Things To Do In Santa Monica
There are so many things to do in Santa Monica, from going on a hike, swimming at the beach, eating authentic Italian food, and shopping. I could go on for days about all of the amazing things to do in this city. So whether you’re visiting or living here, these 21 best things to do in Santa Monica will help you make the most out of your time in Southern California!
Eat at the original Huckleberry Cafe
The Huckleberry Cafe is one of the best places to eat in Santa Monica. It’s a small, busy establishment that has been around for decades and offers great food at reasonable prices. The huckleberries are the key ingredient to their famous pancakes, which come in many flavors including sour cream and blueberry, banana walnut, and cherry almond. The restaurant is located in a historic building on Wilshire Boulevard on the northern end of Santa Monica Beach.
Check out the promenade
Located right on the beach in Santa Monica, the Promenade is a popular place for locals and tourists alike. The “P” as it’s known by locals, is an easy way to enjoy some exercise or just people-watch from a bench on this 2-mile stretch of shops and restaurants that runs along the beachfront. If you’re looking for something with more energy, then check out Muscle Beach where you can work up a sweat by trying out some new workouts.
Walk on the 3rd St Promenade
The 3rd St Promenade is one of the best places to walk your dog in Santa Monica. There are many shops, restaurants, and street performers on this pedestrian-friendly street. It’s also a great place to people-watch and enjoys the California sunshine.
Rent a bike and ride down the Mary Hotchkiss Park trail
Rent a bike from the Bike Center on Main Street, and ride down the Mary Hotchkiss Park trail to the beach. Along this trail, you’ll find plenty of food options—from places like In N Out Burger (a California staple) to taco trucks and ice cream parlors. Pack a picnic or stop in at one of these restaurants for a bite before heading back up the hill.
Take a photo of Urban Light at LACMA
If you’re looking for a photo spot that will make you look like a local, Urban Light is it. The sculpture by Chris Burden consists of 202 restored street lamps that are lit at night, making for an awesome backdrop to any selfie or snapshot.
Location: LACMA parking lot (just south of Wilshire Boulevard)
Go to the beach
If you want to relax, go to the beach. The air is clean and the water is refreshingly cool. If you want to swim, go to the beach. The water never gets too deep and the waves are gentle enough for children who can’t swim yet. If you want to play with your dog on the sand, go to the beach! Dogs love rolling around in all that extra space they have when they’re not stuck inside. And if it’s a beautiful sunset time of day? Go out there and soak in that peacefulness before heading home again at night!
Visit the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a must-see attraction for both kids and adults. It’s located right on the Santa Monica Pier, which offers spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. You can’t miss it—it’s right in front of you as soon as you get off the train or bus.
After paying admission (about $20 per person), you’ll be able to walk through several aquariums filled with sharks, sea turtles, rays, and other marine life. The aquarium also has an interactive touch tank where kids can get up close and personal with some of its inhabitants. There are even aquariums dedicated entirely to jellyfish!
If you’re traveling with kids who are afraid of fish (and who isn’t?), there are plenty of other things for them to do at this facility: They can explore tide pools that mimic those found near shorelines all over California; learn about different types of ocean life by creating their sea creatures out of clay; look for sea shells along the beach; watch movies about whales and dolphins; go on a whale watching excursions from nearby ports…the list goes on!
See a show at The Broad Stage
If you’re looking for a place to see a show, The Broad Stage is the place to go. Located in Santa Monica, this venue has a variety of shows and performances throughout the year. There’s always something new happening at The Broad Stage!
The Broad Stage is known for its great atmosphere and delicious food and drinks. It’s also known for having amazing staff members who make sure everything runs smoothly at this wonderful venue!
Take a cliffside hike along Rustic Canyon Park Trail to Murphy Ranch
The trail is not well-marked and you’ll have to navigate your way, so be prepared for that. The trail is steep in some places, so it’s best to wear sensible shoes or sneakers. Be careful on the rocky parts, too; there are a few big drops that can cause serious injury if you’re not careful.
The hike itself will take about 3 miles (round trip) and will probably take you 1-2 hours from start to finish depending on how fast you go. It’s definitely worth the effort though! Along the way, there will be many beautiful views of the ocean and other areas of Santa Monica as well as some interesting historical sites such as Murphy Ranch which was an old Nazi hideout during World War II!
Visit the historic Annenberg Beach House for some sun, relaxation, and alcohol
- The Annenberg Beach House is a great place to chill and hang out.
- The beach house has a pool, which makes it easy to relax while staying cool.
- They have a bar with an extensive drink menu, so you can find something that suits your tastes.
- The Annenberg Beach House provides one of the best views of the sun setting over Santa Monica Bay—you’ll love watching it set!
Watch the sunset from Neptune’s Net
If you are looking for a great view of the sunset and some seafood, Neptune’s Net is the place to go. The restaurant is on the Santa Monica beach and has a large outdoor patio with a great view of the ocean and sunset.
Go shopping on Montana Avenue
Montana Avenue is a great place to go shopping for clothing, accessories, and gifts. There are many small boutiques and shops. You will also find some larger stores such as Athleta and Anthropologie. If you’re planning on visiting Santa Monica as a tourist or just want to get some souvenirs from the city, then Montana Avenue is your best bet as it has everything you could want.
Eat at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
This is a great place to eat, and not just because it’s right across the street from Santa Monica Pier. The sandwiches are amazing and come with a variety of toppings. They have a great selection of pastries, too!
The staff is friendly and helpful. Prices are reasonable — you can get an excellent sandwich here for $10 or less. The location is convenient; it’s right on Pico Boulevard so it’s easy to find parking (and there’s plenty), plus there’s lots more shopping available in the area if you want to do some window shopping before or after lunch (or if you want to stop by again later).
Santa Monica has so many fun things to do, it can be hard to choose!
If you’re looking to visit Santa Monica, our advice is to stay for a few days. The city has so many fun things to do that it can be hard to choose!
So what are the best things to do in Santa Monica? There’s no way to fit everything into one day—you’ll need at least two (or three). And even then, there will be some tough choices. It’s important to know that even if your favorite activity isn’t on this list, there are plenty of other fun things for visitors and locals alike. You can always come back another time!
Santa Monica is a great city for those who want to relax and unwind. It has so many beautiful parks, beaches, and restaurants that are perfect for anyone looking for a nice day trip or weekend getaway. Whether you’re looking for a quick trip to the beach or an all-day adventure exploring this beautiful city, Santa Monica has something for everyone!