Santa Monica is one of the most beautiful places in California.
With its sunny beaches, dazzling array of shops and restaurants, and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder that Santa Monica is a popular tourist destination.
Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, take a scenic stroll along the pier, or enjoy some of the best shopping and dining in the state, Santa Monica has something for everyone.
So if you’re looking for a fun-filled vacation spot, be sure to add Santa Monica to your list. You won’t be disappointed!
Here are our 21 most exciting things to do in Santa Monica.
1. Unwind at Santa Monica Beach
Santa Monica beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the California sun.
With its gentle waves and wide expanse of sand, the beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll.
And when you’re ready to take a break from the sand, there’s no shortage of things to do in Santa Monica.
Visit the famous Santa Monica pier, explore the shops and restaurants of the Third Street Promenade, or take a ride on the historic Ferris wheel.
No matter how you spend your time, Santa Monica beach is sure to give you a sunny California experience.
2. Take a Stroll Along the Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is a historic landmark that attracts visitors from all over the world.
The pier is home to the world-famous Route 66 End of the Trail marker, which marks the end of the legendary highway.
You can also enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Beach, and the Santa Monica Mountains.
The pier is also home to a variety of shops, restaurants, and attractions, making it the perfect place to spend a day.
Whether you’re looking for a place to take a walk or just want to take in the sights, Santa Monica Pier is definitely worth a visit.
3. Hike Through Topanga State Park
Nestled in the Santa Monica mountains, Topanga State Park is one of the best places to go for a hike in Los Angeles.
With over 36 miles of trails, the park has something for everyone, from short and easy hikes to longer and more challenging ones.
And with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, it’s no wonder that Topanga State Park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Southern California.
So if you’re looking for a great place to get some fresh air and exercise, head on over to Topanga State Park for a hike you won’t soon forget.
4. Walk Around Downtown Santa Monica & Shop on Third Street Promenade
Santa Monica is a beachfront city in northwestern Los Angeles County, California.
The city is named after the Christian saint, Monica.
Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade is a famous pedestrian mall with lots of shops and restaurants. It’s also a great place to people-watch.
The Santa Monica Pier is another popular destination, with its historic carousel and Ferris wheel.
And don’t forget about the Santa Monica Farmers Market, where you can find fresh produce and prepared food from local vendors.
Whether you’re looking to shop, eat, or just enjoy the scenery, Downtown Santa Monica is the perfect place to spend a day.
5. Take a Ride on the Ferris Wheel at Pacific Park
Pacific Park is an oceanfront amusement park located in Santa Monica, California.
One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Ferris wheel, which offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica Pier, and the surrounding area.
Riders can choose to ride in a traditional seat or in one of the park’s signature yellow cars.
The Ferris wheel is open year-round, and rides are available for purchase online or at the ticket booth. Discounts are often available for groups of four or more.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic outing or a fun family activity, riding the Ferris wheel at Pacific Park is sure to create lasting memories.
6. Attend a Performance at the Santa Monica Playhouse
The Santa Monica Playhouse is a performance venue that has been entertaining audiences for over three decades.
The playhouse presents a wide variety of shows, including comedies, dramas, musicals, and children’s theater.
Whether you’re looking for a night of laughs or a touching story, you’re sure to find a show that will suit your taste at the Santa Monica Playhouse.
And with its convenient location just blocks from the beach, the playhouse is the perfect place to enjoy an evening of live entertainment.
So if you’re in the mood for some good old-fashioned fun, be sure to check out the Santa Monica Playhouse. You’re sure to have a great time.
7. Satisfy Your Creative Side at Bergamot Station Arts Center
Santa Monica is home to a vibrant art scene, and Bergamot Station Arts Center is at the heart of it all.
With over 70 galleries and artist studios, Bergamot Station is the perfect place to find unique artwork and get inspired.
Whether you’re looking for a new painting for your home or a one-of-a-kind sculpture, you’re sure to find it here.
And if you’re feeling creative yourself, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
You can take a painting class, learn how to make jewelry, or even just watch the artists at work.
Bergamot Station is the perfect place to tap into your creative side.
8. Watch the Sunset From Palisades Park
There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset over Santa Monica from Palisades Park.
As the day comes to an end, the colors in the sky change from a bright blue to a warm orange, and the city below starts to sparkle.
The waves crash against the shore, and the breeze blows through your hair.
It’s the perfect way to relax and recharge after a long day.
So next time you’re in Santa Monica, be sure to check out Palisades Park for an unforgettable experience.
9. Experience Local History at the California Heritage Museum
Santa Monica is home to a variety of historic sites, including the California Heritage Museum.
The museum is located in an early 20th-century Santa Monica beach house and features rotating exhibitions of California history.
Past exhibitions have included topics such as the Hollywood blacklist, early California women’s rights activists, and the history of Santa Monica’s “Pier Colony.”
The museum also hosts a variety of special events, such as author lectures, film screenings, and musical performances.
Whether you’re a Santa Monica native or just visiting for the day, a trip to the California Heritage Museum is a great way to learn about the state’s rich history.
10. Learn about California’s Aviation History at the Museum of Flying
The Santa Monica Museum of Flying is the perfect place to learn about California’s aviation history.
The museum houses a collection of vintage aircraft, as well as exhibits in the early days of flight.
You can also take part in hands-on activities, such as building model airplanes.
The museum is also home to a number of special events, such as air shows and lectures by aviation experts.
Whether you’re a seasoned pilot or just getting started, the Santa Monica Museum of Flying is a great place to explore the world of aviation.
11. Take in the Views of the Ocean From the Annenberg Community Beach House
The Annenberg Community Beach House is the perfect place to enjoy a sunny day by the ocean.
The beach house is located in Santa Monica, California, and it features beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
You can enjoy a variety of activities at the beach house, including swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking.
The beach house also has a number of amenities, such as showers, changing rooms, and a snack bar.
Whether you’re looking to relax or have some fun in the sun, Annenberg Community Beach House is the perfect place to enjoy the beautiful California coastline.
12. Browse the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market
The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market is a great place to find fresh, local produce.
Held every Wednesday and Saturday, the market features a wide variety of vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to flowers and prepared food.
In addition to the produce, the market also has a coffee stand, a bakery, and a specialty food section with vendors selling everything from olive oil to honey.
The market is located on Arizona Avenue between 4th and Ocean Streets, and it is open from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Whether you’re looking for a specific item or just want to browse, the Santa Monica Farmers Market is definitely worth a visit.
13. Pay a Visit to the Santa Monica Conservancy
The Santa Monica Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the history and architecture of Santa Monica.
Founded in 1986, the Santa Monica Conservancy offers a variety of tours and events that showcase the best of Santa Monica’s past and present.
The Conservancy also offers educational programs for all ages, including classes on historic preservation, architectural styles, and local history.
You can choose from a variety of tour options, including walking tours, bus tours, and private tours.
Whichever option you choose, you’re sure to learn something new about the fascinating history of Santa Monica.
14. See a Show at the Santa Monica Heal the Bay Aquarium
The Santa Monica Heal the Bay Aquarium is one of the best places in Southern California to see a variety of sea life up close.
In addition to daily shows featuring dolphins, stingrays, and other creatures, the aquarium also offers a chance to get hands-on with some of its residents.
You can touch sea stars and horseshoe crabs in the Tide Pool Touch Lab, or take a walk on the pier to see the fish swimming below.
The aquarium is also home to a number of educational programs, making it a great place to learn about ocean conservation.
Whether you’re a lifelong resident of California or just in town for a visit, the Santa Monica Heal the Bay Aquarium is sure to be a fun and educational experience for the whole family.
15. Check Out the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome
The Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome is a must-see for any visitor to the city.
This historic carousel, built in 1916, is one of the few remaining examples of popular hand-carved wooden animals.
You can take a spin on the carousel or simply enjoy the hand-painted scenes that adorn the walls.
Either way, the Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome is sure to provide a fun and unique experience.
16. Ride Your Bike Along the Santa Monica Beach Path
Did you know that the Santa Monica Beach Path is one of the busiest bike paths in the country?
Located just minutes from downtown Los Angeles, the path stretches for nearly 3 miles along the coast, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
Whether you’re a local looking for a leisurely ride or a visitor looking to explore the city, the Santa Monica Beach Path is a great way to see everything that this California beach town has to offer.
Best of all, there’s no need to worry about traffic – the path is open to bikes only, so you can relax and enjoy the ride.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your bike and hit the beach!
17. Take a Stroll Through Tongva Park
Tongva Park is one of the best places to visit in Santa Monica.
The beautiful park features plenty of green space, scenic walking trails, and lovely views of the surrounding mountains.
Tongva Park is also home to a variety of native plants and animals, making it a great place to learn about local ecology.
Best of all, admission to the park is free, making it an affordable option for families and budget-minded travelers.
So whether you’re looking for a place to take a leisurely stroll or simply want to enjoy some time in nature, be sure to add Tongva Park to your Santa Monica itinerary.
18. Catch a Show at The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage
The Eli and Edythe Broad Stage in Santa Monica is one of the premier performing arts venues in Southern California.
The acoustically superb theatre has been the home to numerous internationally acclaimed artists, from world-renowned opera singers to Tony Award-winning actors.
The intimate setting of The Broad Stage allows audiences to experience live performances in a truly unique way.
Whether you’re catching a show by one of your favorite artists or taking in a new production, a visit to The Broad Stage is sure to be an unforgettable experience.
19. Take a Yoga Class on the Beach
Looking for a fun and unique activity to do in Santa Monica? Why not try a yoga class on the beach!
There’s nothing like the sound of the waves crashing and the fresh ocean air to help you relax and center yourself.
And what could be more perfect than doing some downward dogs with the sand between your toes?
There are plenty of yoga studios in Santa Monica that offer beach yoga classes, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Some classes are geared towards beginners, while others are more challenging.
But regardless of your level, you’re sure to enjoy the experience of taking a yoga class on the beach.
So why not give it a try next time you’re in Santa Monica?