Santa Monica travel guide

Santa Monica Tourism | Santa Monica Guide

You're Going to Love Santa Monica

Santa Monica is one of the most famous (and most popular) beach resorts in the world. Along with its endless beach, Santa Monica offers family entertainment options, a relaxed vibe, and easy access to Los Angeles.

There aren't many better places to immerse yourself in California's beach culture. Stake out a space on the sand and spend all of your time soaking up the sunshine, playing volleyball, or learning how to surf. Rent bikes and cycle along the Strand to Venice Beach, strap on some roller skates or wander the length of the Santa Monica Pier, trying all of the amusement park rides.

If the beach isn't for you, Santa Monica has plenty of art galleries, shops, and restaurants to discover, as well as live dance and theater all summer long. And it's all a short drive from Universal Studios, Disneyland, and the bright lights of LA.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Santa Monica

When to Visit Santa Monica

Estimated hotel price

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1 night at 3-star hotel
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Santa Monica has the kind of climate that makes it a year-round vacation destination, but there are definitely some busier seasons that you might want to avoid. High summer (July and August) are the busiest months, so try visiting in October or between February and May. Even in spring, the weather will be sunny and warm enough to enjoy the beach.

Average temperatures
Celsius (°C)
When the weather is nice in Santa Monica

How to Get to Santa Monica

Airports near Santa Monica

Airlines serving Santa Monica

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Where to Stay in Santa Monica

If you want a quintessentially California vacation, accommodation near Santa Monica beach is a no-brainer. Excellent seafront hotels include the Viceroy Hotel, Casa Del Mar, and Shutters on the Beach, but expect to pay a little more for a sea view. Inland alternatives include the Georgian Hotel in the center of town and the comfortable, elegant Ambrose Hotel. The Wyndham Santa Monica at the Pier is great for families, while HI Los Angeles Santa Monica offers budget rooms and dorm beds within walking distance of the beach.

Popular Neighborhoods in Santa Monica

Where to stay in popular areas of Santa Monica

Most booked hotels in Santa Monica

How to Get Around Santa Monica

The Cost of Living in Santa Monica

Shopping Streets

3rd Street Promenade draws shoppers from all over southern California, with major stores like Aldo, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Old Navy (as well as many independent vendors). But you should also check out Main Street and Pico for independent skate stores, bookshops, and galleries. Santa Monica Place is another must, with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Bloomingdale's.

Groceries and Other

Good places to pick up groceries in Santa Monica include Vons, Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods along with locally owned delis like Erewhon Market. There's also a farmers market on Main Street on Wednesdays and weekends. Groceries aren't too expensive, at around $3.60 for a gallon of milk and $3.40 for 12 eggs.

Cheap meal
Cheap meal
C$ 16.60
A pair of jeans
A pair of jeans
C$ 62.42
Single public transport ticket
Single public transport ticket
C$ 1.60
C$ 5.11

Where to Eat in Santa Monica

Food lovers will find everything they need in Santa Monica, but its a particularly good place for healthy eaters, vegans, and organic food fans. The True Food Kitchen is a great place to find vegetarian, eco-friendly gourmet dishes, the Misfit Restaurant mixes traditional American eats with craft ales and cocktails, and Tacos Punta Cabras is a fantastic no-frills Mexican restaurant. Mariasol is another special place to eat, being right at the tip of the pier. Expect to pay $7-10 for a street food like tacos and $15-20 for mains at most restaurants.