Last Updated on March 28, 2023
If you haven’t visited Los Angeles before, you probably have the picture of Santa Monica in your head as the beach and the famous pier full of people obsessed with their physical image. And it is true. You will see lots of incredibly fit people trying to make their way into the world of cinema. But the truth is that Santa Monica has so much to offer, and you can have a fantastic time joining the local’s lifestyle for a few days. Here are 5 amazing things to do in Santa Monica to make the most out of your trip:
1. Eat like a local
Santa Monica’s restaurant scene makes it one of the top foodie places to visit in Los Angeles. However, as in most cities, the range of options can be quite overwhelming. If you are looking to eat like a local, you may want to start the day having homemade pastries for breakfast or brunch dishes such as burritos and duck confit hash. A place called Huckleberry Café & Bakery always has locals lining up around the corner, which says a lot!
For lunch, there are a number of American-style restaurants to have a delicious burger or a crispy chicken sandwich. Some great suggestions are Art’s Table and R+D Kitchen. And for dinner, there are also numerous options depending on the atmosphere you are after. For a romantic dinner, Rustic Canyon Wine Bar and Seasonal Kitchen is the perfect setting. If you are looking for family dining, you may want to try Stella Barra Pizzeria.
2. Skate down the Strand
For those interested in skateboarding, you may want to start by reading this definitive guide about best longboards for cruising by Active Authorities, before you skate down the Strand.
The ‘Strand’ is how the locals call the promenade that goes from pier to pier alongside Santa Monica’s beach. You will find people walking, cycling or even on a Segway. But if you are into skateboarding, renting a longboard to ride along the Strand will be an unforgettable experience.
3. Have fun at Santa Monica Pier
You can’t leave Santa Monica before bustling this wooden wharf. With its eateries, shops, high-tech arcade, roller coaster, giant Ferris wheel and other rides, it is the place to be! Don’t miss the famous 1922 indoor merry-go-round and its wonderful views of the bay and the mountains. Spending a couple of hours at Santa Monica Pier you will feel like being in a movie.
TAKEAWAY: Among the many restaurants located at Santa Monica Pier, you can find a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant. This seafood chain came to life inspired by the film Forrest Gump, where Forrest Gump’s friend Bubba suggested they open a shrimp business after returning from the war since his family had a lot of experience cooking this type of seafood. After Bubba’s death during the Vietnam War, Forrest decided to make his friend’s dream come true by funding the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company.
4. Shopping at the Third Street Promenade
The Third Street Promenade in downtown Santa Monica is famous for being a shopping haven and a street-performer stage. Walking down this pedestrian street, you will come across the most unusual musicians and other performers you have never seen before. This festive outdoor shopping and dining destination buzzes with activity, especially on gorgeous-weather days. Stroll, walk around and visit The Gallery, the newly remodelled food court.
5. Take a helicopter tour
And if you are really adventurous and want to do something different, take a helicopter tour. A helicopter ride over Los Angeles is a one in a lifetime experience where you will not only overview the mountain with the Hollywood sign, but you will also get an amazing view of the city’s buildings the coastline and the sea, making a dream come true!
With this range of things to do in Santa Monica, you are sure to have a great time. And you might even cross paths with some famous celebrity while doing them!