Things to do

Things to do in Santa Monica

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


By Michael Juliano

Posted: Friday August 14 2015


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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