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Things to do in Santa Monica

The best restaurants, bars, beaches, shops and attractions in Santa Monica

Photograph: Derek W

Take a walk along the palm and eucalyptus-lined bluffs and it becomes obvious why tourists flock to Santa Monica. With the beach on one side and mountains on another, it's the essence of that postcard picture of Southern California's coastline. You'll find more than just a beach town, though; there are plenty of things to do in Santa Monica without setting foot on the Pier or Third Street Promenade, from fresh dinners prepared straight from the farmers' market to bars with a view.

Best things to do in Santa Monica

The best restaurants in Santa Monica
Restaurants

The best restaurants in Santa Monica

Check out our list of Santa Monica restaurants you shouldn't miss—then get back to that beach life.

The best bars in Santa Monica
Bars

The best bars in Santa Monica

We've rounded up our favorite bars to frequent, whether you're heading out for happy hour or clinking glasses well into the night.

17 essential Santa Monica attractions
Things to do

17 essential Santa Monica attractions

With the beach on one side and mountains on another, Santa Monica feels like a salt-air sanctuary carved into the LA coastline.

The best coffee shops in Santa Monica
Restaurants

The best coffee shops in Santa Monica

We rounded up the best coffee shops in Santa Monica for a cold brew, latte, espresso or whatever gets your heart palpitating.

The best happy hour deals in Santa Monica
Bars

The best happy hour deals in Santa Monica

We rounded up the nine best happy hour spots in Santa Monica to unwind.

Hour to Kill: Santa Monica Camera Obscura
Things to do

Hour to Kill: Santa Monica Camera Obscura

This old optical contraption is a historical and offbeat place to catch your breath and enjoy an ocean view.

Hour to Kill: Santa Monica Airport
Things to do

Hour to Kill: Santa Monica Airport

Santa Monica Airport's public observation deck is the best place to hear the roar of jet engines only feet from an active runway.

A tour of Santa Monica's Montana Avenue
Things to do

A tour of Santa Monica's Montana Avenue

Ready to rub elbows with the fancy folks sipping on soy lattes in their Lululemon best?

Comments

3 comments
navapu n
navapu n

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Erick R
Erick R

Every time I'm in Santa Monica I ask myself why I don't just pick up and move here.  The weather is always pleasant.  The people are laid back.  There's a plethora of places to eat and chill. Now if I could just afford it.

thevelvetrunway
thevelvetrunway

This is really helpful information and I can definitely recommend some chilling time at Santa Monica and Venice Beach. One of my favorite places in Santa Monica though is 'Montanta Avenue' where you can find some trendy boutiques and even spot some celebrities in the coffee shops! I've visited Los Angeles a few times in the last couple of years and I love it! There's plenty to do but it is a sprawling city. I've grouped the things to do by theme and by neighbourhood in my blog post to make it easier to plan your day. Please look if you would like to. I've also written about where to stop on the Pacific Coast Highway if you're planning to drive between San Francisco and San Diego.