Best Things to Do in Santa Monica

Pacific Coast Highway Travel picks the best things to do in Santa Monica including visiting the pier, the beach, parks, museums, mountains, and shopping.

Santa Monica in sunny California is a paradise for those seeking a blend of beach life, outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and vibrant city life.

If you're planning a trip to this beautiful city and wondering about the best things to do, you're in for a treat. Let's dive into the top must-see attractions and experiences Santa Monica has to offer.

Best Things to Do in Santa Monica

santa_monica_pier_flickr-public-domain.jpgThe Entrance to Santa Monica Pier

First on our list is the iconic Santa Monica Pier. This historic landmark is more than just a pier; it's a playground for all ages. With its classic Ferris wheel providing panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, an old-school roller coaster, and an aquarium, it's a must-visit.

Don't forget to try some local seafood at one of the pier's restaurants. For more details see our full page about Santa Monica Pier.

Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Phone: (310) 458-8901. Website: santamonicapier.org.

Our Pick of the LA Guides

Fodors-Los-Angeles-travel-guide.png

Next up is the Third Street Promenade, a lively pedestrian-only shopping street. It's the perfect place for retail therapy, with a mix of high-end brands and unique local boutiques. The street performers add to the atmosphere, and there's a wide selection of restaurants and bars as well.

Website: downtownsm.com.

Santa-Monica-Art-Museum.pngThe Santa Monica Art Museum

For the art enthusiasts, the Santa Monica Art Museum is a must-visit. This contemporary art museum showcases innovative exhibitions and offers educational programs. It's a great way to immerse yourself in the local art scene.

Address: 2525 Michigan Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90404. Phone: (310) 586-6488. Website: santamonicaartmuseum.com.

Santa-Monica-Mountains.pngThe Santa Monica Mountains

If you're into outdoor activities like hiking and biking, the Santa Monica Mountains offer numerous trails with stunning views of the city and the ocean. The Temescal Gateway Park is a popular choice.

Hike-the-Santa-Monica-Mountains.jpg

Check out this guide to hiking the mountains.

For more information on trails, visit: nps.gov/samo.

Camera-Obscura-Art-Lab-Santa-Monica.pngThe Camera Obscura Art Lab in Santa Monica

For a unique experience, visit the Camera Obscura Art Lab. This quirky attraction features a giant camera obscura that projects a 360-degree view of the surrounding area onto a large disc. They also offer art workshops.

Address: 1450 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Phone: (310) 458-2239. Website: smgov.net.

Santa-Monica-Beach.jpgSanta Monica Beach

The Santa Monica Beach is a classic California beach with golden sand, palm trees, and a lively boardwalk. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim, surf, or play beach volleyball, it's a fun place to spend a day.

For more information, visit: santamonica.com.

Annenberg-Community-Beach-House-Santa-Monica.pngThe Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica

The Annenberg Community Beach House is a public facility offering a pool, splash pad, playground, and beach access. It's a perfect spot for families and also hosts various events throughout the year.

Address: 415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica, CA 90402. Phone: (310) 458-4904. Website: annenbergbeachhouse.com.

Santa-Monica-History-Museum.pngAn old postcard showing the Santa Monica Pier roller-coaster
from the collection of the Santa Monica History Museum

For a taste of local history, visit the Santa Monica History Museum. It offers a fascinating insight into the city's past through its exhibits and collections.

Address: 1350 7th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Phone: (310) 395-2290. Website: santamonicahistory.org.

Tongva-Park-Santa-Monica.pngTongva Park in Santa Monica

Finally, Tongva Park is a modern urban park with innovative design features, including a stunning observation deck. It's a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, though there are several other parks worth visiting too.

Address: 1615 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Phone: (310) 458-8310. Website: smgov.net.

So, there you have it, the best experiences in Santa Monica. Whether you're a beach bum, a culture vulture, a shopaholic, or an outdoor enthusiast, Santa Monica has something for everyone. Now, all that's left is for you to pack your bags and start exploring. Enjoy your trip!

Other Santa Monica pages

  • The Miramar Santa Monica's restaurant, FIG, had a rave review from the Los Angeles Times for its romantic dining and tasty food.

    The Miramar Santa Monica Restaurant

    The Miramar Santa Monica's restaurant, FIG, had a rave review from the Los Angeles Times for its romantic dining and tasty food.

  • There are many Santa Monica luxury hotels and while Le Meridien Delfina is not right by the beach it has a great bar, pool, restaurant.

    Santa Monica Luxury Hotels

    There are many Santa Monica luxury hotels and while Le Meridien Delfina is not right by the beach it has a great bar, pool, restaurant.

  • The Viceroy Santa Monica hotel is one of Los Angeles' best, a favorite of celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Sting, Demi Moore, and Leonardo DiCaprio,

    Viceroy Santa Monica

    The Viceroy Santa Monica hotel is one of Los Angeles' best, a favorite of celebrities like Dustin Hoffman, Sting, Demi Moore, and Leonardo DiCaprio,

  • The best hotels in Santa Monica combine spa luxury with easy access to the beach, among them  Shutters on the Beach, Fairmont Miramar, Casa del Mar and Merigot

    Best Hotels in Santa Monica with Spas

    The best hotels in Santa Monica combine spa luxury with easy access to the beach, among them Shutters on the Beach, Fairmont Miramar, Casa del Mar and Merigot

  • The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica overlooks the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica Beach and is a short walk from Santa Monica Pier.

    Hotel Shangri-La

    The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica overlooks the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica Beach and is a short walk from Santa Monica Pier.

  • Pictures of Santa Monica from Pacific Coast Highway Travel to help anyone thinking of staying in Santa Monica on their PCH drive.

    Pictures of Santa Monica

    Pictures of Santa Monica from Pacific Coast Highway Travel to help anyone thinking of staying in Santa Monica on their PCH drive.

  •  Of all the events in Santa Monica, Glow must be the most amazing, an all-night celebration of art and culture and one of the USA's largest public art events.

    Events in Santa Monica: Glow

    Of all the events in Santa Monica, Glow must be the most amazing, an all-night celebration of art and culture and one of the USA's largest public art events.

  • Santa Monica in California is famous for its pier, and beaches, and is one of the best west coast vacation spots, with hotels, restaurants, surfing, museums.

    Santa Monica, California

    Santa Monica in California is famous for its pier, and beaches, and is one of the best west coast vacation spots, with hotels, restaurants, surfing, museums.



Recent Articles

  1. Pacific Coast Highway night closures end

    Feb 27, 24 10:16 AM

    A 6-mile stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in Ventura County that had been shut at night since Feb. 5 due to storm damage has been repaired, the California Highway Department of Transportation, or Calt…

    Read More

  2. Malibu Canyon Road Reopens Five Days After Mudslide

    Feb 27, 24 10:16 AM

    Crews worked for several days to clear 500 cubic yards of mud, rock and debris that blocked Malibu Canyon Road.

    Read More

  3. From celebrity chef to winemaker - Curtis Stone's next move

    Feb 27, 24 10:16 AM

    He’s the Melbourne-born chef turned international small screen success story, now Curtis Stone has given us a rare glimpse inside the ranch renovation that is setting him on a new career path.

    Read More