Montana Avenue

Montana Avenue, which sits at the city’s northern edge, is home to a stretch of more than 150 restaurants and retailers. Though it’s just a short walk from Downtown Santa Monica, it feels removed from the hustle and bustle of the Promenade and Pier. Late-night options may be limited, but from sunrise to sunset, a steady stream of shoppers browse the surrounding storefronts amid a relaxed crowd of A-list celebrities, out-of-towners, and parents pushing strollers, none of whom seem in a hurry to leave the wealth of juice bars, latte vendors, and outdoor cafés.

Eat

Dedicated do-it-yourselfers will love greens up!, where they can create their own salad from an array of ingredients, toppings, and dressings. Think exciting main meal instead of shy and retiring side dish. You’ll also find custom juices that are farmers-market fresh.

Horchata is a tasty and sweet rice-based Mexican beverage and is just one of the reasons to pop into this Montana Avenue eatery. Others are taquitos, smoothies, fajitas, enchiladas—you name it. A good place to start is the wet chicken burrito smothered with lettuce, sour cream, and guacamole.

Margo’s seasonal menu and welcoming California Moderne aesthetic makes it a great place for a bite after an evening at the movies, or a delicious breakfast. Try the eggs-any-style breakfast sandwich with garlic aioli on a Portuguese bun.

Drop into intimate Osteria Bigoli for Italian cooking with a Venetian flair. Italian-born chef Claudio Marchesan is proud of his homemade bigoli pasta, which is a thick, Venetian-style spaghetti that really holds the sauce. Marchesan is fond of saying, “Never trust a skinny chef!”

Shop

Cheese lovers will want to make tracks for Andrew’s Cheese Shop, where there’s a scrumptious selection of artisan cheeses, olive oil, and wine. The true fromage aficionado may opt to join the venue’s cheese-of-the-month club, through which they’ll receive a trio of tasty cheeses.

Visiting Santa Monica? Pack your watch in need of repair—the one that’s been sitting in your dresser drawer for years—and then head down to the Montana Clock Shop. This beloved neighborhood resource has been putting the tick back in the tock since the 1970s.

It’s a marvelous day for a trip to Moondance Jewelry Gallery, where an array of jewelry sparkles—from high end to affordable. This neighborhood boutique garners raves for its creations by local artists and for its own expertly curated line, Yasmeen.

With a tagline like “Born at the Beach,” it’s a cinch Pink Chicken will be both hip and casual. Celebrity moms like Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner are big fans of the vintage textiles worn by moms and daughters (sons, too).

Play

The Aero Theatre was built back in 1939 and recently underwent a $1 million restoration. This classic movie theater is the ideal choice for viewing both classic movies and up-to-the-minute independent releases, which often feature after-show Q&As.

Put out the good foot and get adept at sultry Latin dances at Javier Campines Dance. The beginners’ class teaches the basics of salsa and bachata, while intermediate and advanced classes hone skills and perfect partner work. If flying solo, a partner will be supplied for the group classes.

Does your body need a tune-up? Put yourself in the holistic hands of the Rainbeau Mars Lifestyles team, who will get you up and running via a number of means, including yoga, breath work, herbology, and organic living-foods nutrition.

Looking for that perfect piece of art? Drop into the Ten Women Gallery. This co-op, gallery, and gift shop features works from 24 local artists. Browse unique creations that make wonderful one-of-a-kind gifts.

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