Just a block north of Santa Monica Place, in the heart of Downtown Santa Monica, is Third Street Promenade which runs from Wilshire down to Broadway. It was closed to cars in 1965, creating a pedestrian-friendly shopping haven. Though it’s mostly lined with more mainstream clothing stores such as Gap, Anthropologie, Adidas and Sephora, it maintains a distinctly Southern California vibe.
As you relax on a bench surrounded by palm trees and beautiful planted flowers, you can take in the talents of various street performers who flock to the three-block stretch. If you diverge off the Promenade to Second or Fourth Street, you’ll find smaller, individually-owned Santa Monica shops for unique gifts.
Pop into the Vans store across from Santa Monica Place, one of the company’s earliest retail locations, to check out the latest editions of the brand’s signature deck shoes, which became popular with Southern California skateboarders in the late 1960s.