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Top 20 Attractions & Things to Do in Santa Monica, CA

Top 20 Attractions & Things to Do in Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica is the premier seaside destination in Los Angeles and surrounding Los Angeles County. It’s a beautiful city with sunny days and vast beaches. This city attracts more than 7 million visitors. Moreover, there is endless excitement in Santa Monica. There is energy inspired by the waves of the western border and the excitement of the internal organs from the pedestrian-friendly downtown that bustles late into the night. 

Its voyage spirit is best experienced at Palisades Park, on a coastal cliff overlooking the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica State Beach. And you have to walk through Santa Monica Pier, which also serves as the endpoint of the historic coastline of Route 66, to complete your visit. This tourist-friendly promenade defines many Southern California vacations, with amusement park rides and miles of sea views. Pack up your luggage, include what you need to do in Santa Monica, and plan your next Southern California vacation.

Top Attractions of Santa Monica

Here we have listed the top places to visit during your tour to Santa Monica, CA.

State Beach of Santa Monica, CA

State Beach of Santa Monica stretches 3.5 miles on either side of the famous Santa Monica Pier. One of the best beaches in the Los Angeles area, less than 15 miles from Hollywood, millions of beach fans spread towels on the sand each year. Santa Monica Pier divides the beach into North and South. There are different access points on each side of the beach. Moreover, it offers sandcastle construction, surfing, and sunbathing activities.

Fun spots in State Beach South of Santa Monica involve International Carousel Park and Chess Park. Muscle Beach offers a variety of fitness equipment, such as exercise rings. Parking on the beach is easy at Santa Monica State Beach. The Annenberg Community Beach House north of the pier includes comprehensive beach facilities such as volleyball courts, beach chairs, and a swimming pool. To reach Northern Santa Monica State Beach, you need to get off from Parishase Park via the Pacific Coast Highway and a pier or pedestrian bridge.

Palisades Park

Tourists and locals are usually drawn to Palisades Park. Located on Ocean Avenue, this 26-acre waterfront park overlooks the Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica State Beach. It offers a well-kept space with unobstructed sea views. Many seating areas and palm trees line the city’s landmarks with winding cement walkways and pedestrian bridges that cross the highway to the sea. 

Palisades Park also has unique facilities such as the Camera Obscura, Petanque Court, and public art installations. This park is also a connecting point to several other attractions, such as Santa Monica Pier. On Ocean Avenue and further inland, the bustling streets of downtown Santa Monica and the Third Street Promenade complement the bustle of the beach. All the views from Palisades Park are eye-catching, but the well-named inspiration point on the park’s north side is worth a walk.

Farmer Market of Santa Monica

The next time you sit in a local restaurant and want to ask the waiter where the incredibly fresh vegetables on the plate came from, don’t worry. We can save your worries and answer them for you: Of course, Santa Monica’s Farmers Market. Markets are held elsewhere in Santa Monica on Saturdays and Sundays. Still, the best days to visit are Wednesdays (8 am to 1 pm) when Arizona Avenue is full.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier is probably one of California’s most famous spots. Located on the coastal stop of Route 66, it is fun and has a lot to do for the whole family (including pets). Activities at the pier include Pacific Park with a roller coaster and a beautiful Ferris wheel that glows beautifully at night. There’s a playland arcade for some exciting games, a carousel of endless stories, and a whimsical and fascinating Santa Monica Pier aquarium to explore. You can rent a bike, go-to souvenirs and beach shops or walk on the pier to watch the world. Musicians line the promenade, and you can always see people as one of Santa Monica’s most famous attractions.

Annenberg Community Beach House

The Annenberg Community Beach House is a large open house facility north of Santa Monica Pier. Built in the 1920s during the Gold Coast of California, it began as a private beachfront mansion owned by Marion Davies. The Annenberg Community Beach House is now state-owned and is one of Santa Monica’s most popular. It has essentially turned into a seaside cultural center. It is a great place for anyone looking for a vacation this weekend.

Third Street Promenade

The main point of downtown Santa Monica is the Third Street Promenade. This pedestrian road has a lot of traffic and entertainment. Shops, restaurants, and talented street performers line up every block until late at night when this bright area is shining. But whether it’s day or night, something is guaranteed to stand out in this fashionable store. With entertainment venues such as shops, restaurants, cinemas, and augmented reality museums, the waterfront is also home to beautiful scenery. Dinosaur fence sculptures, photo booths, and a variety of seating options define the aesthetics of this business district.

Restaurants of Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s tour experience also includes enjoying the food in the city. The city’s culinary scene is wide, diverse, and highly appreciated. From city rigs to ocean views, you can easily find something for every taste. Some notable favorites include Forma for Italian cuisine and Tar & Roses for unique menu items like oxtail dumplings. And for almost every taste, Japanese, Caribbean, and Polish cuisine is included in the world’s diverse tastes.

Santa Monica’s Beach, Venice

Venice Beach is a southern city adjacent to Santa Monica, connected by the Marvin Braude Bike Pass, also known as the Strand Beach Pass. Venice offers a slightly more bohemian and unique coastal flavor. The seaside district is known for its street art and community-expressed style.

The Venice Beach Boardwalk is a magnet for the general tourist with its scenic charm. Crowds walk along this tourist trail next to the beach, with several unique storefronts and street sellers lined up on the promenade. It will not complete your visit without taking a walk on this Ocean Front Walk and savoring the taste and atmosphere of this creative seaside city. The bike path on Venice Beach winds through many sandy attractions. This bike path is surrounded by public art, elegant graffiti, and other facilities such as outdoor playsets and basketball courts. 

Tongva Park

Over 6 acres of ocean avenues south of Santa Monica Pier, this vast city park is infused with gardens, sculptures, and the scent of the ocean. It’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing time away from the city center and enjoy an afternoon picnic away from the crowds on the beach. Adjacent to Tomba Park, the newly established Kengencer Square has a fountain and a babbling stream, adding an acre of natural space to explore.

Stairs of Santa Monica

Stairs made of wood and concrete, Santa Monica’s staircase sits quietly in a quiet residential area less than a mile from the sea. They were once a hidden gem in the community, but the fun fitness tips that allow you to climb this long staircase may be out. It’s also not uncommon to see crowds exercising on the stairs, even when parking is limited. It is famous that more than 300 stars on this public sidewalk leave a clear thigh burn on the visitor.

Montana Avenue is a popular destination for dining and shopping north of the city. Over 150 restaurants and shops line the sidewalks of this inland street, and there are plenty of sidewalk cafes for daytime window shopping and casual lunches. Many Montana Avenue boutiques and fashion retailers aren’t anywhere else in California. At the heart of Montana Avenue is Air Russia. It is a cinema renovated in the 1930s and now shows independent, classic Hollywood movies.

Bergamot Station of Santa Monica

Far from the sea, just north of Santa Monica, this world-famous creative space was once a train station between 1875 and 1953. The complex is open to the public. Home to numerous galleries and workshops, Bergamot Station regularly hosts changing exhibitions by artists worldwide, all with free admission and free parking.

Getty Villa

Getty Villa is located near the sea in the Los Angeles Pacific Palisades area along the coast north of Santa Monica. It is one of two run by Getty, a charity dedicated to preserving the world’s artistic heritage. Getty Villa is a reconstructed building with intricate gardens and peristyles. Just admiring the villa’s sumptuous grounds and architecture is a delight and a popular photo spot. Perhaps even more incredible, ancient works of art occupy most of the estate. You can see some marble statues, Roman coins, and ancient mummies. Also, on the second floor of the mansion, there is a rotating exhibition space that regularly displays the best collections worldwide.

Recreational Places of Santa Monica

The Santa Monica Mountains meet the sea north of Santa Monica dramatically and are visible from the beach. These altitudes and the Mediterranean climate of Santa Monica allow you to climb mountains and catch some waves on the same day all year round. The Santa Monica Mountains extend almost north to Oxnard.

The Pacific Coast Highway narrows in the mountains of this steep coast, passing through other well-known destinations, including Malibu. California’s best state parks are located in the Santa Monica Mountains, with breathtaking mountain ridges and stunning sea views, including Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, and Point Mugu State Park. The mountains are easily accessible from downtown Los Angeles. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a candidate for a day trip from Los Angeles. The 2018 Woolsey Fire caused serious damage to the landscape of the Santa Monica Mountains. Much of the 500-mile trail network was reopened in 2019, as are many campgrounds. Visitors are asked to respect the current closure.

Original Muscle Beach

Not to be confused with the flashy brothers of Venice, this adult training ground sweats and sweats in Santa Monica’s largest and most beautiful place of the century. On weekends, great gymnasts work on parallel bars, uneven bars, and ring swings. Even with all the macho, the atmosphere here is friendly, and no one cares if you decide to join or sit down and take it all in.

The Aero Theatre 

The Aero-Russer has been in operation since 1940 and presents its history and heritage with the screening of classic films and contemporary independent films. This Art Deco landmark will feature special programs and talks, and performances by the director. Moreover, Aero is run by American Cinematech, which organizes the Los Feliz Theater and Hollywood’s famous Egyptian theater. It is another place for movie fans to spend their time.


McCabe’s has a cozy back room where performances are performed in an intimate atmosphere and a daytime-respected guitar shop full of rare and hidden guitars and other instruments. Giggs usually take place on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Still, marveling at the dozens of beautiful guitars hanging from the wall is worth visiting.

Monica Camera Obscura

This strange old optic is a breathtaking historic and funky place, whether you’re waiting late for a dinner reservation or trying to escape from the pier quietly. The technology behind this rudimentary camera-like space is thousands of years old, but it still feels magical.


Hopefully, this article will be helpful for you to find the top attractive places of Santa Monica, CA. 

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