Photography - Ivan Andrejić
Santa Monica Santa Monica is the perfect beach town with a plethora of attractions. More so than adjacent Malibu or Venice Beach, Santa Monica manages the ideal balance of seaside charm and coastal sophistication. This makes it an entirely attractive travel destination. At just 8.3 square miles, you’ll find Santa Monica to be very walkable, yet with a laid-back warmth to it. Santa Monica sits perched on the Pacific Ocean at the crossroads of Pacific Coast Highway and California Interstate Highway 10, a mere eight non-freeway miles from Los Angeles International Airport and within close proximity to all of Los Angeles’ most famous landmarks and attractions. Santa Monica’s prime location within greater Los Angeles easily allows for day trips to take in the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills, the nightlife of West Hollywood, the thrill of Universal Studios, or a hike behind the Hollywood sign, without having to sacrifice a heavenly beachside base. In May 2016, the new Metro Expo Light Rail opened, connecting Downtown Santa Monica to greater Los Angeles by rail for the first time in over 50 years. Visitors and locals are now able to travel to Downtown Los Angeles (home to Staples Center, Nokia Theater, and a world-famous dining and nightlife scene) in under 50 minutes, no matter the time of day.
Santa Monica beach Located just west of Downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica beach is an iconic example of the famed Southern California beaches. With few Los Angeles beach options offering both large expanses of beach, bike trails and nearby activities, Santa Monica Beach has exactly what youâ€™re looking for. Tourists and visitors come to the Santa Monica State Beach because it: is large, at 3.5 miles in length, has a maintained, soft sand beach, is within walking distance to popular hotels, shops and restaurants, offers a variety of activities and attractions, is an iconic beach in Southern California. Because the beach is long (3.5 miles in length) it is helpful to divide the beach into two sections: north of the pier and south of the pier.
Santa Monica State Beach on the north side of the pier is separated from the city by the palisades (an ocean bluff) and the Pacific Coast Highway. A series of bridges, walkways and stairs provide access to the beach from the city. The Annenberg Community Beach House is at the far north end of the beach, with houses and parking lots running along the Pacific Coast Highway to the Santa Monica Pier. The North Beach Playground is universally accessible, offering barrier-free equipment for increased maneuvering space, and accessible surfaces and paths. Sensory play elements such as touching, feeling, and hearing are utilized as well as swings, slides, and climbing equipment to inspire activity, mobility, and imagination in all children. Santa Monica beach on the south side of the pier is level with the city, with parking lots, parks, homes and hotels bordering the beach. The original Muscle Beach (featuring gymnastics equipment), International Chess Park and Carousel
Santa Monica Pier When one thinks of things to do in Santa Monica, the attraction of the Santa Monica Pier inevitably comes to mind. Its red and yellow Ferris wheel is a city icon. The Pier offers Pacific Park, a full-service amusement park, combined with plenty of restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops, as well as an entertaining arcade with more than 200 games. Pacific Parkâ€™s solar-powered Ferris wheel makes it the only one of its kind in the region. By day, marvel at the historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel, check out the street performers, or snag a stick of puffy cotton candy. The views of Malibu and the South Bay are pretty outstanding and make for the perfect evening when watched with a beer in hand. Stick around past sunset and you might just catch live local music to the sound of the nearby waves. The Santa Monica Pier is a must-visit Santa Monica attraction that really sets Santa Monica apart as an ideal destination for families and visitors of any age.
Among the most important attractions of Santa Monica are also: Pacific Park is a full-service amusement park located on the Pier with rides and attractions such as the five-story West Coaster roller coaster, the nine-story Pacific Plunge tower ride, and the nine-story Pacific Wheel, the only over-water ferris wheel in California. Third Street Promenade: The sprawling Third Street Promenade is the bustling hub of Downtown Santa Monica. This pedestrian-only, open-air shopping destination is only two blocks from the city’s popular beaches and is noted for its weekly farmers’ market, terrific shopping, street performers, ample dining options, and of course, people watching. Tongva Park: A seven-acre park in the heart of Santa Monica. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the team behind New York’s celebrated High Line, Tongva Park was inspired by the Southern California arroyo landscape of washes and ravines that once defined the site. The urban landscape features an abundant and ambitious plant scheme, contemplative walking paths, soothing water elements, and two viewing platforms offering majestic views of the Pacific Ocean. Where the iconic Route 66 ends at the sea is a small shop dedicated to its legend and to fine American-made goods. Stop by, it’s not the end,it’s just the beginning.
Venice Beach Abutting Santa Monica’s south side on the Pacific Coast Highway is Venice Beach—simply Venice to locals. The community was born in 1905, developed by eccentric millionaire Abbot Kinney, who modeled the town after his favorite Italian city, complete with piazzas and canals. You can still see those canals, along with quaint original cottages, in the Venice Canal Historic District. Today’s Venice, though, is most famous for the quirky goings-on along its iconic beachfront boardwalk, where street entertainers and vendors create an unforgettable scene of local characters and happenings. Watch it all stream by from the loud and lively waterfront skate park, or sit near the daily drum circle on the beach (you can even grab a can and a stick—or anything that makes noise—and join in).
Santa Monica as a perfect base Santa Monica is perfect base for exploring attractions of Los Angeles. One of the most important sightseeing for international and domestic tourists is spoting Hollywood sign. When it comes to icons, this towering sign stands tall—literally. Originally erected in 1923 to promote a housing development called Hollywoodland, the enormous sign—which lost its last four letters in 1949 and got a massive makeover in 1978 (spearheaded by Hugh Hefner of Playboy fame)—now acts like a towering beacon for anyone who dreams of being in the movies. Get good views of the sign along Mulholland Highway as it snakes through the Hollywood Hills, as well as from the Griffith Observatory and Lake Hollywood Park. From town, look up at the sign from the Hollywood and Highland Center. Or, for a more novel way to see the sign, hike the West Trail in Griffith Park or join a guided trail ride out of Sunset Ranch, at the end of Beachwood Drive. Sunset Ranch’s horseback riding tours include one- or two-hour rides through Griffith Park, evening tours with dinner, and even overnight stays that all offer great photo ops of the famous sign—along with other L.A. scenery, stretching all the way out to the Pacific.
As the largest municipal park in Los Angeles, Griffith Park protects 4,511 acres of mountains and canyons at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s a remarkable stretch of rough, hilly wilderness in the heart of an enormous urban area—and it’s also home to a wealth of culture. Choose from more than 50 miles of trails lacing the chaparral-studded slopes, including one to the top of 1,625-foot Mount Hollywood, the park’s highest point. Griffith Park has a more refined side, too. Learn about American western art at the Autry Museum of the American West. Leading musicians love to play at the open-air Greek Theatre. Kids can get close-up looks at koalas and Komodo dragons at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens. And high on a slope overlooking Los Angeles, the landmark Art Deco-era Griffith Observatory gives you a window to the cosmos.
Echo Park Echo Park Lake is one of the secret places to discover in Los Angeles â€“ Flanked by Elysian Park, Elysian Valley, Silver Lake and Chinatown, Echo Park is a historic and diverse neighborhood where youâ€™ll find everything from Dodger Stadium, the home of our beloved Los Angeles Dodgers, to Echo Park Lake, which reopened recently after a $45-million renovation. Locals and visitors alike enjoy paddle-boating around the lake, while the surrounding area continues to experience a retail, recreation and restaurant renaissance.
Carroll Avenue Carroll Avenue â€“ located in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Angelino Heights, this historic street is lined with Victorian manors that date to the 19th century. Many of these private homes can be seen in films, TV shows and music videos such as ,,Charmed House,, Note the Victorian architectural features as you stroll down Carroll Avenue, including the distinctive lamp posts as well as hitching posts that secured horses back in the day. The entire 1300 block of Carroll Avenue was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and several homes have been named Los Angeles HistoricCultural Monuments.
Hollywood Walk of Fame The world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame features more than 2,500 terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalk along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street. The five-pointed stars honor the accomplishments of actors, musicians, directors, producers and others in the entertainment industry.
Temescal Canyon Temescal Canyon â€“ One of the best aspects L.A. is outdoor access. The beach, mountains and desert are all within striking distance. Hiking is always an option, whether itâ€™s the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park or the mighty San Gabriel Mountains. Temescal Canyon Trail is a 2.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Pacific Palisades, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running and is accessible year-round.
Universal Studios Universal Studios Hollywood – is the only authentic, working movie studio and theme park in the world. It’s as much a can’t-miss for visitors as it is a popular weekend attraction for L.A. locals. Beyond its iconic red carpet entry and just inside the famed Universal Studios Hollywood gates awaits an authentic movie magic experience. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the West Coast’s greatest entertainment experiences. Explore the mysteries of Hogwarts castle, visit the shops of Hogsmeade, and sample fare from some of the wizarding world’s best-known establishments. Soar above Hogwarts with the thrilling Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, or spiral and dive around the pumpkin patch when you ride the family-friendly Flight of the Hippogriff roller coaster.
Santa Monica is perfect base for visiting all Los Angeles attractions and one of the best located accommodation option for youth and young at heart is HI Los Angeles Santa Monica hostel. You can sunbathe in the Hostel courtyard or surf the nearby Pacific, spend an afternoon or evening at the famous Santa Monica Pier, bike to nearby Venice Beach. or just spend your time discovering the shops, cafes, and bars all around the hostel.