Experience Summer in Santa Monica

Sunny days, sandy shores and shimmering seas beckon travelers to Santa Monica this summer. The city offers visitors an unforgettable Southern California beach city experience set along 3.5 miles of stunning coastline. With 40 world-class hotels, over 400 celebrated restaurants and eight unique neighborhoods across 8.3 square miles, Santa Monica is filled with activities for every age and every budget, making it the top choice for families looking to travel this summer.

From where to go and what to eat, to where to stay and how to get around, keep reading below to discover everything a Santa Monica getaway offers on these long, warm days.

What to Do in Santa Monica

At the heart of the city is Downtown Santa Monica. The neighborhood features the famed Third Street Promenade, an open-air, pedestrian-only street featuring dozens of shops, restaurants, buzzing activities and live entertainment. Third Thursdays will begin this summer on the Promenade, bringing live music and a festival atmosphere to the street. At the neighboring Santa Monica Place, travelers can enjoy free outdoor music every Wednesday through Sunday in the Center Plaza with Sounds of Santa Monica. This free, family-friendly series includes live DJs, acoustic performers, rock bands and more.

Just steps from Downtown Santa Monica, families are sure to enjoy the iconic Santa Monica Pier offering thrills for all ages with restaurants, Heal the Bay Aquarium and admission-free Pacific Park, all perched over the Pacific Ocean. Recently named one of the top 10 beaches in California per the 10Best Readers Choice Awards, Santa Monica State Beach offers world-famous beach fun including volleyball, surfing, cycling and the sights of the Original Muscle Beach.

For more fun this summer, be sure to check out the regularly updated calendars on SantaMonica.com and SantaMonica.gov.

Ways to Save in Santa Monica

There are many affordable, and even completely cost-free, ways to enjoy a visit to Santa Monica. The City’s outdoor spaces are open to all with 32 parks and playgrounds and 3.5 miles of sandy coastline. Icons of the destination, the Santa Monica Pier and Original Muscle Beach are also free to enter for budget-friendly fun. Art is for all in Santa Monica, with Bergamot Station Arts Center and 18th Street Arts Center hosting exhibitions that are free to enjoy. Public art brightens many Santa Monica spaces throughout the city as well, and visitors are invited to explore over 170 murals with Santa Monica Travel & Tourism’s self-guided walking tour and the City’s map of Santa Monica’s extensive public art collection.

More Free Activities

Getting Around in Santa Monica

Santa Monica is easy to navigate both conveniently and affordably with multiple stations along the Metro E Line and transportation throughout the city with Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus system. Free rides are also available with Santa Monica’s Circuit, an electric shuttle allowing locals and guests to call an eco-friendly ride within the city. With 22 miles of beach path and 28 miles of protected bike lanes, biking is another affordable transportation option with several hotels such as Shore Hotel, Santa Monica Proper Hotel and Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows offering hotel guests bicycle rentals at little to no cost.

View all transportation options.

Where to Dine in Santa Monica

Santa Monica is a leading culinary destination in Southern California with over 400 dining options across the city’s 8.3 square miles, including 18 MICHELIN-recommended restaurants such as Mélisse, winner of two MICHELIN Stars, and Citrin, winner of one MICHELIN Star. The city’s culinary lineup ranges from fresh seafood at The Lobster and organic produce at our famous farmers markets to international cuisine hailing from Southeast Asia at Cassia or Eastern Europe at Birdie G’s. Beloved long standing restaurants thrive in Santa Monica, including Michael’s Santa Monica delighting diners for 40 years or Gilbert’s El Indio celebrating its 50th anniversary. There’s always room for new favorites in Santa Monica, with exciting concepts such as gourmet hamburgers at Burgette and Italian dishes at Sirena making a splash this summer.

Where to Shop in Santa Monica

Santa Monica is the proud home of the Buy Local program, an initiative designed to promote all of the amazing products, services and goods local establishments provide the community. This summer, a visit to the city is not complete without supporting these small businesses. Check out the full registry of Buy Local participants here.

Santa Monica is a one-stop shop for summer visitors looking to enjoy some serious retail therapy. The coastal city is home to nearly 700 brick-and-mortar stores ranging from independent boutiques to high-end luxury locations which covers 21 square miles of immersive shopping experiences. From Downtown Santa Monica’s endless shopping and the boutiques along upscale Montana Avenue to the hidden gems of Ocean Park Boulevard and the eclectic retail mix on Main Street, visitors will find an immersive shopping experience across the city. This summer, exciting retail developments will open in Santa Monica like Barnes & Noble returning to the Third Street Promenade which is perfect for book lovers for all-ages.

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Where to Stay

For those traveling from across the ocean or even just down the highway, Santa Monica is the perfect destination for a relaxing vacation. Santa Monica is home to a lineup of 40 beautiful stays, many of which are within walking or biking distance to the beach for the ultimate summer getaway location. Sandbourne Santa Monica debuted just in time for the summer season with luxurious beachfront accommodations and outdoor pool spaces, while the upcoming Regent Santa Monica Beach will welcome guests later this year with a Hollywood glamour meets coastal charm experience. Several legacy properties continue to thrive throughout the city, including historic landmark The Georgian Hotel undergoing a careful refurbishment of its stunning Art Deco spaces and Days Inn by Wyndham Santa Monica/Los Angeles celebrating 31 years of quality, affordable service with renovated accommodations.

Book your stay.

Discover Santa Monica Events

Santa Monica is a great place to attend an event thanks to the year-round mild weather, close proximity to Los Angeles, and unique event venues. Walk, bike, or hop on the Metro E Line and enjoy numerous Santa Monica Events. This seaside escape has unique events and entertainment year-round – many that are free and take place outdoors! Take the family to experience the iconic Pacific Park, or plan your perfect Saturday outing when you discover events in Los Angeles this weekend.

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Discover Santa Monica

Explore itineraries, local tips, hot spots and curated adventures to make sure you get the most out of your Santa Monica experience.

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