Whenever the name Santa Monica is mentioned, what crosses the mind of most people is its beach and famous pier. While this notion is true, there’s are many other things to do in Santa Monica, especially if you’re not a beach person.
Apart from its attractions, the warmth of the town is hard to ignore, and it would take only a few days before you settle in and start feeling like a local. If you’re still unsure of what to do when on a visit Santa Monica, here are eight things you can look forward to.
Visit Santa Monica Pier
One of the things you should add to your bucket list when next you’re in Santa Monica is to visit the Santa Monica Pier. The pier offers Pacific Park, a mini-amusement park with a red and yellow Ferris wheel which is a city icon. There are also a plethora of restaurants, bars, and souvenirs for your delight. Other popular attractions on the pier include the Trapeze School of New York (TSNY), a carousel and the Playland Arcade which is packed with over 200 games.
Explore the Santa Monica Beach
Two prominent features that make Santa Monica Beach different from other Southern California shorelines are its sheer extent and its golden, well-maintained sand. The beach is clean and so is its water which makes for grade-A fun like swimming, surfing, sunbathing and beachcombing. You can also play a volleyball game on the beach or square up against an opponent in some seaside chess.
Visit Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Located at beach level under the historic Carousel, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium runs as a non –profit “Heal the Bay” program. The program is aimed at educating, inspiring and empowering visitors to be stewards of the environment. While the aquarium is not as large as the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium boasts more than 100 sea animals (some of which you can touch) and plants.
Bike the Strand
The Marvin Braude Beach Trail which is also known through Santa Monica as The Strand or The South Bay Bicycle Trail is a 22-mile paved trail runs from Santa Monica to Torrance Beach in the South while passing through Venice, Hermosa and Redondo Beach. You can rent bicycles, bikes and other equipment right on or near the Santa Monica Pier.
Shop at Third Street Promenade
If you’re looking to shop in Santa Monica, one of the best places you should check out is the Third Street Promenade which is only two blocks away from the city’s beaches. Shop in the evenings, and you just may be lucky to watch the street performers provide a festive atmosphere. Some of Promenade’s charms include its food stalls and open-air shops which continuously attract locals and visitors alike.
Shop at Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica Place is another fantastic shopping destination as it offers a unique shopping experience as well as dining opportunities. Anchored by Bloomingdales and Nordstrom, Santa Monica Place is your best bet if you’re looking to get some designer clothes and accessories made by local designers. There’s also a rooftop dining to help make the evening a memorable one.
Explore the Museum of Flying
Located right on or near the Santa Monica Airport is the Museum of Flying which was founded by Donald Douglas Jr., a former president of the Douglas Aircraft Company. The museum features historic planes, models, and replicas while also offering you the opportunity to climb into the cockpit of a FedEx plane.
Embrace the unique Arts and Culture
Santa Monica has a rich heritage of arts as it boasts more than 75 museums and art galleries. However, you don’t need to step into a museum to realize that Santa Monica is a town that embraces arts and culture as there is a plethora of public art and sculpture. Some of the must-see art attractions are Camera Obscura Art Lab, L&M Arts, and Bergamot.
Finally, if you want to have a memorable vacation that will leave you with a lifetime experience then, visiting Santa Monica should be your next vacation destination.