santa monica sunsets

Visit California Destination Mixer Follow-Up

Thank you for joining our virtual tour of “A Day in Santa Monica.” We hope you enjoyed your visit! Take a look below for more information on places you visited and destination facts, tips and news.

Santa Monica is always ready to welcome you. Contact our expert team for more information and have your questions answered by our knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Virtual Reality Video

What You Saw on the Tour

Marvin Braude Trail

At 22-miles long, the South Bay Bicycle Trail, famously known as the Marvin Braude Trail or “The Strand” is the world’s longest oceanfront bike path. It begins at Will Rogers State Beach—the northernmost point of Santa Monica—then scenically winds its way past Santa Monica State Beach, iconic Santa Monica Pier and further along the coast to end at Torrance County Beach.

Santa Monica is one of the most bike-friendly cities in Los Angeles, with over 100 miles of bike facilities, 19 miles of green lanes and several hundred public bike racks installed since 2011. More information on Santa Monica’s biking scene can be found here.

beach biking trail
Cycle by the Sea

Sun Cycle

Did you know Santa Monica is the hometown of spin cycle? In 1991, cyclist and entrepreneur John Baudhuin and South African ultra-distance cyclist Johnny “Johnny G” Goldberg introduced the world to indoor cycling, starting from their garage. They created Spinning® by uniting innovation in indoor stationary bike technology with their immense cycling experience.

Sun Cycle keeps the history alive with their unique, weekend spin classes on Santa Monica Beach. Located at Lifeguard Tower 26, Sun Cycle provides five, unforgettable classes for beginners and experts alike, each focused on different goals like endurance, interval and pedal & arms. Sunrise and sunset classes are the most popular—make sure you sign up for a spot before they’re all filled!

Explore more unique fitness classes and opportunities.

Annenberg Community Beach House

Don’t miss visiting the only public beach house in the nation! Perfectly situated on five acres of oceanfront property, Annenberg Community Beach House offers an array of activities, including beach courts & fields, community & cultural events, a historic pool and splashpad, view deck and more. Enjoy the amenities and receive a free docent tour of Marion Davies guesthouse to learn how millionaire William Randolf Hearst and actress Marion Davies entertained Hollywood luminaries such as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and more in height of the 1920’s. Stop along Pacific Coast Highway and dine with your toes-in-the-sand at Back on the Beach restaurant. There’s something for everyone to enjoy at Annenberg!

Fun Fact: This Gold LEED certified building uses recycled blue jeans for its insulation!

Picture of historical white building
Santa Monica Place
Open-aire shopping mall

Santa Monica Place

Shopaholics and more can venture into Santa Monica Place, Santa Monica’s premier, open-air and Gold LEED certified mall, offering luxury shopping and dining.

Find unique gifts and exclusive items while shopping through stores such as Louis Vuitton, Johnny Was, Brilliant Earth, Nordstrom, Nike and more and enjoy amenities such as same day delivery services, package carry-out and a rotating calendar of events.

LouLou
Santa Monica

Visit LouLou, Santa Monica’s lively rooftop restaurant offering unparalleled Pacific views and French-Californian cuisine. Located on the top deck of Santa Monica Place, LouLou offers beautiful rooftop views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A full calendar of events keeps the dining room busy throughout the week and weekend. Visit for iconic LA brunches with djs and drink specials, Hola Ibiza night on Thursdays with paella and sangria and their newest event: Champagne and Chocolate.

Cayton Children’s Museum

Families with children ages 0-8 can experience the power of play exploring 30 exhibitions that encourage experiential learning at Cayton Children’s Museum. This first-of-its-kind museum in LA County allows kids and adults to “fly” in a vintage helicopter, role play in the miniature community market or climb through a canopy of ropes—there’s so much to learn! The Cayton Children’s Museum provides an admission system that keeps playtime affordable to all.

The Gourmandise School

Whether looking for a new date night activity or wanting to pick up a new skill, The Gourmandise School offers gourmet public, private and group cooking classes for beginners and experts of all ages. This women-owned and operated cooking school on the top level of Santa Monica Place touts a full calendar of skills classes, technique workshops and series courses all using locally-sources and sustainable ingredients. Here guests will receive training from industry-leading chefs and even meet a MasterChef winner!

Check out other experiences at Santa Monica Place and stay tuned for more information on the highly-anticipated opening of Santa Monica Arte Museum, a 48,000 sq. ft. immersive art destination, coming in late 2023.

Santa Monica Pier & Pacific Park

The Santa Monica Pier sign stands as an internationally recognized tourist destination and a symbol of the Southern California lifestyle. The subject of songs, books and entertainment, this bustling pier is an epicenter of history, amusement and activity: take a picture with the official end of Route 66 sign and receive your certificate of completion from SMTT’s Visitor Center Kiosk; learn the iconic, star-studded history of Looff Hippodrome and ride the 100-year old carousel horses—rumored to have entertained Marilyn Monroe in the day—at this National Historic Landmark; or take in a quintessential SoCal sunset among fisherman and families.

Pacific Park, the West Coast’s only full amusement park located on a pier, offers even more classic fun for visitors. Get the best panoramic views of California’s coast from more than 130 feet on top the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel. A friendly local tip: stay in the evening to see all 174,000 energy-efficient LED lights come on for the nightly light show. Families, friends and solo travelers can also play over 200 games at Playland Arcade and feel the ocean breeze with 12 thrilling rides, including the Route 66-themed West Coaster.

Fun Fact: Be sure to mark your calendars for the centennial celebration of Route 66 in 2026!

Trapeze School New York Los Angeles

High-flying adventures await at Santa Monica Pier’s Trapeze School New York Los Angeles (TSNY). Stop along the Pier to watch aerial or trapeze classes and sign up for a public or private class with expert instructors—no experience necessary! Leisure and corporate travelers and groups are sure to walk away feeling braver than before after swinging into backflips and experiencing the ultimate trust falls.

Fun Fact: Train like a celebrity! Pink was trained by the fun-loving instructors at TSNY Los Angeles in preparation for her daring AMA awards performance in 2017.

Hot Dog on a Stick

This iconic location near Santa Monica Pier stands as the birthplace of the original Hot Dog on a Stick. Developed by owner Dave Barham in 1946, this Santa Monica staple has risen to become a household name across the nation. Try one of six different dogs—ranging from meat to cheese to veggie—and try the classic hand-pressed lemonade that’s sure to evoke those nostalgic, childhood memories.

Fun Fact: The famous multi-colored striped uniforms worn by employees represent the country’s patriotic red, white and blue, with a touch of all-American lemonade.

Santa Monica Beach & Beach Volleyball

Santa Monica Beach is the perfect place to enjoy the city’s 280-days of sunshine. Walk along the 3.5-mile stretch of golden, sun-kissed beach, and partake in outdoor workout classes and beach sports or lounge on the soft sand and enjoy luxury relaxation with various beach butler options. Classic on-the-beach dining can also be found north and south of Santa Monica Pier and beach equipment is available to rent from longstanding Perry’s. True to Santa Monica’s mission to welcome all, beach wheelchairs can be rented at various locations, like Heal the Bay Aquarium and Perry’s Beach Cafe & Rentals for unlimited fun. A fun local tip: Always keep an eye on the horizon to catch daily dolphin sightings!

As the home for modern beach volleyball, Santa Monica is proud to be the host of beach volleyball for the 2028 Olympics. LA28, as it’s most commonly known, is expected to welcome an estimated total of 2.7-3.4 million unique attendees globally. While Olympians will be seen playing in the summer of 2028, locals and visitors can still spot past and present Olympians and passionate beach volleyball lovers on Santa Monica beach throughout the year.

Original Muscle Beach

Featuring ropes, parallel bars, swings and more for families, tourists and fitness fiends, Original Muscle Beach is a must-see for anyone in town.

Started in the 1930’s, this public outdoor gym located just south of Santa Monica Pier has inspired fitness trends and attracted people of all ages and abilities to play on its equipment year-round. A little tip: stay at one of Santa Monica’s beachfront properties and enjoy a peaceful view of all the going-ons. Take a deeper dive into Original Muscle Beach’s history.

Bergamot Station & The Crow

Santa Monica has become a major art hub, with more than 120 museums, galleries, and public art installations within the city’s 8.3 square miles. Bergamot Station, one of the largest and most world-renowned art gallery complexes in Southern California, houses approximately 30 of these galleries and offers a rich collection of artistic opportunities for residents, visitors, artists and arts organizations. Built out of an old railway station, visitors can freely travel between the neighboring buildings to explore galleries, theaters and more. Often cited as a primary cultural destination, Bergamot offers artists of every background the chance to shine.

The Crow, a woman-owned, family-friendly Santa Monica Comedy Collaborative located in Bergamot Station. It is a safe space for all to laugh, learn and evolve as humans through comedy, writing and the performing arts. Weekly classes and shows are available for interested parties of all ages. Check their calendar and stop in for a laugh—there’s something for everyone at The Crow!

 

David Helem at The Crow

1212 Santa Monica & Elephanté

Whether meeting for brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks, 1212 Santa Monica is the place to be. Join locals for prime indoor and outdoor dining along lively Third Street Promenade and get a taste of New American cooking from an extensive menu of options. Those looking for rockin’ nightlife are sure to enjoy 1212 Santa Monica on the weekends, when it turns into an upscale, two story nightclub with a DJ, light shows and more. 1212 offers the full experience from morning to night, so don’t miss out!

Located two blocks from the beach, Elephanté brings sophisticated rooftop dining to Santa Monica. Take in chic vibes and breathtaking ocean views while indulging in mouth-watering, elevated Italian cuisine. Serving brunch, lunch and unique cocktails, this location proves that dining in Santa Monica is always an experience.

Elephante Dining Room
1212 Main Dining

Hotels

Viceroy Santa Monica

Viceroy Santa Monica is the perfect hotel for a luxury, coastal stay. Only a three-minute walk to the beach, Viceroy blends perfectly with its surroundings: from the pier-themed architecture in the newly renovated lobby to the open-air cabanas that line the outdoor pools and restaurant. The Viceroy Santa Monica stands as the brand’s inaugural property, officially opening 20 years ago. In celebration of the property’s 20th birthday, guests can now enjoy the fruits of the hotel’s million-dollar renovation, including the new indoor-outdoor, wrap-around bar and revamped guest rooms offering unbeatable views of Santa Monica Beach and Pier.

Oceana

Considered one of the most luxurious stays in Santa Monica, Oceana is best described as a suite-only boutique destination. Enjoy best-in-class service and indulgent amenities, including Peleton equipment, curated in-room libraries, private boat excursions, private museum access and so much more. Guests can take advantage of the freeform, heated pool and savor high-end, iconic Southern California bites at one of two restaurants. Enjoy this centrally-located, ultimate luxury retreat located along Ocean Avenue, presenting the best sunrise and sunset views along Santa Monica’s breathtaking bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Fun Fact: No two suites are alike at Oceana. Experience a bespoke adventure with every stay and discover your favorite room with each added visit!

The Pierside Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s newest hotel, The Pierside Santa Monica, offers direct access to the Santa Monica Pier and beach allowing guests to be greeted with sunny days and stunning sunsets. Each of their 132-spacious guest rooms and suites are designed as Santa Monica chic that include spaces to slow down in the heart of all the excitement. Step into a story of natural textures and ocean-inspired colors, borrowing influences from Santa Monica’s lush landscape with SoCal style and guest rooms that embody sophisticated seaside comfort you can really sink into.

Hotel Casa del Mar

Originally built in 1926 as the grandest of the opulent beach club hotels and the premier playground for Hollywood A-listers, Hotel Casa del Mar continues to invite guests to experience indulgent relaxation and beachside fun. Located on the sand, guests can easily access Santa Monica Beach and Pier, shopping along Third Street Promenade and dining on local-favorite Main Street. Take in unobstructed, panoramic views of the sand, sun and sea at the Terrazza Restaurant, recently redesigned by interior designer Michael S. Smith (the same designer for the 2010 Oval Office). Sign up for bespoke experiences like a private, Instagrammable beach picnic and for the ultimate relaxation, stop into Sea Wellness Spa.

Shutters on the Beach

Neighboring Hotel Casa del Mar, Shutters on the Beach also invites comfortable and luxurious relaxation. As Casa’s sister property, Shutters balances Casa’s opulent design with a quintessential cottage feel, featuring shuttered doors opening onto breezy balconies. Dine in the 1 Pico Restaurant opening to The Strand or stop by the front desk to arrange bikes, surf boards and boogie boards for an iconic beach stay. Enjoy perfect light bites at Patio del Mar—Hotel Casa del Mar’s newest seaside dining option offering nearly unrivaled access to the sandy strand and refreshing dining. Opened in mid-2022, this dining location is still considered a hidden gem by locals and hotel guests.

Montana Avenue

Unique gifts and exclusive items can be found shopping along local-favorite Montana Avenue. Over 9 blocks of boutique shops, restaurants and more line this quaint street, providing an oasis for relaxed exploration and dedicated leisure. For foodies, try Margo‘s all-vegan menu, popular among vegans and meat-lovers alike, and local delicacies like John Kelly Chocolates and unique cheeses and wines from Andrew’s Cheese Shop. Historical Aero Theater, showcasing independent American films and in-person discussions with top filmmakers, provides the perfect resting place at any time of the day for locals, tourists and film-fanatics.

Aero Theater
Montana Avenue

Sample Itineraries

No matter how long you stay, there’s always something to see, eat or explore! Check out these sample itineraries created by Santa Monica experts for how to experience Santa Monica like a local.

What’s Coming to Santa Monica

A Fresh Arts Destination

Frieze Los Angeles: February 16-19, 2023
Two woman admiring pink circular artwork in corner of gallery

Frieze Los Angeles is coming to Santa Monica Airport from February 16-19, 2023! Santa Monica is honored to host this year’s global art fair, which is expected to bring upwards of 30,000 international and domestic visitors to the city. This 2023 event is set to be the largest Frieze Los Angeles to date, featuring over 120 galleries from 22 countries across the world.

Frank Gehry’s Ocean Avenue Project, coming 2026!
Frank Gehry Hotel Rendering

Santa Monica eagerly looks forward to Frank Gehry’s newest Ocean Avenue Project, a mixed-use LEED Platinum certified development. The new L-shaped building located along Ocean and Santa Monica Boulevard will include a 120-room hotel with amenities and meeting space, 100 apartments, 36,000-square feet of retail and restaurant space and a 35,000-square foot museum and gallery campus.

Emphasized Wellness

Nationally Recognized Spas

Santa Monica is putting its pin on the map as a new wellness destination. Highly acclaimed Surya Spa and its custom Ayurvedic treatments, located in Santa Monica Proper Hotel is often featured in news outlets such as Refinery29, Thrillist, Forbes and Conde Nast Traveler and is consistently touted by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker. Reserve a spot to experience top-rated rest and relaxation, as spots fill up quickly. For the same bohemian flair and serene atmosphere, visit The Raven Spa in Downtown Santa Monica. Recently rated by Thrillist as one of the top LA spas for a self-care day, The Raven Spa seeks to promote the ultimate day of zen. Local tip: feel like royalty with a soak in the hammam, a classic Turkish soak within a clawfoot tub! Visitors and locals can also be found at one of the many spas located in Santa Monica’s 41 hotels. Click here to check out the best hotel spas!

Holistic Health

Nicknamed the “City of Inspiration,” visitors are also guaranteed to feel inspired by the community’s naturally healthy lifestyle. Adding to Santa Monica’s already robust list of over 400 restaurants, visitors and locals can indulge in new healthy dining, like popular MIXT salad bar and Narita Vegan Sushi.

Health classes and high-tech fitness experiences further add to the city’s health-conscious lifestyle: workout with Upgrade Lab‘s AI Adaptive Bike and enjoy recovery experiences like a 360-degree lymphatic detox, cryotherapy, pulsed electro-magnetic field (PEMF) therapy and infrared beds or join The Class‘ fun and challenging workout combining strength-training, cardio and mindfulness.

New Hotel Additions

The Beacon1301 Ocean Avenue

The Beacon Room

Taking over Hotel Shangri-La’s prime property on Ocean Avenue, the Sonder hospitality family is growing its Santa Monica presence with the new Beacon hotel. Known for its unique, completely mobile self-service operation, this affordable new location boasts its ability to combine the comfort of a home-share experience with professional hospitality services. Guests staying at The Beacon are required to check-in, request housekeeping services and more through the mobile Sonder app. The Beacon is partially open to the public, having opened its doors on January 14, 2023.

Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites1707 4th Street

Hilton Hotel and Suites Santa. Monica

Completed in April 2021, the revamped Hilton Santa Monica boasts 286-guest rooms with 211 of them being suites. Guests can enjoy new amenities including an outdoor pool with cabanas, a 24-hour fitness center and over 1,000-square feet of flexible event space. Monica’s, the property’s on-site, chef-driven, full-service restaurant and bar and The Detox Market, providing beach essentials and wellbeing products ensure guests enjoy a refreshing stay every time.

Le Merigot Santa Monica1740 Ocean Avenue

Currently undergoing a rebranding change from JW Marriott, this soon-to-be-Autograph Collection hotel is set to feature a fully renovated property—including lobby, restaurant, rooms and meeting spaces—in Spring 2023. The hotel remains partially open for guests and continues to be one of Santa Monica’s top beachside hotels for business and leisure stays. Continue to check back for updates on Le Merigot’s official re-opening!

The Georgian Hotel1415 Ocean Avenue

Santa Monica’s most historic and iconic hotel has undergone a head-to-toe renovation. Fully reopening February 2023, The Georgian Hotel will unveil its newly designed rooms, lobby and restaurant showcasing new features like Art Deco furniture, ornate lighting, rare imported Italian marble and Havana Deco-inspired floor patterns.

Santa Monica Wellness

Explore Santa Monica’s bustling wellness scene

View all Wellness Activities

Sustainability

Green Initiatives

Within the city’s 8.3 square miles, visitors and locals can take advantage of over 300 EV charging ports. This number is expected to rise over the next couple of years as electric cars continue to rise in popularity. Visitors enjoy over 100 miles of designated green bike lanes, bike racks and facilities and guests can easily take advantage of these opportunities with hotel amenities like electric house cars and free bike rentals. True to its sustainability initiative, Santa Monica City Hall East building is known for meeting the world’s most rigorous criteria for sustainability with its all-electric, net-zero energy and net-zero water.

Kind Traveler

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism and participating hotels are proud to partner with Kind Traveler and Visit California to support the vital work of Santa MoniCARES. Kind Traveler is a socially conscious “Give + Get” hotel booking and media platform targeting travelers who positively impact communities and the environment of the destinations they visit. A Santa Monica nonprofit, Santa MoniCARES is a coalition of representatives from Santa Monica Travel & Tourism and tourism community partners with a mission to harness the hospitable nature and generosity of Santa Monica’s tourism industry and provide support to local nonprofit agencies. Through our partnership, we’re empowering a new generation of responsible travelers to positively impact our local community by giving back to Santa MoniCARES.

Picture of information center; Santa Monica

Have Questions?

Santa Monica Travel & Tourism is here to support you! Reach out to our team of experts today and feel supported by our wonderful staff.