Find fun-filled, action-packed recommendations to optimize your Santa Monica vacation.



10 Places to Watch the Sunset

The Lobster (1602 Ocean Avenue) - Just south of the Pier entrance sign, this restaurant overlooks the Pier, Pacific Park, the beach and the ocean

Loews Santa Monica Beach Pool Deck (1700 Ocean Avenue) - Overlook the ocean and Santa Monica Pier while lounging poolside

Mariasol Restaurant (end of Santa Monica Pier) - A view that makes you feel as if you own the world

Pacific Wheel (Pacific Park) - A breathtaking ocean view from atop the ferris wheel

Palisades Park - A lushly landscaped balcony of a park on top of the city's famous red sandstone bluffs

The Penthouse (Huntley Santa Monica Beach, 1111 Second Street) - A white interior sets a contrast to the azures of the sky and sea. It offers stunning views of the ocean, Santa Monica Mountains, and the city

Santa Monica Mountains - For the most natural of "up high" viewing spots

Santa Monica Pier (end of Colorado Avenue, at Ocean Avenue) - From the western end, there's only a few hundred miles of Pacific Ocean between you and the setting sun

Singing Beach Chairs (Santa Monica State Beach, North of Pico Boulevard) - Grab a seat on the beach beside these permanent sculptures created by Douglas Hollis. It's like having your own melodic, musical score to a perfect ending of the day

Sonoma Wine Garden (395 Santa Monica Place, #300) - Just you, a glass of wine and an amazing bird's eye view of Santa Monica Beach

10 FREE Places to Go and Things to Do

Self-Guided Tours - Free maps are available (most are downloadable) of Santa Monica's Design District; galleries, murals, public installations and other art sites and venues; historic and notable architecture.

South Bay Bicycle Trail - This oceanfront trail stretches through spectacular Southern California coastal scenery

Muscle Beach - This is the original Muscle Beach; great for adults and kids

International Chess Park - This open-air chess venue makes for an unforgettable match, whether you're playing or just watching

City Hall - Bring a blanket and enjoy Jazz On The Lawn, Sundays in August

Santa Monica Civic Auditorium - Award-winning Santa Monica Symphony presents four concerts a year at no charge

The Beach - Stroll, swim, surf, sun, snack, skate or cycle

Camera Obscura - Italian for "dark room," camera obscura consists of a revolving turret on the roof (you can rotate it by means of an old ship's wheel inside) which captures an image of the surrounding landscape and reflects it onto a table (enter through the Senior Center)

Twilight Concert Series at The Pier - Brings top-name performers to the pier for free open-air concerts Thursday nights from late July through Labor Day weekend

Santa Monica Drive-In Movies at The Pier - Plays during the Summer months. The movies are projected onto a huge screen in the open air. Admission is free but tickets are required; these can be obtained at any Santa Monica Visitor Center location

Check our calendar of events for the latest information on special events in Santa Monica.



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