20 Things We Love About Santa Monica
The Event Team’s 20th Anniversary Celebration continues with a look at one of our favorite Los Angeles suburbs, Santa Monica! This laid-back beach community is the perfect place to catch some rays and experience the softer, sunnier side of Los Angeles! Check it out:
1. Santa Monica Pier: Recently celebrating its 100th birthday, Santa Monica Pier combines the nostalgic charm of a turn-of-the-century seaside pleasure park with many modern attractions. Whether it is the carnival rides, midway and arcade games, souvenir shops, fishing, artists and entertainers, dining, the aquarium, or trapeze school, there is surely something for everyone at this historic Los Angeles landmark. After dark, the pier lights up in a brilliant display of multi-colored lights. The pier’s Seaside Pavilion is an incomparable venue that can accommodate groups from 25 to 300.
This photo of Santa Monica is courtesy of TripAdvisor
2. Commitment to Sustainability: Santa Monica has its own intensive Green Business Certification Program that encourages resource conservation and waste reduction. It is also the first city to buy 100 percent renewable energy. With green building incentives, hybrid transportation fleets, reduced dry weather pollution, “A” rated clean beaches, and free charging stations for electric vehicles, Santa Monica ranks among the top green cities in the country. The pier’s LED light-clad Ferris wheel is even solar-powered, a world’s first!
3. Third Street Promenade: A variety of stores, restaurants, bars, theaters, art galleries, and entertainers line Santa Monica’s famous 3-block, pedestrian-only shopping district, the Third Street Promenade. This lively outdoor mall is the perfect place to shop, eat, and people watch. Find a variety of organic California-grown produce at the certified farmers market here on Wednesday and Saturday mornings.
4. The Beach: Santa Monica’s world-famous beaches offer a bevy of recreation opportunities from surfing to sunbathing. Bicycling, volleyball, and yoga are also popular along this pristine shoreline frequently seen in film and television.
5. Healthy Dining: Home to innumerable innovative and world class eateries, Santa Monica’s wealth of healthy dining options is unequaled. Assemble custom salads at Greens Up!, devour vegan versions of food favorites at Euphoria Loves RAWvolution, and sample whole bean brews at Urth Caffe, the country’s first all-organic coffee company. An array of tasty and nutritious eateries will fulfill all your fresh, seasonal, and organic desires.
6. Beachside Hotels: Dine, meet, and relax at a collection of luxury and boutique hotels lining the Santa Monica coast. Business and pleasure travelers are bathed in beach-side elegance at Shutters, Casa Del Mar, Viceroy, Shore Hotel, Sheraton Delfina, Lowes, and JW Marriott, among many others.
7. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area: Hike up to glorious views of the mountains, ocean, and city at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the world’s largest urban national park. Miles of trails stretching from the beach to the mountains showcase California’s biodiversity in this unique coastal ecosystem. Just outside the city, Will Rogers State Historic Park offers opportunities to hike, bike, horseback ride, and tour the legendary singing cowboy’s historic ranch house.
8. Pubs: While there is no shortage of fantastic drinking establishments in Santa Monica, it is the traditional (and not so traditional!) English pub scene that is deeply rooted in the city’s culture. Anglophiles can enjoy soccer, darts, and English ales at The Daily Pint, Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub, Britannia Pub, and the atmospheric Ye Olde King’s Head (home of world-famous fish and chips!).
9. Aero Theater: A restored 1940’s-era movie house, Aero Theater is home to the American Cinematheque, a non-profit, viewer-supported organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture. Everything from classics to abstract art films not generally available to the public are screened and often followed by Q&A sessions with cast, crew, or film historians. Celebrity sightings are not uncommon at this cinema-lover’s haven.
10. Bergamot Station: Formerly a historic Red Line trolley depot, Bergamot Station has been transformed into Southern California’s largest art gallery complex and cultural center. Home to the Santa Monica Museum of Art and over 30 galleries, it is a true artist’s paradise. For a break from gallery hopping, the Bergamot Café offers a creative menu and eclectic lunch crowd. It doubles as a unique event venue as well!
11. Museum of Flying: The newly remodeled and expanded Museum of Flying honors the history of air travel and aviation traditions. The nearly two dozen aircraft, a flight simulator, and ride-film experiences are popular attractions at this museum that highlights the history of Santa Monica’s famed Douglas Aircraft. A 40-seat screening room and the well-known Donald Douglas Boardroom make this a special venue for events of all kinds.
12. McCabe’s Guitar Shop: Opened in 1958, McCabe’s is Los Angeles’s largest and most famous stringed-instrument shop. They offer rentals, lessons, repairs, and world-famous concerts. The sound waves of musicians ranging from the extremely famous to local prodigies have rocked the walls of McCabe’s.
13. Annenberg Community Beach House: This five-acre public beach club was originally built as a 100-room mansion by William Randolph Hearst and became a popular Hollywood A-lister hangout. Awarded the 2010 “Best New Venue” award in the BizBash L.A. Event Style Awards, the beach house features courtyards, a pool, beach courts and fields, children’s play area, splash pad, historic Marion Davies Guest House, gallery, and a viewing deck.
14. Spas: Pampering a who’s-who of Hollywood celebrities and star athletes, Santa Monica’s huge selection of luxurious day spas is sure to excite even the most experienced relaxation seekers. The variety of wellness treatments are limitless and include massages, manicures, facials, peels, waxes, tannings, steam rooms, and deep-heating Japanese enzyme baths!!
15. Burgers: For the less health conscious, Santa Monica has become a renowned burger mecca. Design your own burger at The Counter, indulge in the Wagyu beef burger at Cora’s, or try the extravagant $28 bison-meat burger at Josie. While Chef Sang Yoon’s “no substitutions” Guyere and Maytag blue cheese burger at Father’s Office may be the most famous, it is the creative burger innovations at newcomer Umami Burger that have become the local favorite and burgeoning burger champions. The truffle burger and secret menu cheesy tots are a perfect pairing!
16. Palisades Park: 13 blocks of palms and greenery perched on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean is the romantic Palisades Park. Rose gardens, cobblestone gates, and an Arts and Crafts pergola give this city escape an old-world feel. A crushed asphalt running path traverses the charming 1.6 mile park.
17. Santa Monica History Museum: The Santa Monica History Museum houses a treasure trove of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia celebrating the rich culture of this famous city. The museum is one of the largest in the country for a city of its size.
18. Santa Monica Playhouse: A local tradition for over 50 years, Santa Monica Playhouse is an intimate professional theater that has played an important role in the California theater community. With children’s programs ranking among the top in the world, the playhouse also offers year-round Main Stage productions, Family Theatre musicals, workshops for adults, classes in private and public schools, and birthday parties.
19. Automobile Alternatives: Unlike most of Los Angeles, cars are not a necessity for exploring Santa Monica. With a total 8.3 square mileage and primary tourist districts in close proximity, the city is easily navigable by foot or bicycle. In fact, well-marked lanes, routes, paths, and bike racks give Santa Monica the distinction of being one of America’s most bike-friendly cities. Santa Monica’s Mini Blue Buses, small and eco-friendly, provide quick and cheap transport around the neighborhood for the less fitness inclined. For a more unconventional mode of travel, Segway tours and rentals are readily available.
20. Santa Monica Place: Santa Monica Place is the city’s newest state-of-the-art shopping destination. A roof-top dining deck offering spectacular 360 degree views of the area tops this A-list retail complex. The open-air mall, with a one-of-a-kind design inspired by the city itself, features a brand new Nordstrom’s and a custom-built Bloomingdales.
Special shout-out to the team at Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau for always keeping us informed and excited about their awesome community!