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Santa Monica
Travel Guide

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

The Huntley Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1111 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is £193 per night from 7 Mar to 8 Mar

This family-friendly Santa Monica hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach. Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney ...

4.4/5Excellent! (972 reviews)

"Tha help we’re all friendly and helpful. Everyone was polite and treated us with kindness and professionalism."…"

Reviewed on 2 Mar 2021

The Huntley Hotel
Shore Hotel
Shore Hotel
4 out of 5
1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
The price is £185 per night from 22 Mar to 23 Mar

Located in Downtown, this beach hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach. Venice Beach and Venice Beach Boardwalk are also ...

4.3/5Excellent! (980 reviews)

"Right across from the Santa Monica Pier. Friendly staff. My favorite part of this hotel is the rainfall shower!!!!"…"

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2021

Shore Hotel
Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
3.5 out of 5
1920 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA
The price is £118 per night from 22 Mar to 23 Mar

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

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,457 reviews)

"The courtesy and attention to detail by the hotel staff was exceptional. Everyone was so kind and thoughtful from the minute we checked in until we left. It’s a simple, no-frills hotel and may not have all the fancy amenities - but for the price, general location, cleanliness and safety, it can’t ..."…"

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2021

Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Beach Guestroom - Private !!! Guestroom With Private Bathroom 3 Blocks to Beach
Beach Guestroom - Private !!! Guestroom With Private Bathroom 3 Blocks to Beach
300 Entrada Dr, Santa Monica, CA

Located in Santa Monica Canyon, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Montana Avenue and Santa Monica Beach. Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place ...

5/5Exceptional! (32 reviews)
Great location

"The stay overall happened to turn out amazing, the first night power was out so we got a hotel but Len left us a reimbursement and picked us up from the hotel so we did not have to Uber! Location is perfect in every way, close to the beach, pier, etc. We definitely hope to return soon and we advise ..."…"

Reviewed on 5 Oct 2020

Beach Guestroom - Private !!! Guestroom With Private Bathroom 3 Blocks to Beach
Georgeous Beach Canyon Guesthouse Steps to Santa Monica Beach
Georgeous Beach Canyon Guesthouse Steps to Santa Monica Beach
300 Entrada Dr, Santa Monica, CA

Located in Santa Monica Canyon, this apartment building is within 1 mi (2 km) of Montana Avenue and Santa Monica Beach. Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica ...

4.8/5Exceptional! (165 reviews)
Perfect Bungalow Well appointed

"Len and Jan’s guesthouse is a perfect cozy place to stay near the Santa Monica beaches. If you forgot anything, don’t worry, they’ve got you covered with essential food and household items, and everything is accessible/walkable from the house. The guesthouse is cute and comfy and clean and we loved ..."…"

Reviewed on 31 Dec 2020

Georgeous Beach Canyon Guesthouse Steps to Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica Beach House
Santa Monica Beach House
41 Vicente Terrace, Santa Monica, CA

Located in Downtown, this holiday home is steps away from Main Street Santa Monica and Santa Monica Beach. Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are also ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (41 reviews)
Everything was great. Host was super responsive and helpful. Even put up a heater for us on the deck

"We loved it. The location was perfect and the owner was super. Thanks Elizabeth."…"

Reviewed on 13 Dec 2020

Santa Monica Beach House
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Santa Monica

Top things to do in Santa Monica

Reviews of Santa Monica

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
45
5 - Excellent 50%
4 - Good
35
4 - Good 38.888888888888886%
3 - Okay
10
3 - Okay 11.11111111111111%
2 - Disappointing
0
2 - Disappointing 0%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

4 Jan 2020

Pier and beach are excellent, city seemed very clean, didn’t not feel unsafe at all, people friendly, decent transport links. Quite a few homeless but that’s basically the same throughout LA from what we could tell.

5/5 - Excellent

Gill

19 Dec 2019

A great location to stay for a visit to LA. We visited downtown LA and other attractions in the daytime and returned to Santa Monica to chill in the evening. The area is very safe to walk around with many excellent restaurants and good shopping

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

5 Nov 2019

Great atmosphere with plenty to see and do. Good beaches and great shopping. Always felt safe and everyone was friendly.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

31 Oct 2019

Excellent place to visit. Loved it will be back x

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

23 Oct 2019

Len & Jan are lovely hosts.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

23 Oct 2019

Apart from the large amount of homeless people in the area found Santa Monica to be a safe and friendly place, quite clean and would definitely stay there again.

Cities near Santa Monica