Santa Monica Beach symbolizes Southern California Beach lifestyle. Located near the cultural heart of Los Angeles, Santa Monica offers virtually any attraction a visitor could want when visiting southern California. If there is only time to choose one beach in the Los Angeles area during your visit, it should definitely be Santa Monica Beach.
The Santa Monica Pier, located at the end of Colorado Street, is the focal point of the beach area. The wide, sandy beach extends for about a mile north and south of the pier. Pacific Park, an amusement park located on the pier, is anchored by a 9-story solar powered Ferris wheel. Thrill seekers might also enjoy the 5-story roller coaster. Hey, what’s not to like about a beachfront amusement park reminiscent of those that lined the coast in the old days. Romantics and little ones will enjoy the Santa Monica Carousel (as seen in the Hollywood classic The Sting.) Underneath the pier is the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, a beach level aquarium with exhibits the whole family will enjoy.
By Southern California standards, this is a top-notch beach. The large sandy area between the water and the bicycle path is great for sunbathing, people watching, tossing a ball or simply lying in the soft, warm sand. An offshore breakwater was installed to keep the surf gentle, great for kids but not so good for surfers looking for the best waves. The fun includes swimming, body boarding and just splashing in the water. The kids will enjoy the play area located near the pier. For a little extra exercise while enjoying the sights, running through the beach is a paved bicycle and walking path that extends for miles to the south. No doubt, most people have seen this path: it stars in countless movies and in TV shows such as Three’s Company. Visitors will see a variety of non-motorized transportation on this trail. Bicycle and Rollerblade rental shops are plentiful.
The entire downtown area is great for shopping including the Third Street Promenade, an open-air pedestrian street. The Promenade epitomizes Southern California lifestyle with an eclectic mix of people, shops, restaurants and galleries. Be sure to bring a camera and a pen, as several Hollywood notables have been known to frequent the area.
At the southern end of Santa Monica Beach is the renowned “Muscle Beach”. Remember those “Beach Movies” of bygone days? They featured reels of copper toned hard bodies flexing rippled muscles on the beach. Well, they built those bodies right here at Muscle Beach. Visitors will find an outdoor workout venue with gymnastic and balance equipment and an exhibition area for “flexing”. Muscle Beach has been around since 1930, but was newly restored in 2000.
Santa Monica is privileged to experience ideal weather and climate year round. With the humidity rarely over 55% and a gentle breeze from the nearby Pacific Ocean, the city offers its visitors an ideal climate. Fall and spring usher in many festival and events. Sun, fun, excitement, tranquility, muscles and more! Santa Monica is a vacationer’s paradise.