Santa Monica Travel Guide

Browse 109 travel reviews, 20 travel blogs and 1,451 travel photos from real travelers to Santa Monica.

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Santa Monica Overview

A Pacific Ocean beachside resort immortalized in the lyrics of countless music-loving beach bums and seemingly designed for the summer, Santa Monica is a holiday-focused corner of LA County that’s grown over the past century from a tiny tourist aside along the golden coast to a clearly cash-heavy neighbourhood with an endearing love of surfing.

As one of the west coast’s artier corners, Santa Monica can offer you plenty in the way of quirky entertainment, which comes in the form of anything from competitive chess in the city’s parks to the boardwalk and pier, home to street artists, roller coasters and stunning views of the beach. The aim is clear from the outset: a high quality adventure experience, one that mixes the laid back vibes of the beach-bum, surfer lifestyle with the modern influx of professionals who want to eat high-end seafood and sip on cocktails.

For more of a taste of the culture that Santa Monica loves to rave about, delve into the galleries – there are nearly one hundred of them, so you’re absolutely certain to find something you like the look of – or take in a concert on the pier. The design district explores the classic and the modern in the world of home furnishings (a functional souvenir?) and the city has a few historical landmarks to show off, too.

Despite only being built over the last century or so, Santa Monica does includes the end of the stunning west coast highway Route 66 (though exactly where that end is located is a subject of plenty of local debate), while you can also explore the Marion Davies Estate, once home to some of Hollywood’s most notorious parties in the early days of cinema.

Located barely a stones throw away from the infamous Malibu and hardly a long shot from LA itself, either, Santa Monica is a great stop off on a Pacific road trip, one that gives you a brief taste of the high life and plenty of time to slip into full on relaxation mode.

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