Framed by the Pacific Ocean and mountains, laid-back Santa Monica is bordered by Brentwood to the east and Venice Beach to the south. Its Bohemian and outdoorsy vibe attracts bikers, rollerbladers and dog joggers to the miles of beachside walkways. The focal point is the pier, with its amusement rides and Ferris wheel. There’s high culture, too, with over 75 museums and galleries, plus some of the best restaurants and shopping in Southern California.
– National Geographic UK, January 2015