Things to See and Do in Santa Monica, California

When in Santa Monica, California, you have to visit Santa Monica Pier

Are you visiting Santa Monica for the first time? Below is a list of “Insider Tips” for things to see and do in SaMo.

When I have a visitor from out of town, I take them to the  Shore Hotel.  The location is within walking distance to all of the Santa Monica attractions (Santa Monica Pier, Third Street Promenade, restaurants, shops, etc).  Not to mention it’s right on Ocean Ave and offers views of the Pacific Ocean. For an added bonus, Shore Hotel has a partnership with Tikkun Spa so anyone who stays at the hotel can use their facilities free of charge.

Don’t miss Santa Monica Pier or Annenberg Community Beach House if you have kids traveling with you.

"Blue Plate Carrot Cake"
Blue Plate offers fresh California cuisine (and Carrot Cake) with laid-back Santa Monica atmosphere.

Where to Eat in Santa Monica

If you are looking for typical Santa Monica cuisine, I recommend Blue Plate on Montana Ave.  This local Santa Monica restaurant offers fresh California cuisine with the typical laid-back Santa Monica atmosphere.

I recommend any of the sandwiches, wraps or salads with the house roasted turkey; Montana Club, Turkey Club Wrap or Cobb Salad.

Looking for cheap food in Santa Monica? Go to Border Grill during happy hour. Fantastic Mexican at a great price.

The V-Lounge is the spot for late night dining.

To spend the big bucks, go to The Lobster at the Santa Monica Pier or Boa Steakhouse on Ocean Ave.

Go to Jinky’s Cafe for a great breakfast treat or coffee. You might even spot Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie eating here with their kids.

Just outside of Santa Monica you can visit Malibu, have lunch at Moonshadows.

"Border Grill Drinks"
Go to Border Grill during happy hour for good Mexican food at great prices

Eco-friendly and athletic Santa Monica

Seeing a lot of green and eco-friendly businesses? Santa Monica is best known for their commitment to the environment.

When you come to Santa Monica, get your picture taken on the beach with the Santa Monica Pier in the background.

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The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of the Santa Monica bluffs

The Shore Hotel offers great views and is the best place to watch or experience the LA Marathon finish line.

"Shore Hotel"
The Shore Hotel offers great views of the beach and is eco-friendly

Santa Monica from inside out

In Santa Monica, outdoor enthusiasts will want to walk or bike to get around within the city.

Looking for a little exercise? Walk along the beach or Ocean Ave if you don’t want to get sandy!

The Museum of Flying is the newest museum in Santa Monica.

Night life in Santa Monica? For a night of dancing, go to 31Ten. You might also enjoy the Twilight Dance Series on the Pier.

The Santa Monica Mirror or Santa Monica Daily Press will keep you posted on what’s happening in Santa Monica.

If you happen to be visiting Santa Monica in the spring, check out Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo show at the Santa Monica Pier

In the summer you should attend Santa Monica stairs for a good work out.

Did you know that Santa Monica is known for being one of the most progressive beach cities in terms of the green movement?

Shop Santa Monica

Plan a visit to Santa Monica Place Mall in the fall for great sales and back to school shopping.

Come to Santa Monica for Rose Bowl pep rallies. My son and husband got a taste of Santa Monica pep rallies first-hand while attending the University of Oregon Rose Bowl Game. Go Ducks!

The Santa Monica outdoor ice skating rink is worth a spin in the winter.

Insider Tip: Check out the often over-looked Montana Street in Santa Monica.  There are tons of great shopping and restaurants options and it is less crowded than Third Street Promenade.

What are your favorite things to do in Santa Monica?

Article by Nancy D. Brown

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2 thoughts on “Things to See and Do in Santa Monica, California”

  1. Thanks for the really detailed overview of things to do in Santa Monica. I am due to be travelling there later this year and will definitely be checking out some of those restaurants, I am already salivating at the thought 🙂

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