When many hear “green travel” they think of camping in the wilderness, but in Santa Monica you don’t have sacrifice the indulgences of luxury travel in order to “go green.” Santa Monica provides many eco-friendly restaurants, hotels, attractions and transportation alternatives so you can travel guilt-free and protect the destination you love to visit.
Annenberg Community Beach House
A short and refreshing bike ride just north of the Santa Monica Pier is Annenberg Community Beach house – the country’s first/only public beach club and a Gold LEED certified building that used recycled blue jeans for insulation. This public facility is located on five acres of oceanfront property that was initially developed during the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. Today, visitors can take a dip in the same original marble pool where the old Hollywood elite did, play volleyball, have lunch, take yoga classes and learn about Santa Monica history with free docent tours at the Marion Davies Guest House.
Heal the Bay Aquarium
Featuring hands-on presentations and interactive exhibits, the Heal the Bay Aquarium is a part of Santa Monica’s own “Heal the Bay” program – an initiative to educate, inspire and empower its visitors to be stewards of the environment. General admission is $5 per person; kids ages 12 and under are free; groups of 10 or more are charged $3 per person, regardless of age.
The architect responsible for New York City’s celebrated High Line Park, James Corner Field Operations, has designed Tonga Park’s six-acre urban oasis just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy Santa Monica’s architectural park for winding walkways, observation decks, picnic tables and ample open grass. The modern green space faces the ocean and is centrally located, making it accessible.
Pacific Wheel at Santa Monica Pier
Named by Travel + Leisure as one of the “World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels,” the 13-story Pacific Wheel is the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel. From a seat on the Pacific Wheel, visitors and locals alike take in panoramic views of the Los Angeles coastline and mountains from more than 185 feet above the Santa Monica Pier. The Ferris wheel’s 174,000 energy-efficient LED lights create a 85-foot high computer-generated light show for nighttime beach-goers to enjoy.
Ocean View Hotel, Santa Monica Motel, Shore Hotel and The Ambrose Hotel are Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified properties that offer eco-friendly accommodations in addition to a variety of fantastic amenities. To improve sustainability and allow guests to have an eco-experience, these hotels feature a range of green business practices including reduced water consumption, increased water and energy efficiency, installation of solar panels and LED lighting and more. Additionally, many hotels in Santa Monica are green business certified including Hostelling International LA/Santa Monica, Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica and Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.
Santa Monica provides environmentally green transportation options and services for visitors and residents to get around the city, such as Metro, Big Blue Bus, Breeze Bike Share, a public bike share program, the Santa Monica shuttle Circuit (formerly Free Ride), a free service to transport riders to Downtown Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier, Main Street, and Montana Avenue, and the Metro Expo Line. Additionally, at just 8.3 square miles, it’s easy to navigate the city on foot.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Named the best in the country by Travel + Leisure, the farmers market sets the tone for Santa Monica dining. With nearly 200 different growers and food purveyors at the beach city’s four weekly farmers markets, Santa Monica continues to attract famous chefs who value locally grown food and the celebrities and foodies who want to explore the diverse culinary offerings.
Santa Monica Place
Gold LEED certified, Santa Monica Place delivers three levels of exciting retail and dining options with beautiful views of the Pacific from the top Dining Deck. Originally operated as an indoor, enclosed mall, Santa Monica Place was renovated into an open-air concept and reopened in August 2010. The new design maximized sunlight and fresh-air throughout the property and facilitated an uninterrupted walkable experience for shoppers to navigate throughout the mall. Today, Santa Monica Place incorporates water-efficient landscaping, a green roof element and many other sustainable property features to reduce their carbon footprint.
Also known as the “Green Light District,” this eclectic street is where the locals go. It oozes laidback beach lifestyle and a commitment to sustainability – this street has the more certified green businesses than any other in Santa Monica, and is also home to a community garden. You’ll find boutiques, design galleries, cafes, bars, restaurants and more.
To view a full list of green hotels, attractions, retailers and restaurants in Santa Monica, click here.