Top 10 Things to Do in Santa Monica California

The City of Santa Monica has a storied past, a who’s who and a what’s happening present and a bright future. The beachside city in Los Angeles is home to movie stars, oceanfront estates, theme parks, and vast areas of natural beauty. Santa Monica is quickly become the go-to tourist destination on the southern coast of America. Here’s a quick guide of the what-to-do if you find yourself lucky enough to be visiting this sparkling city anytime soon.

1) Santa Monica Beach. First and foremost, let’s talk about that beautiful stretch of white sandy beach that beckons just off the bluff of Ocean Boulevard. Santa Monica Beach. Known for years as the go to destination when Hollywood gets too hot, Santa Monica Beach boasts not only miles of gorgeous sand and tame waves, but also a smooth bike path that travels tens of miles along the coast. This location alone will give you days of to-do, but don’t relax too much in the sun, there’s more to Santa Monica than this famous beach.

2) Muscle Beach/Venice. Just a short bike ride or spirited walk down the bike path to the south, you’ll discover the world renown Muscle Beach and Venice Boardwalk. All types of crazies gesture for your money here: you’ll find fun houses, culture, art, trinkets, great food and bars and unique shopping. You’ll also see Muscle Beach, where Arnold used to pose and posture long before he became the terminator. Today, you’ll find a whole new generation of Bavarian body builders continuing the tradition. If you have time, reserve a paddle tennis court, strap on your sneakers and hit a few balls. This unique to California sport is like a miniature game of tennis; although smaller it more than makes up for its size in terms of pure fun and adrenaline.

3) The Pier. Located at the end of historic Route 66, the Santa Monica Pier first came into prominence way back in the late 1800’s. Named the fun pier back then, the fun part has never come out of its being. A huge Ferris wheel (lit by economically friendly solar panels at night) anchors the rear of the pier while a fun rollercoaster and merry go ’round sit amid carnival games and kid rides at the front. There are plenty of restaurants and fine dining as well as circus performers, fishing, and musical acts and shows at night to entertain you. All of this taking place 35 feet above the calm Pacific water and giving you a view back towards the sprawling city of Angels. The name of the attractions at the pier is Pacific Park.

4) Third Street Promenade. Behind Ocean Boulevard, running parallel to the stretch of beach, lays the Third Street Promenade. After a fresh coat of paint or two back in 1992, the Third Street Promenade has quickly become the go to destination for tourists and locals alike to catch a movie (there are 3 different theaters), catch a bite to eat (there are over 200 restaurants to choose from) or find that perfect pair of pants or gift. There is almost every conceivable brand name store among the 2 mile stretch of shops. And there are no vehicles (or skateboards for that matter) allowed on Third Street; it is a true pedestrian destination. A rarity in LA.

5) Santa Monica Place. Anchoring the southern end of the Third Street Promenade sits the newly renovated (and now ceiling-less) Santa Monica Place. For years, the Santa Monica Place was just another huge mall but after a spirited renovation last summer, the mall went topless and higher end establishments moved in. Now, the mall is a true extension of the Promenade and only adds to the shopping, restaurants and fun you can have in the area.

6) Santa Monica Aquarium. Located just under the Santa Monica Pier, the aquarium is a little known (or publicized) place that is great for children and adults alike.

7) Biking. Santa Monica is quickly becoming a very bike friendly city. There are literally miles of bike paths in and around the city. There are also plenty of bike rental shops around so seeing the city and getting a bit of exercise end up going hand in hand.

8) Angel’s Attic: This is a hidden gem, located on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica. The place is literally filled with hundreds of antique dolls and treasures and serves high tea. A great spot to bring little ones or whittle away a few minutes and catch your breath.

9) Santa Monica Museum of Flying. When the city started out, it was in big part not only to the seaside location but also to the small landing strip Douglas built there as a place to build small planes for the war. Hundreds of the houses in and around the city were first built to hold airline workers and their families. Now, there is a great Museum of Flying located at the Santa Monica airport which displays vintage aircraft and educates you on not only the history of flying, but the history of Santa Monica as well.

10) Palisades Park. Palisades Park is a sprawling palm tree-splattered park that sits atop the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Pier and Santa Monica Beach beyond. This 25 acre park is a great place for bikers, hikers, walkers and people watching.

There are plenty of natural and manmade things to see and do while in the tourist friendly city of Santa Monica. Hopefully this short guide serves as a jumping off point for your vacation.

Santa Monica Homes, a Great Place to Live

Santa Monica is one of the best known suburbs of Los Angeles, home to many world famous celebrities and wonderful homes. It’s a perfect place for the famous to feel as though they’ve gotten away, sitting on the shores of Santa Monica Bay, and yet are still close enough to get to work.

Santa Monica is home to the famous designer Frank Gehry’s house, which is an amalgamation of house and warehouse. Basically, Gehry took an existing small house and built into it and around it, interesting and fascinating patterns that, eventually, make the house look more like a fancily designed warehouse than the traditional stylish home that most designers would live in. Light wood, corrugated metal and chain link; definitely not traditional by any means, and yet even with such harsh aesthetics it’s a popular home for visitors to stop by and take a look.

Of course, when we want to get back to what we expect of the rich and famous, we don’t have to look any further than the house actress Julianna Margulies is trying to sell. Presently being rented by another top actress, Kyra Sedgwick, this house is on the market for $4.2 million. Built in 1927, it’s 3,235 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a living room with a beamed ceiling and wood-burning fireplace. It has an open chef’s kitchen, a den, an office-library, a swimming pool, and the detached guesthouse has one bedroom and one bathroom. It also has a three car garage.

Then we have the Britney Spears home that’s still up for sale. At $7.9 million, it’s considered as somewhat of a bargain because it’s a spacious 7,453 square feet. It’s a wonderful six-bedroom Italian renaissance inspired house in a gated community. It also has six baths, a gated motor court, a wet bar, maid’s quarters, a library and looks down into the living room, a smoking room/den, a formal dining room, a grand entrance foyer, dramatic high ceilings and carved millwork, the standard pool and a chef’s kitchen.

Of course, not only the famous own lavish homes in Santa Monica. One wonderfully large home right on the beach, a 5-room European villa style home sitting on a double lot, is up for sale right now at $16 million. It’s a 2-story courtyard style house with a retractable roof, a master bedroom suite with his and hers bathrooms, large living and dining rooms with a professional screening room and a bar on the lower level. It’s a house that was originally built in 1927 (there seems to be a pattern here), but obviously has had many modern touches added to it.

But Santa Monica is known for the stars that live there, and the houses they live in. Stars include Jamie Lee Curtis, Ted Danson, Jane Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Judge Reinhold, Jeff Bridges, Mel Brooks and Tom Selleck. Even Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lived in Santa Monica at one time before he married Maria Shriver, and still owns commercial properly there.

Santa Monica is just a spectacular community all around, and visitors gasp at the luxury and opulence of the area. Who wouldn’t want to live in this community; is the price right for you?