If you spent all your time stretched out on sand or frolicking in the Pacific Ocean, nobody would blame you – but Santa Monica has a lot more up its sleeve for visitors. World-class shopping, for starters: the city’s retail scene is hard to beat. Whatever your style, and whatever you’re after – one-off artworks, covetable homewares, beauty-boosting lotions and potions, big-budget designers or boxfresh streetwear and skater-garms– you’ll find it all here. Since the city is so easy to get around, you won’t waste valuable shopping time stuck in traffic jams or searching for parking.
Explore at your own pace on foot – pausing to refuel at the bohemian beachfront cafés whenever you need an energy boost. Montana Avenue is where the A-list perfect their high-gloss style (it’s also home to some cool local designers); Main Street has its own bounty of quirky boutiques. Santa Monica Place mall boasts amazing stores (from high-end to high-street), breathtaking views and delicious dining; sign up for a personal shopping experience to add a dose of LA-cool to your wardrobe.
Talking of LA-cool, don’t miss Santa Monica’s thriving arts scene; the city has helped shape Southern Cali’s cultural identity, after all. Santa Monica was recently nicknamed ‘Silicon Beach’, thanks to its bounty of tech and internet start-ups; the city is home to a large and influential art community. Pick from more than 120 galleries, public art installations, museums and theatres; you can also expect a packed calendar of concerts, plays, dance shows and other performances. Don’t miss Bergamot Station, a former rail yard that hosts a wealth of contemporary art galleries.
MUST DO ATTRACTIONS
At Santa Monica Beach, you can get your fix of ocean adventures, including sunbathing, surfing, biking and volleyball. You don’t have to be a Hollywood movie star to feel like one, thanks to Perry’s At the Beach: a beachside butler service. Let your obliging butler set up your beach chair, equip you with suntanning lotion and treat you to a chilled drink. Come sunset, stroll along Santa Monica Pier and hop on the Pacific Park Ferris Wheel for bird’s-eye views of the sinking sun. Don’t miss the South Bay Bicycle Trail, which wends 22 miles from North of Santa Monica to the bluffs and beyond. If you want to gawp at some of LA’s most iconic sights, just hop on the Metro to the attraction of your choice – they’re all within reach from Santa Monica.