10 Scenic Things To Do In Santa Monica

Whether you have a week or a weekend to explore Santa Monica, these are some of the top things to do in this lovely city.

Beach in Santa Monica, CaliforniaShutterstock

Beach in Santa Monica, California

The California Coast is a dream destination for many people, and for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, Santa Monica might be a better fit than a bustling city like Los Angeles. Santa Monica has tons of gorgeous parks, beaches, and scenic walking streets to enjoy. Here’s what to do when you visit.

10/10 Stroll Through Palisades Park

Take a relaxing walk through the beautiful Palisades Park in Santa Monica, which is part of Ocean Avenue. The gorgeous park covers more than 26 acres and offers epic views of the Pacific Ocean. Stroll along the 1.6-mile walkway with towering palm trees swaying overhead for a couple of hours or bring a picnic blanket and settle down for a romantic interlude in the park with your partner.

There’s no better place to enjoy the beauty of Santa Monica while supporting the local economy than on this outdoor pedestrian shopping street. Third Street Promenade is a lovely, colourful, and busy pedestrian walking area lined with shops, eateries, and other entertainment options. You can easily spend an entire day here trying on clothes, purchasing Christmas gifts for loved ones, and having a sit-down dinner with friends.

8/10 Swim At Santa Monica State Beach

California is known for its epic coastline and beautiful beaches. This beach is operated by the city of Santa Monica and stretches over three miles long. The beach itself covers 245 acres, so there’s plenty of space for friends and family to sprawl out and enjoy an afternoon in the sun. In addition to the sandy beach, there is a volleyball court, walking paths, benches, and restrooms on-site. Not that dogs are not permitted at Santa Monica State Beach.

7/10 Visit The Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets

There are lots of Farmer’s Markets to explore in Santa Monica, allowing travelers to buy local during their visit. Remember to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) and cash because many of the vendors will not accept debit or credit cards. The Downtown Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is a popular place for chefs to get ingredients on a Wednesday morning, and it’s popular with the public on Saturdays. For a more quaint experience, travelers can shop at the Santa Monica Pico Farmers Market near Virginia Avenue Park, which is open on Saturdays from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm

Travelers who are in town on a Sunday will want to visit the Main Street Farmers Market, which runs on Sunday from 8:30 AM to 1:30 PM. It’s a family favorite with prepared food, drinks, crafts, and live music.

6/10 Go To The Santa Monica Pier For Sunset

The Santa Monica Pier is one of the city’s most iconic spots. The pier is a double-jointed dock at the end of Colorado Avenue. There is an amusement park with rides to entertain the kids or for a romantic summer date night. There are also concession stands and fishing spots. Visit at sunset for stunning views over the water.

5/10 Take The Kids To Tongva Park

Tongva Park is a 6+ acre park in Santa Monica that was named for the Indigenous Tongva people. The park is south of Colorado Avenue and is divided into four main sections. Guests can easily navigate the various areas of the park on the walking paths. The kids can have a blast at the splash pad and the playground.

Related: 10 Must-Visit Places You Should See In California

The Annenburg Community Beach House is a unique public hangout spot in Santa Monica that is open to everyone. It’s an inclusive community space with amenities like a splash pad, playground seating area, free Wi-Fi, and more. There’s also a swimming pool and a capacity to hose up to 400 people there for events.

3/10 Drive To The End Of Route 66

Route 66 is one of the most famous road trip journeys travelers can take in the United States. The long route starts in Chicago and takes drivers all the way across the country to the end of the trail near the Santa Monica Pier. Travelers who are road-tripping to the West Coast will absolutely want to take a photo at the sign to commemorate reaching the end of the road.

2/10 Have Lunch At Ocean Avenue

Ocean Avenue is another scenic area in Santa Monica where travelers can simply spend a day roaming freely, shopping, and dining at their leisure. The beautiful road is the westernmost in Santa Monica and runs parallel to Palisades Park, offering gorgeous views. So close to the ocean it’s no wonder there are plenty of amazing seafood restaurants to try along this road.

1/10 Rent A Bicycle

Seeing Santa Monica by bike is a peaceful experience that allows travelers to feel the ocean breeze in their hair and take in the scenery while covering more ground than they could on a walking tour. There are lots of options for bicycle rental in the city, including Blazing Saddles Beach Rental and Tours or Joyride-Bike Rentals & Tours.

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