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1920 Main St., Ste B, Santa Monica, CA 90405, United States

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 millions of people annually to watch sunsets, stroll along the beachfront paths, sunbathe, people-watch, listen to musicians, surf, or ride the 1920's carousel on Santa Monica Pier. Iconic images abound along the strand, which is recognized as the birthplace of beach culture: stilt-borne lifeguard stations, bikini-clad rollerbladers at Venice Beach, sun-bleached surfers at Malibu, body builders at Muscle Beach, leggy palm trees along Ocean Avenue, and those remarkable and unaffected sunsets over the Pacific.

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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 millions of people annually to watch sunsets, stroll along the beachfront paths, sunbathe, people-watch, listen to musicians, surf, or ride the 1920's carousel on Santa Monica Pier. Iconic images abound along the strand, which is recognized as the birthplace of beach culture: stilt-borne lifeguard stations, bikini-clad rollerbladers at Venice Beach, sun-bleached surfers at Malibu, body builders at Muscle Beach, leggy palm trees along Ocean Avenue, and those remarkable and unaffected sunsets over the Pacific.