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Santa Monica Attractions

Things to Do in Santa Monica, CA

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Santa Monica is not just another LA neighborhood. It is a city with its own civic and commercial center. It is one of the most popular and accessible beaches for Angelenos and visitors. It also has several popular shopping districts, great restaurants and nightlife and an interesting art scene.

Santa Monica Pier

Enjoying the Santa Monica Pier
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Santa Monica Pier is home to Pacific Park, a mini-amusement park with a Ferris Wheel, a small roller coaster, a carousel and a food court. It is also home to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, the New York Trapeze School and several restaurants. Summer concerts are held on the end of the pier.

Check out my Guide to Things to Do at the Santa Monica Pier or take a Video Tour of Santa Monica Pier,

Santa Monica Beach

Volleyball on Santa Monica Beach
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Other than what's going on at the pier, Santa Monica Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the LA area for just enjoying the sun, surf and sand, and well as many other activities you can do on the beach or on the water.

Santa Monica Beach Guide
Things to Do at the Beach
Guide to Los Angeles Beaches

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a small Aquarium of Pacific sea life located at the foot of the Santa Monica Pier.

Third Street Promenade

Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica
Photo © 2005 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Third Street Promenade is one of the LA area's favorite pedestrian shopping zones. Street performers provide a festive atmosphere evenings, weekends and daily during the summer. Unfortunately, many of the unique shops and food stalls that gave the Promenade its charm have been replaced by chain stores and restaurant franchises.

Video Tour of 3rd Street Promenade.

Bergamot Station

Bergamot Station in Santa Monica
Photo © 2008 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
2525 Michigan Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Bergamot Station is a complex of upscale art galleries in former industrial warehouse space in Santa Monica. You have to know where you are going to find it, since it's in an out-of-the-way area, but if you're a contemporary art fan, it should be high on your list of places to visit.

Video Tour of Bergamot Station

Santa Monica Museum of Art

Santa Monica Museum of Art
Photo © 2008 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Santa Monica Museum of Art is a small museum at Bergamot Station that presents interesting temporary exhibits of primarily contemporary art with complementary programming.

Main Street Santa Monica

Main Street in Santa Monica also suffers a bit from chain-store overload, but still has a good selection of locally owned shops, restaurants and bars, including classic's like Wolfgang Puck's Chinois on Main.

California Heritage Museum

California Heritage Museum is a historic residence in the heart of Main Street that presents exhibits of American decorative and fine arts.

Bike or Skate the Beach Path

Biking at the Santa Monica Pier
Photo © 2009 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
There are plenty of places to rent bikes or skates to spend an hour or all day biking or skating along the miles of paved beach path south as far as Redondo Beach and north to Malibu. There are at least three bike and skate rental shops with varying equipment right on or near the Santa Monica Pier.

Bike Rental Locations in Santa Monica

Surfing

Surfing Lesson in Santa Monica
Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
Surfing is allowed between lifeguard towers 18 and 20 (Pico Blvd. and Bay St.), and between 28 and 29 (Ashland Ave. and Pier St.). There are surf schools and private instructors for beginners through advanced surfers, and rental equipment available. Always check with lifeguards before surfing.

Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place Mall
Photo © 2010 Kayte Deioma, licensed to About.com
395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Santa Monica Place has some unique shopping and dining opportunities, sometimes disguised behind familiar names. Bloomingdales and Nordstroms at Santa Monica Place both carry fashions and accessories by local designers, and Bloomingdales has over 100 pieces of original art on display. Rooftop dining elevates a variety of cuisines to a memorable experience.
Related Video
Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica

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