Coolest Things To Do In Santa Monica
It’s nothing but good vibes down at the beach…
No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without checking out Santa Monica, the beach city on LA’s doorstep that offers visitors the opportunity to cycle the coast or surf the waves and admire a stunning Pacific Ocean sunset. The beachfront entertainment opportunities are endless and together with an awesome selection of restaurants, food stalls and shops it’s a must-see location when you visit the City of Angels.
WHAT TO DO
Santa Monica Pier
While the Santa Monica Pier is famed for marking the end of the legendary East to West American highway Route 66, it also marks the perfect place to start your trip in Santa Monica. The pier has been welcoming travelers to the city of Santa Monica for over 100 years and it’s easy to see why it’s become the cities most iconic landmark. Extending over a quarter of a mile out into the Pacific Ocean, check out the Pacific Park amusement park and enjoy the ocean views while you ride the pier’s legendary roller coaster and ferris wheel.
Santa Monica State Beach
The Santa Monica State Beach is an idyllic 3.5 miles stretch of golden sand that every visitor to the city should explore. The sheer size and length of the beach means there’s always plenty of space to relax and sunbathe, play volleyball or surf the waves if you’re brave enough to brace the surprisingly chilly Pacific Ocean. For those that enjoy an intellectual challenge while soaking up some sun be sure to check out the famous International Chess Park just past the Pier. Home to over 65 regular chess boards and a giant chess board it’s free to enjoy for all.
The Original Muscle Beach
Most people associate ‘Muscle Beach’ with the outdoor gym located just South of Santa Monica in nearby Venice Beach, however The Original Muscle Beach is distinct in that it is far older and attracts gymnasts and acrobats versus the pumped up bodybuilders you’ll find in Venice. This area is where the Southern California fitness craze first started in the 1940’s and it remains a buzzing hub of athletic culture today.
The large open space comprises a selection of retro gym equipment like rings and bars and visitors can either warm up and get involved or simply sit back and watch in amazement as local performers swing along the beach and practice acrobatic routines on the grass.
Shop at Third Street Promenade
Just a few minutes walk from the beach you can find the Third Street Promenade, the perfect place for some retail therapy when in California! Composed of three pedestrian blocks this shopping haven attracts visitors from all over Los Angeles thanks to the huge selection of shops and restaurants. From farmers markets to high fashion Third Street Promenade has you more than covered. When you’ve finished shopping go grab some locally sourced delicacies at The Gallery Food Hall and watch one of the dance crews that regularly perform along the promenade.
Hire bikes and cruise along the beach
No trip to Santa Monica would be complete without renting a bike and exploring The Strand, the world-famous 22-mile cycle path that follows the Pacific Ocean coast from Santa Monica into Venice, Hermosa and Redondo beach. Rent a comfy beach cruiser bike from Santa Monica’s State Beach and explore the beautiful coastline without worrying about cars or pedestrians.
Stay at Hi Hostel Santa Monica
Located just two blocks from the beach is Hi Hostel Santa Monica, a member of the nonprofit Hostelling International USA organisation which has a national network of over 50 hostels across America, all based on its founding principles of fostering community amongst travellers through affordable hostels in prime locations.
Hostelling International USA has grown famous for converting mansions and historic buildings into new and affordable hostels and this hostel has become a local hub for international visitors thanks to its beachside location, generous facilities and welcoming vibe.
The hostel offers free breakfast and wifi for all guests and has a range of dorm and private rooms to suit all tastes. With a private courtyard, chill out area and pool table there’s nowhere better to relax and connect with fellow travellers when you’re staying in Santa Monica.
Party with celeb’s at The Bungalow
Entering into The Bungalow just off Santa Monica beach, you feel more like you’re venturing into a Hollywood director’s house party than a bar. This laidback establishment has become something of a local institution in Santa Monica with it’s mismatch of comfy furniture offering the ideal place to kick back after a long day in the sun. Outside on the front deck it’s kitted out with fire pits and ping pong tables, so make the most of the warm California evenings, sample a Bungalow Margarita and enjoy!
FOOD AND DRINK
Cha Cha Chicken
Bringing some Carribean flavour to the Santa Monica coastline is local restaurant Cha Cha Chicken, which serves up incredible chicken to hungry locals in a colourful and quirky setting. The coconut chicken served up with homemade mango and jerk chicken sauce is incredible and best washed down with their homemade, Latin inspired aguas frescas juice drinks. Better yet, Cha Cha Chicken is BYOB, something of a rarity in LA, so bring a few Corona’s with you too!
No trip to the States would be complete without feasting on a ridiculously big burger and located just off Santa Monica Boulevard is the perfect place to chow down American style. Johnny Rockets serves up the classic American combination of burgers, fries and shakes in an authentic 1950’s dinner setting. Unlimited fries and refills come with every order in true American fashion!
By Joe Sawyer
MTV Travelled With... InsureandGo. Whether you're going for a weekend away or the holiday of a lifetime, InsureandGo offers the best single trip and annual multi-trip travel insurance. For more information, please visit: www.insureandgo.com