Santa Monica is set up perfectly for people who want to come in and see what the city has to offer within a day or two. In the great sprawl of Los Angeles, Santa Monica is tucked up against the shore, with everything you need to enjoy a short vacation within walking distance or a short ride away. In the city without a car? Check out our tips on how to have a lovely day in Santa Monica, all without a car.
Because of this, many visitors stop in Santa Monica along their way up the Pacific Coast Highway for a day, or try to escape work meetings downtown for 24 hours while in Los Angeles for business. Even with limited time, you can get some serious sightseeing in while enjoying the warm weather and sun of Santa Monica.
We’ve put together this short guide that will help get you through the day around Santa Monica, while feeling like you have seen the best we have to offer. Let’s start with breakfast…
Start the Day Right
Every good vacation day should start with a breakfast to get you started. Santa Monica offers a variety of great breakfast restaurants with ocean views, but we suggest trying Back on the Beach Café. Grab a seat inside, or sit with your feet in the sand while enjoying your morning coffee along with the waves. This Santa Monica breakfast restaurant has something for everyone, and the reviews to prove it.
Assuming that the weather is nice – as it usually is – follow up your breakfast with a nice morning walk down the beach back towards the Pier. The morning breeze and warm sun will have you ready to enjoy the rest of your day trip in Santa Monica.
Soak in the Sun
Late morning is the perfect time to claim your spot on the beach. You can rent a chair and umbrella from Perry’s in two different locations – one on each side of the pier! Grab some sunscreen, water, and spend a few hours relaxing on one of the best beaches in Southern California. Getting hot? Jump in the water and enjoy the waves before packing up to enjoy the rest of your day in Santa Monica.
Refuel and Go for a Stroll
Just a couple blocks back from the beach, you can find the Third Street Promenade. There, you can grab a bite to eat for lunch, relax in some air conditioning, and enjoy the sights. Take the time to walk down the promenade, and stop in a few of the interesting shops along the way. You can find plenty to do and see here 7 days a week!
Get the Fun Started
Late afternoon is a great time to head out to the Santa Monica Pier, with no shortage of things to do or see. Take the time to watch a street performer, or see how the pros fish at the end of the pier. Grab a drink and an appetizer at one of the many restaurants as you ease into the evening in Santa Monica.
Don’t Forget to Have Some Fun!
People watching is great – but you should take part in the fun, too! Go for a ride on the iconic Pacific Wheel, or play some carnival games for prizes. Pacific Park has fun and games for all ages, and is the perfect way to end your day in Santa Monica.
Come Back Soon
Sure, you can get a lot done in Santa Monica on a single day trip, but it also has a lot more to offer. If you enjoy your one day stay, come back for longer next time. Santa Monica continues to grow and improve every year, continually offering both tourists and residents with more to do and see in the city.