A trip to Santa Monica is probably one of the most incredible outdoor experiences you’ll never forget. After landing in this beach town, ask yourself what to do in Santa Monica? And you’ll soon realize there are so many things to do and so little time. You just need to plan your days and enjoy them.
Santa Monica attracts over 8 million visitors annually and crosses 150,000 daily due to its various attractions and pleasurable activities that include:
- Explore Santa Monica Pier and Beach
Almost every person visiting Santa Monica makes a beeline to the famed beach to explore the 3 1/2 mile shoreline fondly referred to as the Santa Monica State Beach. Entry is free, and the inviting soft sands and beautiful weather are great for relaxing and watching the waves.
If you feel like a spot of exercise after lazing around a bit, you can check out the Original Muscle Beach, a beach park with a retro gym of a bygone era (the 1930s), or if you want to tax your brain a bit, visit the International Chess Park.
Make sure you don’t miss the pier or the regular beach hangouts like the North Beach Playground and the Annenberg Community Beach House. Santa Monica’s most stunning landmark is the Santa Monica Pier, featured in several Hollywood movies. While at the pier, don’t miss the fun and games. Enjoy the rides, and grab a bite at any of the food stalls.
- Visit the Third Street Promenade
If you’re tired of the beach and pier, it’s time for some brisk shopping at the Third Street Promenade stretching from Broadway to Wiltshire Boulevard. This shopping destination attracts large crowds daily, with the open-air shopping mall being one of the biggest hits, thanks to the chain stores dotting the landscape.
Check out the boutiques and booksellers or the Puzzle Zoo that sells an array of sophisticated toys. Outdoor dining is a specialty at the Promenade, where you can get a taste of the local cuisine.
Don’t be surprised if you bump into the street performers playing their art beside sculpted shrubs, a great draw with tourists. The locality is pedestrian-friendly and easy to navigate, and you’ll come across beach bums and homeless folks around every corner. The Promenade is open around the clock, and the Big Blue Bus stops, and the Downtown Santa Monica Metro Station is a stone’s throw away.
- Santa Monica Bike Trails
If you’re the type that loves exploring, Santa Monica bike trails make an exciting and adventurous outing for the day. Bang in the heart of the city is the Marvin Braude Beach Trail, fondly referred to as The Strand by the residents. Bike around Main Street and traverse Saint Vicente Boulevard, which has bike-friendly terrain.
To the south of the city, the backdrop looms the Santa Monica Mountains that have several explored and unexplored bike trails. If you are not a great fan of mountain pedaling, you can join the electric bike tours that make zipping around a lot easier.
Most visitors love the Marvin Braude Beach Trail, stretching 22 miles and boasting well-maintained paths and breath-taking ocean vistas in the background. If you don’t like crowds, stay away from the Santa Monica Pier, but check out Will Rogers State Beach further down, stretching up to the County Beach in Torrance.
The beach trails and roads of Santa Monica can be accessed around the clock, though there’s a parking fee for bikes at the Will Rogers State Park.
- The Pacific Park
The kids will love this place full of arcade games and giant wheels that give an adrenaline rush. The park hosts regular carnivals and fairs, which are activities hosted annually. You also have some classic games and exciting water races. Enjoy the solar-powered giant Ferris wheel or the giant sea dragon-themed ship.
Pacific Park is a family-friendly zone that is crowded 24/7 and is bustling with activity night and day.
The Palisades Park
If you are looking for a bit of peace and calm after all the brisk activity, Palisades Park is where you should be. A stone’s throw from the Santa Monica Pier, Palisades Park is a long, narrow park bordering Ocean Avenue and the Pacific Coast Highway. This 26-acre park is full of greenery and other park amenities like picnic tables, restrooms, and benches at strategic spots.
Watch the swaying palms or walk down the exotic rose gardens that are in full bloom in season. By the time you are done, you’d have got the answer to your question, what to do in Santa Monica?
Summing it Up
There’s a lot you can do while in Santa Monica, with the beach being the highlight. The shopping area is a must-visit zone, and Palisades Park is a place where you can relax.