Our Top Picks for a Stroll through Santa Monica
At just over eight square miles, Santa Monica is a very walkable destination which is all part of its charm. So we suggest that once you’ve checked in to your hotel, leave the hire car behind and check out our top tips on foot.
Main Street is just two blocks from the beach with chic clothing and designer shops, as well as the Santa Monica Walk-In Visitor Information Centre, so it’s a useful place to begin your day. You can get your morning caffeine fix at one of the eclectic collection of coffee shops and search out some quirky accessories & gifts at Lost & Found.
Montana Avenue will keep you happy for the best part of a day with more than 150 restaurants and shops lining this highly pleasant tree-lined boulevard. Enjoy browsing the quirky independent shops, often frequented by A-listers. A favourite place for a mid afternoon pick-me-up is Sweet Lady Jane Bakery – enjoy a delicious pastry whilst people-watching from one of its outdoor tables.
In Downtown Santa Monica, one of the new for ‘22 attractions is a walk through Princess Diana Exhibition at the Santa Monica Place Shopping Centre. Featuring never-before-told stories and images from photographer Anwar Hussein who spent four decades with the royal family. Mosey by larger-than-life images and series of bespoke art sculptures, with the audio guide delivering new revelations and stories, narrated by the photographer himself.
Amble down the appealing al fresco shopping area of Third Street Promenade, whilst enjoying the cool breezes from the nearby ocean whilst. Here you can also soak up the atmosphere created by the musicians and entertainers whilst browsing the myriad stores.
We always find that Santa Monica is one of those places where you really wish you were staying another day or two, the beach is so lovely, the shopping so compelling … but really it’s the opportunity to try out so many wonderful and unique dining experiences that calls out for extra time. New for ‘22 on Santa Monica’s diverse dining scene is Berbere for vegan Ethiopian food and Nick the Greek for Mediterranean street food. But for those with a more conventional palate, Randy’s Donuts will be worth checking out. Eateries which are more well-established and are old favourites of the locals include Bru’s Wiffle (not a typo!) for an amazing array of waffles from fried chicken waffles to churro waffles and the R+D Kitchen where the Crispy Chicken Sandwich comes highly recommended.
A walk along Santa Monica pier is a must for any stay, where you simply must ride the iconic red and yellow Ferris wheel and take a selfie at the end of Route 66 sign. Try out the rides at Pacific Park, enjoy the street-entertainers and then have vague feelings of regret after devouring a stick of puffy cotton candy (aka candy floss). Finally wander along the Ocean Front to the 1922 Looff Hippodrome Carousel, where Paul Newman worked in his role in “The Sting”.