Although Los Angeles has a reputation for freeways, traffic, and smog, there is a beautiful oasis that borders the city limits and is along the Pacific that welcomes millions of visitors every year. Santa Monica extends along the beach from Venice all the way up to the Pacific Palisades and is home to dozens of high rise hotels, fine dining, shopping and of course pristine beaches, parks and sunshine. A stroll through Santa Monica will have any visitor feeling like they have left LA and are in the middle of a luxurious resort only found in Mexico or the Mediterranean. Santa Monica offers sights and attractions for the entire family.
The main area of interest when visiting Santa Monica is along the shoreline where Ocean Ave is the dominant thoroughfare for which shopping, dining and accommodations all extend off into separate streets. Tall and thick palm trees line the sidewalks for the entire length of Ocean Avenue. Ocean Ave runs in a north/south direction allowing visitors a constant view of the Pacific. Ocean Ave straddles a cliff where below are the beaches and bike paths. Dozens of hotels line Ocean Avenue and face out on to the Ocean affording guests spectacular views. There are a broad range of choices in restaurants on Ocean Ave, from hole in the walls to five star, celebrity driven menus. Several major streets cross Ocean Avenue and take visitors into Los Angeles proper and offer additional opportunities in shopping and dining. These streets include Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica Blvd and Broadway.
The 3rd St. Promenade is only 2 blocks inland from the beaches and Ocean Avenue. In the last decade the Third Street Promenade has transformed itself into one of the biggest shopping destinations in Los Angeles. Extending almost half a mile from Wilshire Blvd down to Broadway, the Promenade is a street closed to cars and consists of a brick road, lined by palm trees, kiosks and dozens of high end stores from home furnishings to fashion. On the weekends many street performers come out and perform a variety acts from music to acrobatic stunts as crowds gather and watch. There are many dining opportunities on 3rd Street to chose including pizza and Chinese. There are two movie theaters and a major mall under construction slated to open in late 2010 at the termination point of the Promenade at Broadway. There are many other shopping areas adjacent to the Third Street Promenade including 4th Street, 2nd Street and Santa Monica Blvd.
Jutting out from the beaches of Santa Monica and into the Ocean is the Santa Monica Pier. With a rollercoaster, Ferris Wheel, stalls, aquarium and fishing, the average visitor can spend a day on the pier. The pier is friendly to families and allows for a variety of fun activities. The Santa Monica Pier celebrated its 100 birthday in 2009 and to commemorate the event built a new Ferris wheel; at the top of the Ferris Wheel visitors can get a 360 view of the shoreline, all of Santa Monica and down into Venice. There are many bicycle and skate rental shops at the foot of the pier where the more active set can take off along the Santa Monica path along the beach.
Santa Monica is a full destination aside from visiting LA. In good traffic, Santa Monica is only less than thirty minutes from Hollywood and twenty from Beverly Hills.
Author: Todd Cordisco