Looking for fun things to do in Santa Monica? I have you covered with the very best that Santa Monica has to offer.
Whether you are looking to enjoy the beach, a day of shopping, the best restaurants or a hike along the best trails in L.A., in this post you will find the best things to do in Santa Monica to enjoy the city to the fullest.
Santa Monica is somewhat of a hidden gem in California and one of the best places to visit in the US.
When most travelers want to visit Los Angeles or San Francisco, Santa Monica is mistakenly overlooked. However, there is so much to do and see in the city; it should definitely be near the top of your travel list.
Whether you fly by private plane or take a drive into the city, here are a few of the best things to do and places to visit in Santa Monica.
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10 Fun Things to do in Santa Monica
1. Santa Monica Pier
Probably the most famous landmark in the city, the Santa Monica Pier has been a hub for tourists and entertainment for over a hundred years.
While it isn’t the biggest pier in the world, it is packed with history and nostalgia you will struggle to find anywhere else.
The pier has also been used in dozens of movies, music videos and video games, with the ocean views being some of the best around.
2. Santa Monica State Beach
Speaking of ocean views, if you want to relax your day away under the sun, look no further than Santa Monica State Beach.
Silky soft sand and incredible water await you, with restaurants and bars lining the beach for when you need refreshments.
3. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Santa Monica is home to some of the most incredible landscapes and mountains.
The Mountains National Recreation Area allows you to explore this beauty with walking and hiking trails and some mountain biking routes.
The entire area is home to multiple parks that are home to wild animals, incredible plants and trees, and a ranch or two. If you love the outdoors, then you don’t have to look anywhere else for somewhere to explore.
4. Palisades Park
Palisades Park is a place to take a relaxing walk, to sit and read, look at art, and explore the surroundings.
Located right on the beach, the park was first opened in 1892 and has since grown into a mini art installation area.
You can find historical artifacts such as a Civil War cannon, as well as art pieces like the Statue of Santa Monica, a totem pole from the early 20s, the Bust of Arcadia Bandini de Baker, and many others.
5. Muscle Beach
Muscle Beach is famous for being the birthplace of modern-day bodybuilding and has seen thousands of celebrities and athletes use its facilities over the years.
Found in Venice Beach, the original Muscle Beach was actually located South of the Santa Monica Pier.
While Muscle Beach is just an outdoor, beachfront gym to some, for others, it is the mecca of exercise, the place where it all started, and somewhere that will give you incredible workout motivation.
6. Bergamot Station
If you are in need of a hit of culture and art, look no further than Bergamot Station. First opened in 1994, the campus-style complex has housed dozens of permanent and temporary art exhibits.
You are able to find everything from classic to contemporary art, indoor and outdoor sculptures, and works by smaller, local artists. If art isn’t for you, the unique architecture you can find is sure to take your breath away.
7. Museum of Flying
Many states in the US have a history of flying excellence, and California is no different.
The Museum of Flying gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal with over 50 modern and vintage aircraft from around California.
The museum prides itself on housing many aircraft built in California and teaches visitors the history of aviation in the state.
The museum also has a flight simulator, which allows users to experience a 360-degree view and full range of motion flying experience. It is the only flight simulator of its kind in the greater Los Angeles area.
8. Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
A market may seem a bit boring to some, but the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is the place to be once the weekend rolls around.
Held every Saturday in downtown Santa Monica, the market offers fresh produce from across the city and state.
There are also numerous pop-ups and restaurants serving delicious food, and there are very few places to visit that will have a better cup of coffee and breakfast waiting.
Next read: 35 Best Foodie Destinations in the USA.
9. Third Street Promenade
Third Street Promenade, in the downtown area, is a shopping esplanade that offers visitors shops, restaurants, and entertainment facilities. One of the best things to do in Santa Monica!
The promenade also features a lot of public art and sculptures and is the perfect place to have a meal and shop at the local boutiques.
10. Heal the Bay Aquarium
Used as a place to educate and heal ocean life, the Heal the Bay aquarium is home to dozens of different species.
It isn’t the biggest aquarium you could visit, but it is a non-profit that aims to help abandoned and injured wildlife with the aim of releasing them back into the ocean.