Santa Monica Sample Itineraries
Whether you're visiting for a half day or on an extended stay, here are a few suggestions for things to see and do during your time in Santa Monica, California:
Beach Chic on a Budget - Three days, two nights for under $600
From budget-friendly accommodations to activities without the cost, experience Santa Monica without breaking the bank with help from SMCVB's new "Beach Chic on a Budget itinerary".
Grab a Bike! - Self-Guided Tours through Santa Monica:
Get a bike's-eye view through Santa Monica's sights and sounds using the following bike-friendly itineraries.
Spend a Day (or Two)
Be a Family:
Kids sure have a lot of energy and Santa Monica is the perfect place for them to use it all!
- First, you’ll want to visit Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. Clean and safe, this amusement park features a ferris wheel, miniature golf course, numerous kids’ rides and carnival games – all with an unbeatable ocean view.
- If your visit to the park hasn’t tired the kids out, why not head to the beach for some boogie boarding and swimming? Boogie boards and other beach supplies can be rented at Perry’s Café, which has 4 beachfront locations in Santa Monica.
- While the kids are playing, pamper yourself by renting Perry’s Beach Butler service, which includes 2 chaise lounge chairs, an umbrella, a cooler of water and a butler to set it all up for you!
- After the beach, everyone’s probably going to be pretty hungry. Stop by any one of these family friendly restaurants: Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, Rusty’s Surf Ranch, the Omelette Parlor or Hot Dog on a Stick (the original is located just South of the Pier).
- A visit to Santa Monica would not be complete without a stroll down the Third Street Promenade. This pedestrian-only street offers all forms of entertainment – street performers, movie theaters, restaurants, big name retailers, galleries and of course, people watching!
Be a Celebrity:
Spend the day in the lap of luxury, just like the celebrities do. Whether they come to visit or they live up the street, many celebrities choose to spend time in Santa Monica for its ocean views, innovative cuisine and amazing shopping.
- Start your day out with breakfast and a mimosa at Coast, the beachfront restaurant inside the infamous hotel, Shutters on the Beach.
- After you’ve fueled yourself for the day with organic delights, give your credit card a workout on Montana Avenue. This is the street you often see in celebrity gossip magazines as celebrities come here for shopping, strolling with their friends and having lunch. Montana offers a number of individually owned home, fashion, kids and beauty boutiques in addition to larger brands like Kiehl’s, Shabby Chic, Michael Stars and Lucky Brand Jeans.
- Next you’ll want to ensure you look fabulous in the new clothes you bought, so get a beachfront workout by hiring a personal trainer or taking a yoga class on the sand.
- Reward yourself afterward with a spa treatment at Exhale Spa or Burke Williams.
- Up for a truly unique adventure? Get one of the best views of the sunset, the ocean and Santa Monica by taking a ride in an old-fashioned, open-air three-seater biplane. The pilot sits in the back so you and a friend can enjoy the view as if you were the one flying the plane!
- Next up is a delicious dinner at one of the many gourmet restaurants that attract celebrity clientele, including Ivy at the Shore, The Penthouse, Melisse, The Lobster, Chinois on Main or Whist.
- After your dinner, soak up some of Santa Monica’s sizzling nightlife. A great place to start (and maybe end) your night is at the Viceroy hotel, which has a happening poolside scene after dark, and rumor has it that Britney Spears applied to be a bartender here. To really get the VIP treatment, rent one of their cabanas with a group of friends.
Be a Local:
One of the best places to run into local residents, chefs and foodies is at one of Santa Monica’s four weekly farmer’s markets, where you can find amazing produce, flowers, cheeses, meats, fish and crafts.
- Head to Main Street next, which has a number of eco-friendly and individually owned boutiques along with locals who love to stroll up and down the street and rub elbows with their neighbors. If you’re hungry or need a coffee, you have a choice of Amelia’s, the Victorian or Urth Café, which all have fantastic coffee and delicious nibbles.
- Next head to Yoga Works for some mind body exercise. The Studio retains much of the charm and character of its locale-it is friendly, laid back and draws a diverse and eclectic group of students.
- If you’re interested in seeing some cutting-edge art, make sure you visit Bergamot Station, the largest collection of art galleries in Los Angeles. At Bergamot Station you can park once and visit 40 different galleries. They also have an excellent café if you need a bite and a break in between gallery visits.
- For more arts and culture, don’t miss the newly opened Broad Stage, described as “artistic intimacy meets acoustic dream meets the Westside”. The intimate (only 500 seats!) theater is backed by Dustin Hoffman and offers musicals, operas, dance, theater, lectures and more.
- When you’re hungry check out any of these casual local favorites: Chez Jay, Father’s Office, Cha Cha Chicken, Via Veneto and The Galley.