Santa Monica Love from a Local
Food & Wine
Santa Monica is an excellent active city just a short drive away from Los Angeles. It is perfect for those who love to bike and hike, as well as those looking indulge at its farmer's markets, beaches, museums and galleries.
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Where to stay in Santa Monica
Santa Monica Proper Hotel
A luxury lifestyle hotel on sun-drenched Wilshire Boulevard where guests will have a front-row seat to sunsets over the Pacific.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
Complimentary bottle of wine in room on arrival.
Complimentary welcome gift on arrival.
Viceroy Santa Monica
Relaxing property nearby Santa Monica State Beach with upscale rooms and suites offering city, pool and ocean views.
$25 hotel / resort credit.
Welcome treat in room on arrival.
Upgrade, based on availability.
Shutters on the Beach
The classic Santa Monica beach experience, the lobby makes this property feel more intimate, but the pool is a great scene.
$100 food / beverage credit.
Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.
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Things to do in Santa Monica
Santa Monica is the perfect biking city with bike lanes all over the city, and plenty of rentals available. Riding the famous Santa Monica Bike path along the coast is one of the best beach bike rides in the world. The full bike path is twenty-two miles from Santa Monica to the Manhattan Beach Pier. Bike Tour The best bike tour in Santa Monica is a unique history of the beach from the late 1800s to current. The tour is led by a fun and knowledgeable tour guide. I could be biased of this tour since I'm the guide. I am passionate to share where I grew up, sharing the awesome and random history of where Baywatch was filmed to what happened to the POP Amusement Park.
Ten minutes from Downtown Santa Monica are three fantastic hikes with epic coastal views. Temescal Canyon, Los Leones and Westridge offer ample parking and easy to get to with a ride-share option.
Wednesday Downtown Santa Monica is one of the best produce and veggies markets in all of LA. Sunday on Main Street is always a fun activity with great vendors, food and people watching
There's north of the pier and south of the pier as beach options. South of the pier is very lively as it goes into Venice Beach. North of the pier tends to be a little more chill. There are multiple access walkways and bridges to cross over Pacific Coast Highway to the northern beaches.
Museums & Art Galleries
The Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica airport is very cool for any aviation geeks. You can also planes take off and land from the Santa Monica airport. The Cayton Children's Museum on the 3rd floor of Santa Monica Place is full of hands-on activities and exhibits for kids. Bergamot Station houses many different art galleries and exhibits.
Transportation Getting around LA use to be a pain, but that’s no longer the case. You have several options ride share Rental car standard rental or Turo Public transportation/ metro and bus.
Places to eat & drink in Santa Monica
Backyard bowls: Start your day with a healthy smoothie or tasty Açaí bowl.
Lunch and Dinner
R+D Kitchen on Montana meat, seafood and salads always buzzing neighborhood favorites.
Augie's on Main: Causal dining burgers, chicken sandwiches and salads from 2-Star Michelin Chef and Santa Monica Native, Josiah Citrin.
The Courtyard Kitchen is neighbored cafe with a variety of choices from salmon burgers, Salad and sandwiches.
Ashland Hill is a great casual lunch/happy hour spot on Main Street.
Sunny Blue, a unique sushi rice ball spot. Perfect to grab and walk down to the beach.
Stella Barra Pizzeria: Great sit-down restaurant with pizza, salad and wings.
The Galley: The oldest restaurant in Santa Monica on Main Street. Seafood, bar and fun local neighborhood vibes.
Kazunori: Great lunch or dinner spot. Original hand roll spot. Usually a line and totally worth it.
La Puglia: Traditional north Italian dining, great staff and good vibes.
Fia Restaurant: Very cool back patio vibes with an assortment of meat, fish and veggie dishes, great cocktails.
La Vecchia Cucina: Classic Italian neighborhood that’s been a community staple for twenty-plus years.
Blue Plate Taco: Modern Mexican twist with great margaritas.
Water Grill: Classic seafood and meat dining option, huge selection and good service.
Need to Know
For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Sophia Mohammed’s guide, Road Tripping Through the Santa Monica Mountains.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.