Does cold and gloomy weather have you singing the blues? These long chilly winter months are the ideal time to plan an escape to sunny Santa Monica. Not only does this city by the sea boast an abundance of warm, soul-healing sunshine, but it also offers a variety of activities and events for visitors and locals alike.
Here are eight ways to escape the winter in Santa Monica, California:
1. SUN YOURSELF
With an average 280 days of sunshine a year and 3.5 miles of sandy beach, there’s no better place to soak up the sun than Santa Monica. Temperatures rarely dip below 60°F/16°C, providing the ideal climate for getting physically active, shopping or dining al fresco.
2. ICE SKATE WITHOUT THE COLD
Where else can you go from sun bathing to ice-skating within minutes? The popular 8,000 square foot outdoor rink at ICE at Santa Monica is only a few blocks from the Pacific Ocean, located in Downtown Santa Monica. Open early November to mid January, skaters sip on hot chocolate or cold drinks when not gliding over the ice under blue skies and sunshine.
3. FIND WINTER HOTEL DEALS
Since Santa Monica is a popular destination year round, visitors are often surprised to find that many of Santa Monica’s hotels offer winter specials and off-season rates.
4. SHOP AT THE FAMOUS FARMERS MARKETS
Santa Monica is home to a number of amazing outdoor farmers markets, the biggest of which takes place in Downtown Santa Monica every Wednesday. Chefs from Los Angeles’ top restaurants buy produce year round for their seasonal recipes, even in winter. From pomegranates to persimmons, the market is not only a great place to grab a bite but is also an Instagramer’s dream.
5. PARTICIPATE IN THE HOLIDAY FUN
Just because you can stroll around in shorts and sandals doesn’t mean you’re not into the winter holiday spirit. Celebrations throughout Santa Monica include menorah and tree lighting ceremonies, visits with Santa, and even a ‘New Year’s Day Pajama Brunch’ at Stella Barra Pizzeria on Main Street.
Santa Monica is only 8.3mi/22km, so getting around isn’t complicated. While you could drive or cycle (or choose another mode of transportation), nothing beats seeing the city by foot. Most of the city is accessible car free and walking allows you to soak up the beautiful weather and spectacular views.
7. ENJOY THE FOOTBALL FRENZY
The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day becomes a football fan’s dream thanks to the Rose Bowl college game. Crowds descending on southern California to support their teams are often escaping colder climates and choose to stay near the beach in Santa Monica where they participate in football rallies, viewing parties and lighthearted revelry while also enjoying Rose Bowl themed special offers at local businesses.
8. WELCOME IN THE NEW YEAR
Partyers in New York’s Times Square will probably be quite cold on New Year’s Eve but you won’t be. There are a variety of New Year’s events in Santa Monica, from a Black Tie Masquerade Ball at Viceroy Santa Monica to an entertaining magic show at Magicopolis.