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Santa Monica, CA
POPULAR TIMESWeekends; summer
RESERVE IN ADVANCENo
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONNone
HIGHLIGHTSSanta Monica Pier; beach
This is the classic Southern California beachside town of the movies (probably why it’s been featured in so many!). It’s populated with celebs and beautiful people, it’s chic and artsy (check out gallery collective Bergamot Station), it’s surfer cool (gear up at ZJ Boarding House), and it’s funky (step right up to the retro amusement park at the Pier). Unsurprisingly, true to its more-SoCal-than-SoCal image, this is a city that’s always on message with the latest trends. These days it stays hip with its attention to the eco-friendly–you won’t need a car to get around.
GO HERE WITH
A date; a gallery or boutique browsing companion; a friend
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s a cute little city that ticks all the right boxes: great food, shopping, beaches, entertainment, and culture…and all of it infused with quintessential California cool.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The main shopping drag, Third Street Promenade, is scenic and fun to walk around but disappointingly filled with cookie cutter chain stores. It’s worth taking a quick look there, but spend most of your day on the beach and the Pier.
GOOD TO KNOW
It’s uber-walkable and has plenty of large parking lots near the Third Street Promenade. Leave your car there instead of trying to maneuver it through these pedestrian-clogged streets.
Venice (Los Angeles)
Read more about Santa Monica in The Diary
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