Dear Travel Junkies:
Everything about Santa Monica is great, from hundreds of shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants to the long stretch of the white sandy beach. Take a weekend trip out to the small beachfront city of Santa Monica in western Los Angeles, California. It prides itself from popular television shows like Baywatch and Private Practice and popular movies like Iron Man and Forrest Gump. To maximize your time well spent in Santa Monica, I will include as much as I can to make it much easier to plan your very own weekend trip.
Santa Monica Pier A recreational and entertainment center for everyone of all ages. It is open all year round with no entry fee, but bring some money for the arcade games and rides. The famous pier features restaurants, retailers and an amusement park. The pier is especially great at sunset looking out to the ocean and gazing through the white sandy beach. I highly recommend riding the ferris wheel at sunset if you're into that cheesy romance like myself. It's a place that makes you happy and it always crowded with people.
Farmers' Markets The weekly farmers' market is held every Sunday at the Heritage Square and be sure to check out their annual summer Soulstice event and holiday events. You will find fresh produce and beautifully cut flowers from local, organic California farmers as well as live music, street performers, chef exhibitions, and gourmet items.
Muscle Beach An outdoor, beachside facility with a range of workout equipment. I found this really nice to have an outdoor kind of gym facility which is very convenient and accessible for the locals. I can see why living by the beach is very encouraging and motivating to stay in shape and look your best. If I lived by the beach, I'd be more encouraged to stay in shape and eat healthy. =p
Chess Park Looking for a mental workout? Take up the challenge with serious players on a game of chess at the Chess Park located south of Muscle Beach along Ocean Front Walk. Spectators are welcome.
Parks Santa Monica encompasses more than 20 public parks and each one is unique so whatever activity you are looking for, they have it. I.e. Clover Park, Joslyn Park, Marine Park, Reed Park, etc.
Santa Monica Pier entrance
On the pier
More on the pier
Santa Monica Beach
Pacific Park amusement park on the Santa Monica Pier
Reliving my childhood
Muscle Beach, notice all the exercise equipment on the beach ^^
Dinner at Sushi Roku by American Idol's Ryan Seacrest. The food was much better than I expected.
Downtown & 3rd Street Promenade Shop till you drop in Santa Monica's famous shopping district which includes national stores, name brand clothing and boutiques. Downtown Santa Monica is a well-known Southern California coastal destination, minutes away from everything.
Main Street A block away from the beach and surrounded with diverse shops, cafes, restaurants, and galleries. Enjoy the fabulous dining, weekly farmers' markets and entertaining street performers.
Mid-City If you love art like I do then you'll love this art district in the mid-city Santa Monica. It is a very ethnically diverse neighbourhood. Check out the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Bergamot Station Arts Center and 18th Street Arts Complex.
Montana Avenue North of Santa Monica offers you more shopping with unique stores, bistros, cafes, and bakeries.
Ocean Park Boulevard Gift shops and galleries as well as neighbourhood coffee shops.
Pico Boulevard is a major LA street that runs from the Pacific Ocean at Appian Way in Santa Monica to Central Avenue in Downtown LA. The long street includes major landmarks such as the Westside Pavilion mall, Fox Studios, the Staples Center, Museum of Tolerance, Santa Monica High School, Santa Monica College, and the Los Angeles Convention Center. The fashion district spans 90 blocks and is the hub of fashion industry on the west coast of the US. Don't forget to check out Santee Alley, the heavily populated back alley shopping path between Maple and Santee Streets.
Pier / Ocean Front Walk / Ocean You will find many shops and galleries all set against the ocean on the Santa Monica Pier and Ocean Avenue.
Santa Monica Place Walk about the open-air of an outdoor retail experience and dining with a fresh, modern design along with an indoor/outdoor rooftop dining deck with beautiful ocean views.
3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica Place
Ocean Front Walk