An interactive dragon’s head looming in the grass nearby rounds out this children’s attraction. A row of volleyball courts is available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Third Street Promenade

Early evening stroll meets shopping detour at the 3rd Street Promenade in @dtsantamonica.

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

A pedestrian-only, open-air shopping destination is only two blocks from the city’s beaches and is noted for its weekly farmers market, street performers and people watching along with its variety of stores.

Santa Monica Place

Anchored by Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, Santa Monica Place features a wide range of luxury and specialty shops such as Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Michael Kors and Emporio Armani as well as a third floor rooftop deck with views of the Pacific Ocean.

Farmers Market

Happy Friday! What are you excited for most this #weekend? Our answer: visiting the #farmersmarket of course.

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

Named by Travel + Leisure as the best farmers market in the county, Santa Monica’s four weekly farmers markets attract the city’s residents and local chefs with the fresh produce, flowers, meats, cheeses, nuts, fish, and more.

Arts & Culture

Santa Monica is home to more than 75 museums and art galleries; clearly this is a city that embraces culture. The abundance of public art and sculpture as well as street performers shows that all of Santa Monica’s art isn’t locked up within four walls, either. Must-visit Santa Monica attractions include L&M Arts, a branch of the New York City gallery by the same name, Bergamot Station (an old train depot containing some 35 galleries). If you’re visiting in the summer, make sure to check the calendar for live events, farmers markets, and the popular summer concert series. The variety of art and culture, along with a host of great restaurants, make Santa Monica a perfect date spot for locals and tourists alike.


#TaxDay isn’t so bad when capped off like this at @thechestnutclub!

A photo posted by Santa Monica, California (@seesantamonica) on

Stick around past sunset and you’ll find the city shifts and changes. Locals from all over the LA area head to Santa Monica, where the combination of walkable and casual make for a memorable evening no matter what the occasion. Start with happy hour on a rooftop bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean, such as Suite 700 at Hotel Shangri-La at the Ocean or Sonoma Wine Garden at Santa Monica Place, and end the night dancing at Circle Bar or Bar Copa, or sidled up to the counter at one of the city’s dive bars, such as Chez Jay.

Originally posted on Visit them to find out more.


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