Downtown Santa Monica/Third Street Promenade

Downtown Santa Monica is equal parts shopping haven and street-performer stage. Just east of the Pier, the Third Street Promenade consists of three open-air, car-free blocks that are anchored by upscale Santa Monica Place. With everything from fresh farmers-market produce to designer fashions, it’s a shopper’s nirvana. Likewise, foodies rejoice in the numerous restaurants featuring locally sourced ingredients and craft cocktails. Life pulses around each corner with hotel guests, street performers, shoppers, office workers, diners, barflies, and moviegoers. New to the mix: The terminus of the Metro Expo Line, which opened in 2016, ferries riders by light rail between Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles.

Eat

One of eight locations, this niche eatery, Bruxie serves five varieties of its signature chicken and waffle sandwich, featuring buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, plus tasty sides (try the crispy onion straws), salads, and breakfasts.

Burger connoisseurs need look no further than HiHo Cheeseburger. This eatery serves exclusively 100 percent grass-fed Wagyu beef. The meat is especially juicy and tender and high in healthful omega-3 fats, so you can chow down guilt-free.

Perched 18 floors above Santa Monica atop the sophisticated Huntley Hotel, The Penthouse is a stunning restaurant and lounge that serves up awe inspiring panoramic ocean and city views along with delicious Mediterranean-influenced California cuisine, from breakfast to late-night cocktails.

Experience classic pasta dishes from Italy—literally. The fresh pasta is handmade in a specially built kitchen in Bologna, then shipped overnight to the chefs at UOVO, who craft the tortellini, tagliatelle, and ravioli that regulars have come to crave.

Shop

Feast your eyes on a wonderland of color and light at Adamm's Stained Glass & Art Glass Gallery, a showroom of this artists’ studio, shop, and gallery, established in 1972. Look for stunning glassware, sculptures, jewelry, and kaleidoscopes created by known and emerging artists.

More than 50 specialty shops, visionary restaurants (check out The Curious Palate, an earth-friendly favorite just steps from the ArcLight movie theater), and even a full-service concierge hub awaits at Santa Monica Place, a ingeniously constructed destination just blocks from the beach and major hotels. Tip: Free events often take place here, so be sure to check the website when in town.

Third Street Promenade, is a festive outdoor shopping and dining destination buzzes with activity, especially on Santa Monica’s many gorgeous-weather days. Stroll and enjoy the unique street performances, then visit The Gallery, the newly remodeled food court, where you can experience fine dining at the acclaimed Dialogue Restaurant, among many others.

Players, collectors, and fans will be inspired by the vast inventory of new and vintage guitars displayed at Truetone Music, where the pros go for equipment and repairs or to chat with the highly knowledgeable staff. Lessons are available for future rock stars.

Play

Just choose a piece of pottery, pick up a paintbrush, and get busy. The folks at Color Me Mine will fire your purchased piece in a kiln, and then it’s yours to take home. Party packages are available if you want to make it a group affair.

Third Street Promenade is the hub for ROAM, Downtown Santa Monica’s rotating public art program. As you stroll around, be sure to take in the unique installations that feature the work of groundbreaking contemporary artists.

This community-based public charity headquartered in a 1910 Craftsman house is dedicated to sharing the importance of its city’s historical preservation. The Santa Monica Conservancy offers walking tours, lectures, workshops, webinars, and special events for both members and guests.

Attached to Santa Monica's Main Library, the Santa Monica History Museum is a formidable collection of Santa Monica history, art, and culture features six galleries housing more than a million items. Make sure to view the rare photographs of the city’s early days and the child-friendly gallery with interactive exhibits.

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