Santa MonicaUnited States of America

Image for Santa Monica showing a sandy beach and general coastal views

An up-market city home to surfers, students, and celebrities, this is where to enjoy one of the famous beaches, a historic pier and great nightlife of the Los Angeles area.

Santa Monica has been one of LA’s most fashionable beach cities for decades. It’s easy to see why with its famous beaches, historic pier, balmy year-round weather and a trendy crowd that frequents the many cafés, boutiques and bars.

Grab a towel and head to the well-maintained beach, which stretches for 3.5 miles (5.6 kilometers). The sand is raked daily and is shared by volleyball players, swimmers and sunbathers throughout the year.

For a bit of fun, check out the historic Santa Monica Pier where all the family will enjoy the Pacific Park amusement center. There’s also a small aquarium, shops and arcade.

Wander between the cafés, bookstores, and cinemas of the Third Street Promenade. Check out Main Street for more shops, or go celebrity watching on Montana Avenue. Admire quality top-notch art, visit the Bergamot Station Arts Center. You’ll find the Santa Monica Museum of Art as well as several other smaller galleries. In the evening, drop by the Santa Monica Playhouse for a show, then head out to choose from dozens of bars and restaurants.

From Third St Promenade head to Palisades Park. It stretches for 25 acres (10 hectares), and its treelined paths give a great view of the ocean. There are plenty of spots to picnic, read and watch the world go by.

If you feel like picking up the pace, rent a bike and go for a ride along the 22-mile (35-kilometer) Marvin Braude Bike Trail. This trail passes beneath the Santa Monica Pier and runs mostly along the Pacific Ocean.

Santa Monica is home to a sophisticated and fun crowd. You can hit the beach, party, go celebrity watching, or check out the well-developed art scene and eclectic shops.

Where to stay in Santa Monica

Surfing Golden Hour
trover photo by Dan Rose

Ocean Park

4.5/5Wonderful!(212 area reviews)

A noteworthy feature of Ocean Park is its stunning beaches. While you're in town, be sure to stop and check out Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach.

Ocean Park
Santa Monica Pier featuring a marina, street scenes and signage

Downtown

4.5/5Wonderful!(368 area reviews)

While you're in Downtown, take in top sights like Santa Monica Pier and jump on the metro at Downtown Santa Monica Station to see more of the city.

Downtown
Santa Monica featuring tropical scenes and general coastal views

Pico

5/5Exceptional!(1 area review)

If you're spending time in Pico, check out sights like Third Street Promenade or Santa Monica Place and hop on the metro to see more the city at 17th Street/SMC Station or 26th Street/Bergamot Station.

Pico
Cool spot for great coffee and pastries, near the beach.
trover photo by mylah barreto

North of Wilshire

4.5/5Wonderful!(85 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in North of Wilshire, Third Street Promenade and Montana Avenue are top sights worth seeing.

North of Wilshire
Santa Monica which includes mountains, landscape views and general coastal views

Mid-City

4/5Very Good!(145 area reviews)

Even though there aren't top sights in Mid-City, you can explore the larger area and take in top sights like Third Street Promenade. Jump on the metro at 17th Street/SMC Station to see more of the city.

Mid-City
Stunning Valentine's Day sunset
trover photo by HapaRoundTheWorld

North of Montana

4.5/5Wonderful!(2 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in North of Montana, Santa Monica Beach and Montana Avenue are top sights worth seeing.

North of Montana

Top Hotels in Santa Monica

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1700 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
NT$9,759
per night
Mar 2 - Mar 3

Located in Downtown, this beachfront hotel is on the boardwalk and within a 5-minute walk of Original Muscle Beach and Santa Monica Beach. Santa Monica Pier ...

4.2/5Very Good! (1,984 reviews)

"A large hotel that manages to not feel like an emporium. Room was wonderfully spacious and my bed blissful. Loved the pool deck and veranda with fire pits overlooking the ocean. Could not fault anything about my stay. I will definitely return."…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/12

Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
3.5 out of 5
1920 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
NT$5,254
per night
Mar 15 - Mar 16

Located in Mid-City, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Santa Monica College, Third Street Promenade, and Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach ...

4.4/5Excellent! (1,147 reviews)

"The restaurant connected, SoCalo had a nice brunch and the underground parking was helpful"…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/17

Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
5 out of 5
101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA
NT$10,184
per night
Feb 23 - Feb 24

Located in North of Wilshire, this beachfront hotel is in the entertainment district and within a 10-minute walk of Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Beach, ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,782 reviews)

"location and vibes was great. good guests and exellent Concierge."…"

Reviewed on 2020/2/15

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Popular things to do in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier
Image for Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

4.5/5(6,441 reviews)

You'll find beachside kitsch, boardwalk ambiance and carnival fun at this sunbaked LA attraction that’s more than a hundred years old.

Santa Monica Beach
Image for Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach

4.5/5(3,023 reviews)

Located just west of downtown Los Angeles, this iconic southern California beach is a haven for swimmers, surfers, beachcombers and fitness enthusiasts. 

Third Street Promenade
Image for Third Street Promenade

Third Street Promenade

4/5(36 reviews)

You can browse for souvenirs with a trip to Third Street Promenade, a popular shopping spot in Santa Monica. Stroll along the area's beaches or simply enjoy its restaurants.

Santa Monica Place
Image for Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place

4.5/5(13 reviews)

You can enjoy some retail therapy with a trip to Santa Monica Place, a popular shopping spot in Santa Monica. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

Pacific Park
Image for Pacific Park

Pacific Park

5/5(3 reviews)

Enjoy a trip to Pacific Park, a well-known attraction in Santa Monica. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the top-notch restaurants while you're in the area.

Main Street Santa Monica
Image for Main Street Santa Monica

Main Street Santa Monica

4/5(6 reviews)

During your visit to Santa Monica, you can search for that perfect souvenir at Main Street Santa Monica. Stroll along this family-friendly area's beaches, or simply enjoy its restaurants.

Reviews of Santa Monica

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
632
5 - Excellent 51.465798045602604%
4 - Good
499
4 - Good 40.63517915309446%
3 - Okay
78
3 - Okay 6.351791530944626%
2 - Disappointing
14
2 - Disappointing 1.1400651465798046%
1 - Terrible
5
1 - Terrible 0.40716612377850164%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 18, 2020

Santa Monica is great, the beach is great, there are always good acts on the promenade, good restaurants, just a nice place to hang with family and friends.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 18, 2020

Beautiful

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 18, 2020

Santa Monica has been and always will be one of my favorite places in California!

2/5 - Disappointing

DJE

Feb 17, 2020

I was approached by potential sex traffickers who were interested in my teenage daughter. I was at the steak and shake on the Third Street Promenade. He approached me while I was at the condiment bar. I asked an employee for help.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 17, 2020

It is beautiful, clean, people are friendly and the weather is perfect!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Feb 13, 2020

I love Santa Monica and have been several times, but this is the first time I've gone around Oscar weekend and it was very busy - traffic was pretty bad. This beach is typically very busy with a lot of people too.

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Santa Monica

Image for Top 10 Art Museums in the United States

Top 10 Art Museums in the United States

From the Smithsonian to the Met, these top art museums are an unforgettable experience. We’ve outlined the top 10 art museums in the United States for you to visit on your next trip.
Top 10 Art Museums in the United States