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 Aquarium
is a small Aquarium of Pacific sea life located at the foot of the Santa Monica Pier.
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 Unfortunately, many of the unique shops and food stalls that gave the Promenade its charm have been replaced by chain stores and restaurant franchises.Video Tour of 3rd Street Promenade
2525 Michigan Ave.
Santa Monica, CA 90404Bergamot 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
is a small museum at Bergamot Station
that presents interesting temporary exhibits of primarily contemporary art with complementary programming.
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
is a historic residence in the heart of Main Street that presents exhibits of American decorative and fine arts.
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 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.
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.