Santa MonicaUnited States of America

Image for Santa Monica featuring general coastal views and a beach

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

Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California, United States of America
trover photo by Dan Rose

Ocean Park

4/5Very Good!(23 area reviews)

Ocean Park is known for its stunning beaches, and you can see some sights area like Venice Beach and Santa Monica Beach.

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

Downtown

4.5/5Wonderful!(45 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 mist or fog, landscape views and mountains

Pico

While you're in Pico, take in top sights like Third Street Promenade or Santa Monica Place, and hop on the metro to see more of the city at 17th Street/SMC Station or 26th Street/Bergamot Station.

Pico
North of Wilshire, California, United States of America
trover photo by mylah barreto

North of Wilshire

4/5Very Good!(7 area reviews)

While visiting North of Wilshire, you might make a stop by sights like Third Street Promenade and Montana Avenue.

North of Wilshire
Santa Monica featuring mist or fog, landscape views and mountains

Mid-City

4/5Very Good!(10 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
North of Montana, Santa Monica, California, United States of America
trover photo by Sarah Pena

North of Montana

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
£345
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

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! (1,986 reviews)

"This hotel's location is fantastic! The oceanfront room was heavenly - sleeping to the sound of the ocean and waking to it being the first thing you see! Lovely, lovely hotel. I highly recommend. My second stay here. It won't be my last."…"

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020

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
£168
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

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

4.4/5Excellent! (1,158 reviews)

"I have to say the pictures did the room some justice, everything was perfect and clean upon entering the room. Thank goodness my room had a ton of natural light, it feels good to wake up to the beautiful Santa Monica weather."…"

Reviewed on 25 Feb 2020

Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
5 out of 5
101 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA
£333
per night
Mar 1 - Mar 2

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! (1,787 reviews)

"Staff was great. Few hiccups along the way but the staff always did the right thing and it was greatly appreciated. Would highly recommend the resort."…"

Reviewed on 22 Feb 2020

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

Popular things to do in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier
Image for Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

4/5(231 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(91 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

5/5(3 reviews)

You can find the perfect gifts to bring home when you visit Third Street Promenade, a favourite 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

You can enjoy some retail therapy when you visit Santa Monica Place, a favourite 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

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

During your trip to Santa Monica, you can do some window-shopping at Main Street Santa Monica. Stroll along this family-friendly area's beaches or simply enjoy its restaurants.

Top activities in Santa Monica

Go Los Angeles All-Inclusive: Over 35 Attractions on 1 Pass
Image for Go Los Angeles All-Inclusive: Over 35 Attractions on 1 Pass

Go Los Angeles All-Inclusive: Over 35 Attractions on 1 Pass

£71
Per adult
Discover Los Angeles & Hollywood: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Image for Discover Los Angeles & Hollywood: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Discover Los Angeles & Hollywood: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

74% of travellers recommend
£31
Per adult
Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Tour of Los Angeles
Image for Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Tour of Los Angeles

Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Tour of Los Angeles

76% of travellers recommend
£31
Per adult
Los Angeles Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Image for Los Angeles Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

Los Angeles Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour

76% of travellers recommend
£38
Per adult
Private Hollywood and Beverly Hills Tour Departing from Santa Monica
Image for Private Hollywood and Beverly Hills Tour Departing from Santa Monica

Private Hollywood and Beverly Hills Tour Departing from Santa Monica

£92
Per adult
Disneyland® Resort Tickets
Image for Disneyland® Resort Tickets

Disneyland® Resort Tickets

90% of travellers recommend
£195
Per adult

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

Jan 4, 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

Dec 19, 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

Nov 5, 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

Oct 31, 2019

Excellent place to visit. Loved it will be back x

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Oct 23, 2019

Len & Jan are lovely hosts.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Oct 23, 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.

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