When many hear “green travel” they think of camping in the wilderness, but in Santa Monica you don’t have sacrifice the indulgences of luxury travel in order to “go green.” Santa Monica provides many eco-friendly restaurants, hotels, attractions and transportation alternatives so you can travel guilt-free and protect the destination you love to visit.
Annenberg Community Beach House
A short and refreshing bike ride just north of the Santa Monica Pier is Annenberg Community Beach house – the country’s first/only public beach club and a Gold LEED certified building that used recycled blue jeans for insulation. This public facility is located on five acres of oceanfront property that was initially developed during the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. Today, visitors can take a dip in the same original marble pool where the old Hollywood elite did, play volleyball, have lunch, take yoga classes and learn about Santa Monica history with free docent tours at the Marion Davies Guest House.
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Featuring hands-on presentations and interactive exhibits, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a part of Santa Monica’s own “Heal the Bay” program – an initiative to educate, inspire and empower its visitors to be stewards of the environment. General admission is $5 per person; kids ages 12 and under are free; groups of 10 or more are charged $3 per person, regardless of age.
The architect responsible for New York City’s celebrated High Line Park, James Corner Field Operations, has designed Tonga Park’s six-acre urban oasis just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy Santa Monica’s architectural park for winding walkways, observation decks, picnic tables and ample open grass. The modern green space faces the ocean and is centrally located, making it accessible.
Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier
Named by Travel + Leisure as one of the “World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels,” the 13-story Pacific Wheel is the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel. From a seat on the Pacific Wheel, visitors and locals alike take in panoramic views of the Los Angeles coastline and mountains from more than 185 feet above the Santa Monica Pier. The Ferris wheel’s 174,000 energy-efficient LED lights create a 85-foot high computer-generated light show for nighttime beach-goers to enjoy.
The Shore Hotel is the newest addition to Ocean Avenue and the Santa Monica coastline. The Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified property offers eco-friendly accommodations with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean in addition to a variety of fantastic amenities. Guests can enjoy an outdoor pool and patio, a fitness center, state-of-the-art meeting and special events spaces and a green concierge, the hotel’s own local expert on all things eco-friendly.
“Biketineraries” and the South Bay Bicycle Trail
Whether guests are interested in sightseeing, exercise or a little bit of both, Santa Monica has created a selection of ‘biketineraries’ to explore the local area. Each self-guided tour includes maps and easy-to-follow directions and has been created under a different theme including: arts, wellness, vintage shopping and sustainability. Alternatively, visitors can soak in some of Santa Monica’s beach culture along the 22-mile South Bay Bicycle Trail, the world’s longest oceanfront bike path and stunning views of the Pacific coastline.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Named the best in the country by Travel + Leisure, the farmers’ market sets the tone for Santa Monica dining. With nearly 200 different growers and food purveyors at the beach city’s four weekly farmers markets, Santa Monica continues to attract famous chefs who value locally grown food and the celebrities and foodies who want to explore the diverse culinary offerings.
The Lobster is located at the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier and this green certified business offers fresh seafood, panoramic ocean views and solar panels on the roof.
Santa Monica Place
Gold LEED certified, Santa Monica Place delivers three levels of exciting retail and dining. From the West Coast’s only SoHo concept Bloomingdale’s to an innovative Nordstrom concept store and an array of the city’s best shops – Louis Vuitton, Burberry Brit, Barneys Co-op, Tory Burch, Tiffany & Co. and more – Santa Monica Place is the epicenter of relaxed, celebrity-inspired style. Food takes the cake on the Dining Deck with exciting sit-down restaurants and a modern food court – all served with beautiful ocean and city views.
Also known as the “Green Light District,” this eclectic street is where the locals go. It oozes laidback beach lifestyle and a commitment to sustainability – this street has the more certified green businesses than any other in Santa Monica, and is also home to a community garden. You’ll find boutiques, design galleries, cafes, bars, restaurants and more.
Alchemie Spa is a local spa retreat guided by the mantra of “the outer beauty of inner peace.” This green boutique spa uses organic products whenever possible, in addition to environmentally-friendly packaging. Even better – for every Alchemie product sold, the spa plants one tree.
To view a full list of green hotels, attractions, retailers and restaurants in Santa Monica, click here.