Santa Monica has always had a history of being the place for the rich and powerful. In the past, the likes of Will Rogers, Greta Garbo, Harold Lloyd, Mae West, Louis B. Mayer, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, and William Randolph Hearst lived and mingled with rich visitors in the area. These days, you’re just as likely to see residents such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Ted Danson and Mary Steenbergen, Jane Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Tom Selleck dining in restaurants and shopping in many of the stores.
Santa Monica is home to many major landmarks which attract sightseers to the community. There’s the Parkhurst Building, which was constructed by a former mayor of the city, Charles Parkhurst, and was designated a historical landmark in 1978. There’s the Miramar Hotel, which still exists today as a luxury hotel, which used to also be the home to stars such as Greta Garbo, its first resident after it was built. There’s the Miles Playhouse, built in 1929 and still used today to put on theater productions. And finally, the Looff Hippodrome, built in 1916 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987, built in a fantasy style with what looks like a merry-go-round on top of the building, and reminds people of what they imagined the Old West would have looked like if every community had a lot of money. And you can’t visit Santa Monica without going to Santa Monica Pier, which is loaded with amusement park attractions, shops, and restaurants.
Of course, Santa Monica is really known for its beach, aptly named Santa Monica Beach, which of course access the Pacific Ocean. With an average of 340 sunny days a year and a very temperate climate, it’s the perfect getaway for swimming, surfing, fishing and beach volleyball. There’s usually an ocean breeze which adds to the comfort, and the beach is kept very clean.
Finally, there’s some of the most spectacular houses in the world in Santa Monica. Many of them are older homes that have been refurbished and updated. There’s the Niemeyer-Strick home, built in 1964 by Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect who won the 1988 Pritzker Prize for design, but was originally not allowed to have his name on the permits because he supported communism at the time. There’s the Zuni House, built in 1923 in the style of Mayan architecture. And you have the Marion Davies Estate, which was built by William Randolph Hearst right on the ocean front for movie star Marion Davies.
Though Santa Monica is home to the rich and famous, the city also keeps a record of what they call “affordable units”, which can be obtained from any redevelopment agencies in the area. Consumers can find rental properties or regular residential properties all over the city, but most of it isn’t cheap. You will find multi-million dollar homes in Santa Monica, mainly close to the beach, and the prices will range from upwards of $8 million down to $290,000 for homes in the area. Leasing will average around $2,500 if people wish to go that route.