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Things to do in Santa Monica

From classic must-see sights to insider hot spots and local haunts, there are countless things to do in Santa Monica. How do you decide? Start with our travel guide and get our favorite Santa Monica attractions and activities—shops, museums, parks, nightclubs, coffee shops, tours, and more.

Our international team of editors and writers handpick the best things to do in Santa Monica to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences. Whether a hidden boutique with handcrafted products, a popular local festival, a bakery with a cult following, or a picnic-worthy park, Travel + Leisure guides the way, providing information and inspiration. From beaches and bars to cultural attractions and up-and-coming neighborhoods, our list will help you make the most of your romantic getaway, family vacation, or trip with friends. Below find Travel + Leisure’s top picks for what to do in Santa Monica.

  • Copa D’Oro

    Just around the corner from the Third Street Promenade, this cocktail lounge caters to a more mature crowd than its neighboring sports bars and pub... More
  • Ilene Koenig

    Years as Agent: 27. Specialties: Switzerland, winter sports. Fee: From $175. More
  • Learn to Surf LA

    Learn to Surf provides group and private lessons from Malibu to Manhattan Beach, year-round. Santa Monica’s Lifeguard Tower 18 is home to Surf Camp... More

  • 201309-a-local-experts-los-angeles-flea-markets-santa-monica-airport-outdoor-antique-market_standard_thumb

    Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique & Collectibles Market

    Shopping at this distinctive market is like raiding a large, elegant estate sale. You'll find everything to lavishly feather your nest, from shabby... More
  • Santa Monica Beach

    Perhaps the most unusual designee in this year’s 10 Best Public Spaces, this 3.5-mile stretch of public beach just west of Los Angeles draws millio... More
  • Santa Monica Civic Center Parking Structure

    Isn’t the very idea—a LEED_certified parking garage—oxymoronic and perverse?Architect James Mary O'Connor's firm, Moore Ruble Yudell, talked the Sa... More
  • Santa Monica Farmers' Market

    The Spread: The biggest and oldest of Santa Monica's weekly markets (there are three others) is this Wednesday gathering downtown. Most of L.A.'s t... More
  • Santa Monica Pier

    Near the western terminus of historic Route 66, this old-timey seaside amusement park has an enduring, if kitschy, popularity. Untold thousands of ... More
  • The Penthouse at the Huntley Santa Monica Beach Hotel

    In a suburb comprising mostly low-level shops and two-story homes, this ultramodern 18th-floor hotel bar is an unexpected gem. Here, guests and loc... More
  • Voda

    Vodka specialists More

Explore things to do in Los Angeles for more options.


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