The Santa Monica Airport—which services private and charter planes—has long been home to an aviation museum, the Museum of Flying. First opened in 1974, the museum was completely refurbished in 2012 and houses a trove of historic aircraft and a modern flight simulator. Other attractions include a garden of native plants, a twice-monthly antique market, two restaurants, and two observation decks. To the north Ocean Park Boulevard runs all the way from the sand to the city’s eastern edge. Tucked among the numerous residences, you’ll find delicious, locally owned restaurants, some of the city’s best shops, and aviation-themed Clover Park’s spacious recreational fields and green spaces. By Elizabeth Jenkins
Hearty plates of brioche French toast, turkey meatloaf sandwiches, and red velvet cake draw crowds from far and wide at Thyme Café & Market. Late for your flight out of Santa Monica Airport? Grab gourmet-to-go goodies such as beef brisket and lobster potpie. At Shaka Shack Burgers choices like Kobe beef or grass-fed Angus take burgers to next-level territory. Feel-good options (think portobello mushroom or black-bean-and-corn patties) are also solid, and everything gets served with house-made fries. At O.P. Café in-season, local ingredients are used throughout the menu, and most entrées cost less than $10. Adjacent to the airport runway, the patio at Spitfire Grill is the ideal place to watch planes come and go while enjoying a plate of pancakes, fish tacos, or specialty meatloaf.
Goods supports artisans from around the globe by stocking everything from Tunisian bath towels to Spanish leather bracelets, all at fair-trade prices. The brainchild of clothing designer Brooke Rodd, Jellyfish is a one-stop apparel shop for men, women, and children. In addition to her own beachy chic designs, Rodd’s shop sells jewelry and home goods. After 13 years in Venice, Minnie T’s relocated to Ocean Park Santa Monica, with plenty of loyal customers in tow. The popular clothing boutique favors natural fibers and stocks numerous local labels, such as the Perfext and Anarkh.
Clover Park spans more than 18 acres outfitted with lighted baseball and soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, and picnic areas. If you’ve got energy to spare, there’s also a sand volleyball court, fitness course, and walking path, as well as a tower for kids to climb inside. At the Museum of Flying aviation lovers can browse art and exhibits and study World War II–era aircraft and a Wright Flyer replica, among others. Santa Monica Yoga is located in the center of Ocean Park’s commercial district and offers a range of yoga, prenatal, and Pilates mat classes. With three separate studio spaces, it’s able to offer as many as 15 classes per day, and drop-ins are always welcome.
Stop by Bob’s Market on the weekends for a barbecue sandwich on the outdoor patio. Grab a seat at Spitfire Grill on the weekends, and you can watch soccer games happening across the street at the Santa Monica Airport Park.