What is Santa Monica Known For? (20 Things It’s Famous For)

Santa Monica is a city in Los Angeles County in California. It is most well-known for being a beachfront city. It has a population of roughly 94,000 people and has a 3-mile coastline. The city is bordered by Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, West Los Angeles, Venice, and Mar Vista.

Santa Monica is known for its beautiful award-winning beaches. The city’s warm climate offers the perfect conditions for people who love a sunny day. It is home to quite a few iconic landmarks that both tourists and locals enjoy. With great weather, good people, and amazing sights, people will enjoy this beachfront city.

Lounge Around at the Santa Monica State Beach

This beach reaches as far as the entire length of Santa Monica. It is a great place to go with your friends or family to just enjoy the fresh sea breeze and the ocean. You can do all kinds of beach activities like swimming, surfing, beach volleyball, frisbee, and many more. Some portions of the beach are very festive, so if you’re looking to take some time to relax, you might want to walk around to find a more peaceful spot.

Bike Ride Around the Coast

Santa Monica is one of the best places to explore by bike. There are bike paths near the beach that people can use to cut through the city. You may want to consider renting a bike to get around faster and enjoy the sights while working a sweat in. You can also ride down as far as Venice beach, which is a 15 min bike ride away.

Walk Around the Santa Monica Pier 

Feel the sun against your face and breath in the ocean breeze as you take a leisurely stroll along the Santa Monica Pier with your friends, family, or significant other. This pier is one of the most picturesque places in the world. There are lots of different food choices and entertainment around the area that you can enjoy. 

Family Fun at Pacific Park

The Pacific Park located on the Santa Monica Pier is an ideal place for some family fun. The theme park is packed with thrilling rides that kids of all ages can enjoy. There are also lots of games and activities you can try out. After trying out the rides, you can enjoy some pier favorites, such as burgers, pizza, ice cream, funnel cakes, and many more.

Amazing View on the Pacific Wheel

Whenever you visualize Santa Monica, one of the first things people imagine is a huge Ferris wheel on a pier. The Pacific Wheel is just one of the many iconic attractions in Santa Monica. The wheel is located in Pacific Park and it is worth it to catch a ride and enjoy the amazing views from the top of the wheel.

Fresh Produce at the Farmers’ Market

You can find some of the freshest quality produce here in the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. Vendors in the market offer restaurant-quality fruits and vegetables. Aside from fruits and vegetables, you can also find a variety of different things such as flowers, bread, pastries, and ready-to-eat snacks and beverages.

Challenge Seasoned Players at the International Chess Park

Chess enthusiasts or anyone familiar with the game might want to check the International Chess Park out. There are dozens of chess tables that people can use for free. You may find a couple of people who will be more than willing to play a game or two with you. The park is just a 2-minute walk away from the pier. 

Heal the Bay Aquarium

If you’re visiting the Santa Monica Pier, you should also drop by the Heal the Bay Aquarium. This aquarium is a great attraction for loads of family fun. Kids can visit the touch tanks and feel the different underwater inhabitants. You can walk around and be in awe of the different exhibits in the aquarium. You can also check out what it looks like under the Santa Monica Pier and meet the different life forms that live there.

Workout at the Original Muscle Beach

This is a pretty cool playground for adults. In the early 1900s, the Santa Monica muscle beach was a venue where people could watch acrobatic exhibitions. Since then, it has become a beach that people from all over the world visit to work out and challenge themselves. Try your best to make it to the top of the rope climb or get across the Olympic rings.

Shopping at Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place is a great place for shopping and dining. This mall has almost everything you would need when it comes to shopping. When it comes to dining, you will find a lot of different American chain classics and a couple of local favorites such as the Sonoma Wine Garden.

The Annenberg Community Beach House

The Annenberg Community Beach House is a festive venue that is open to everyone. The beach house offers several activities you can enjoy. You can lounge by the pool with your friends or family. They also offer surfing classes and beach volleyball court rental. The beach house also has a Gallery with a selection from the City of Santa Monica Art Collection.

Outdoor Activities at the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

The Santa Monica Mountains provide a breath of fresh air from all the different sights and activities on the sand. Here, you can hike along the famous Backbone Trail that cuts straight through the length of the city. There are also other activities like mountain biking, horseback riding, and camping. 

Take a Stroll in Tongva Park

Tongva Park used to be a parking lot and with the help of the green movement, was turned into a beautiful park. The park has a beautiful view of the ocean. As you walk around, you can enjoy the meadows and waterfalls that can be seen along the walking path. Within the park, you can find a kinetic sculpture by Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle called Weather Field. The observation decks are also worth visiting. 

Break a Sweat at the Santa Monica Stairs

The Santa Monica Stairs is a favorite for locals to visit and work out in. The quick climb up and down the stairs gives people a quick pump for both the heart and legs. The stairway’s summit is in Santa Monica and descends to the Santa Monica Canyon.

Enjoy a Short Walk along Palisades Park

The Palisades Park is a 26.4-acre park with stunning views and beautiful palm trees lined up along a paved walkway. It is a great place to just destress and calm down while you hear the ocean waves in the background. You can chill on the park benches with some ice cream or cotton candy with your loved ones.

The End of the Highway

Route 66 is one of the most famous highways in America. The highway is 2,448 miles long and starts as far east as Chicago, Illinois. Santa Monica beach marks the west end of Route 66. If you drove down this highway from the East Coast, you should drop by the Route 66 End of the Trail sign at the pier.

Shopping Spree at the Third Street Promenade

The Third Street Promenade is the preferred shopping destination in Santa Monica. The promenade consists of three car-free blocks packed with everything from luxury boutiques to food stalls. Aside from shopping, it is also a great place to just walk around to take pictures and go people-watching.

Bergamot Station Arts Center

Before 1953, Bergamot Station was used as a railroad station. Since then, it has been repurposed into an internationally renowned creative arts center. Being home to numerous different galleries with a collection of fine art, Bergamot Station has become a top cultural destination in Santa Monica. If you enjoy a trip down to museums or art galleries, then Bergamot Station should be on your list. 

Silicon Beach

Santa Monica provides a climate and sights that will help the most stressed-out salaryman relax. This is probably the main reason why a lot of Internet startups have decided to set up in the beachfront city. Companies such as Headspace, Naughty Dog, Hulu, and a couple of others call Santa Monica their home. Since the influx of tech entrepreneurs, Santa Monica has been nicknamed “Silicon Beach.”

Southern California’s  Creative Capital

With the combination of Santa Monica’s natural wonders and the overall culture that the locals have been fostering, you can definitely see how artists would be drawn to the area. An interesting fact about Santa Monica is that it has been considered the artistic center of Southern California. 43% of Santa Monica locals work in the creative industry.