California Coastal Spotlight: Santa Monica

California Coastal Spotlight: Santa Monica

By Alejandra Saragoza | Photos by Brin Hanson January 27, 2020

Bordered by sandy beaches on one side and lush mountains on the other, Santa Monica is an idyllic destination along the Southern California coastline, often serving as a picturesque haven for Angelenos seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of downtown L.A. When you reach this charming coastal city situated above the boho-spirited scene of Venice Beach and below the trendy enclave of Malibu, all the stress and malaise seem to magically dissipate as you soak up the sun, breathe in the salt-kissed air, and admire the natural wonders surrounding you. 

The walkable community offers pristine swaths of sand, world-class shopping, coveted culinary experiences, cultural attractions, compelling historical landmarks, and—thanks to the famed seaside amusement park—endless opportunities for family-friendly fun. So, stay for an entire weekend to get a true taste of the Santa Monica lifestyle and fully revel in the relaxing environs.

Here’s a glimpse into this quintessential California beach town and its most iconic attractions.

Situated on the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park offers thrilling rides, indulgent food, and stunning coastal views.
The seaside amusement park features 12 rides and a wide variety of carnival games.
The park boasts the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel and the West Coast's sole steel roller coaster overlooking the ocean.
Pacific Park welcomes millions of annual visitors, who come from across the state and country.
Beach Burger dishes up juicy hamburgers, hot dogs, crispy fries, and creamy milkshakes.
Pier Burger is another beloved snack shack on the pier, offering frozen custard and concretes in addition to burger-joint staples.
The Third Street Promenade is a popular alfresco shopping center in the heart of downtown Santa Monica.
Spanning three blocks, the Third Street Promenade offers everything from luxury stores to boutique shops.
Six topiary structures known as "The Dinosaurs of Santa Monica" can be seen throughout the shopping area.
The bustling thoroughfare is lined with trees, which bring a calming aesthetic to the bustling shopping district.
Aside from shopping, this pedestrian zone also offers several games and outdoor seating areas for soaking up the scenery.
Street performers provide a festive atmosphere on evenings, weekends, and daily during the summer.
Santa Monica Beach boasts 3.5 miles of soft, pristine shores.
Rent a bike and take in the gorgeous coastal views from the iconic 26-Mile Bike Path.
Situated right across from the beach, The Bungalow Santa Monica provides a posh space to sit back, relax, and enjoy the vistas with a drink in hand.
The beautiful, breezy spaces beckons with its relaxed environs and stunning setting.
Vibrant murals and public art adorn many Santa Monica buildings, adding to the city's vivacious energy.

WRITTEN BY
Alejandra Saragoza

WRITTEN BY Alejandra Saragoza

Alejandra is the managing editor of California.com. She's a California native based in the Bay Area and enjoys writing about all things food and travel related. Her work can also be seen in Diablo, T…

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