Get a jump on your Santa Monica sightseeing with this easy to plan morning itinerary.

Here’s a conundrum: It’s 7 in the morning and your red-eye from Auckland just touched down at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), but your hotel room won’t be ready until noon. What to do? Luckily in Santa Monica, it’s easy to hit the ground running – and get straight to the good stuff. Step one: Call your hotel concierge, who will happily hold your bags until check-in time. With your load lightened, you can start exploring.

Make a plan – But first, coffee

Situated on laid-back Main Street, Dogtown Coffee serves house-roasted beans with a side of SoCal history: Inside you’ll find skateboard decks from the legendary Dogtown and Z-Boys crew. Just down the street, the Santa Monica Visitor Information Center opens at 9:00 a.m. and is loaded with information on touring the town by foot, bus, and bike.


Leisure Time

Ready for a stroll? Palisades Park is tough to beat. Take in the sweeping vistas of the Santa Monica Pier jutting out into the Pacific, then drop into Cora’s Coffee Shoppe, a tucked-away local favorite, for breakfast amid a lush patio.



Get Active

Start those endorphins with a stop at the Santa Monica Bike Center to rent some wheels for the day. From there it’s a quick pedal to the Santa Monica Pier, where you can hashtag your arrival at the “End of the Trail” Route 66 sign overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean. For an all-American breakfast, try the venerable Pier Burger for bacon, egg and cheese goodness—not to mention doughnuts, pastries and the rest of their regular menu.


Kidding Around

Got little ones in tow? Head straight to Tongva Park for a playground equipped with slides, water sprayers, and mini-climbing structures. On Wednesdays and Saturdays, Downtown Santa Monica hosts a Santa Monica Farmers Market, a must for all-ages with entertainment and great food.


Recharge Your Batteries

What better way to kick jet lag to the curb than with a facial or a massage (or both)? Located near Downtown Santa Monica in Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Exhale Spa specializes in all things pampering. Afterward, nourish your insides with a fresh-squeezed treat from Nékter Juice Bar.





Mentioned in this article

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Cora’s Coffee Shoppe
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Dogtown Coffee
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Downtown Farmers Market
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Exhale Mind Body Spa
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Nekter Juice Bar
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Palisades Park
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Santa Monica Bike Center
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Santa Monica Walk-In Visitor Information Center
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Tongva Park