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Things to do in Santa Monica

Santa Monica makes a scenic and comfortable launching pad for anything you might want to do in the Los Angeles area, whether you're taking a day trip to Disneyland, exploring Hollywood or seeing the Knicks play during basketball season. But there are some things to do in Santa Monica and its environs as well:

  • Make the most of the Pier. The small but refreshingly old school amusement park in the Santa Monica Pier is open year round. On Thursday nights in the summer, you can also enjoy free concerts from 7 until 10 p.m.
  • Walk down to Venice Beach. One of the nicest things to do in Santa Monica is to walk down the beachside paths. Venice's street performers, boardwalk-style cuisine and the attention-seeking folks at Muscle Beach make for a festive afternoon.
  • Venture into Beverly Hills. Beverly Hills is a short drive east, where Rodeo Drive and the surrounding neighborhoods are a feast for the eyes and a nice way to feel like you're paying bargain prices back in Santa Monica.
  • Shop. The Third Street Promenade hosts a mix of national and SoCal chains (need some surf gear?) as well as fountains and street performers, but you will find quirkier options (and more locals) on Main Street and Montana Ave.
  • People-watch at the farmers market. Even if you're not cooking during your vacation, this is a great place to pick up some delicious fresh-fruit snacks, like Rainier cherries in the summer, and also do some prime people watching, as local celebrity chefs are known to shop here.
  • Lounge at the Annenberg Community Beach House. The private beachfront estate, which William Randolph Hearst had built for actress Marion Davies, is now a public beach with a play area for children, as well as sand-sports courts and a pool.
  • Plan a kid-friendly outing. If you're looking for things to do in Santa Monica with your kids, besides just playing on the beach and the Pier, visit the Santa Monica Aquarium. You can also rent bikes and pedal along the beach paths.
  • 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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