On the golden shores of Los Angeles, CA, Santa Monica is a quirky beach community with a thriving arts and cultural scene. Chock full of laid-back bars, stylish boutiques, contemporary galleries, and California-style restaurants, Santa Monica is a perfect home base for a West Coast sojourn. Every week, there are several farmers markets in downtown Santa Monica, where you can pick up fresh produce and flowers or sample some local cuisine. For fashion and gifts, join the locals shopping in the many boutiques around Main Street, as well as the pleasant pedestrian corridor on 3rd Avenue.
One of the first beach communities in Los Angeles, the pier and boardwalk in Santa Monica has a wonderful old-fashioned feeling. Ride the vintage carousel to enjoy these simple charms. Along the 3.5-mile stretch of Santa Monica's shore, the Pacific coast is dotted with beach houses and boardwalks. In the summer months, the surf is alive with locals and families enjoying the gentle waves. With all of Los Angeles at your fingertips, there is never a dull moment in Santa Monica. It's easy to explore everything LA has to offer while enjoying the relative tranquility and beauty of a seaside community.
While in Santa Monica, be sure to check out:
-Santa Monica Beach: One of the nicest strips of sand in Los Angeles, this famous beach is a great place for swimming, surfing, volleyball, and other recreational activities.
-Santa Monica Pier: Along the charming wooden boardwalk and pier, you can visit the amusement park, aquarium, and bustling souvenir shops.
-Bergamot Station: Operated by the city, this multi-gallery exhibition space is also the home of the Santa Monica Museum of Art.
-Main Street: There is great shopping in downtown Santa Monica's main commercial drag, where name brands and unique boutiques cram the streets.
-Chess Park: You can join the public games at Chess Park in Santa Monica, but be forewarned that most players here are highly rated and competitive.
-Beverly Hills: Santa Monica is perfectly positioned to explore the surrounding city of Los Angeles, including the great shopping and restaurants in Beverly Hills.
If you are ready for some fun in the sun, a vacation rental like a beach house or oceanfront villa will let you sink your feet in the sand while savoring your morning coffee. If you want a more urban experience, a cool apartment rental or private condo in the downtown district puts dining, galleries, and nightlife at your fingertips.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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