12 Best Hotels in Santa Monica, United States - Jan 2019
Your Travel Guide to Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a beautiful beachfront suburb in Los Angeles County. It is just north of the famed Venice Beach--in fact, it was the site of the original “Muscle Beach”, since the 1930's, where people used to gather to practice gymnastics, acrobatics, and weightlifting (most of these activities were moved to Venice Beach to the south in 1959, while the Santa Monica beach reopened for gymnastics and acrobatics in 1989). There is a wide range of events at the Santa Monica Beach and Pier: cinema, opera, art, music, sports, and all sorts of water fun. Santa Monica is a great place to enjoy outdoor summer fun--all year ‘round!
What are the Must-Do-s and See-s in Santa Monica
Santa Monica Pier and State Beach
The Santa Monica Pier includes Pacific Park, an amusement park for the whole family, with free admission (you just pay admission to each ride separately). The attractions include a roller coaster and other thrill rides, bumper cars, and children’s rides. There is an “unlimited ride” wristband that you can purchase, to get admission to all the rides. There are also carnival games for you to enjoy.
There is also the iconic Santa Monica State Beach, a 3.5-mile stretch of land which links up to the famous Venice Beach to the south. You can go bike riding or skating, or engage in a few games of chess at the Chess Park. The Beach also includes the Looff Hippodrome Carousel, dating from 1922, which has been promoted to a national historic landmark. There also are a number of activities possible at the nearby Annenberg Community Beach House. It includes a pool, playground, and facilities for all sorts of beach sports: volleyball, beach tennis, and beach soccer. It is also possible to rent a paddle board or sign up for surfing instruction. The Beach House is a piece of history in its own right: It was constructed by William Randolph Hearst, and hosted many great actors and actresses of the 1920s. The Oceana Beach Club Hotel, the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows, the Huntley Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and the Palihouse Santa Monica are all either alongside the beach or just a few blocks away.
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium includes touch tanks, where children can actually touch the marine animals in the exhibits. There are also special exhibits of seahorses, sharks, coral reef and kelp forest animals, and even exhibits of the animals living under Santa Monica Pier, in the waters right outside the aquarium!
Trapeze School New York
You would think the Trapeze School of New York would only be located in New York--but it has branches in other major U.S. cities. The Los Angeles branch is actually located in Santa Monica, at the Santa Monica Pier. Their classes are designed to dispel people’s fears about flying on a trapeze--people, even children, are amazed at what they are capable of accomplishing in just a two-hour class! There are classes in using the trampoline and the aerial hoop as well.
Third Street Promenade
The Third Street Promenade is a combination of a shopping center and venue for all sorts of street performers. There is also a program called ROAM Santa Monica, featuring art works by contemporary artists, on display in Triangle Square, at the intersection of Colorado Esplanade and Third Street. There are also movie theaters, bars, and restaurants. It is very close to the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and the JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot Hotel.
Getting To and Around Santa Monica
Los Angeles International Airport
If you fly a major airline, you’ll probably just want to fly into Los Angeles International Airport, and take a taxi or Uber ride to Santa Monica. It should cost around $35 dollars.
Santa Monica itself has a small airport for private planes and business jets--it’s actually a bit of a tourist attraction, where you can watch, along with your children, planes landing and taking off. They even arrange birthday parties for kids, where your kids can go into a real plane’s cockpit and learn about all the plane’s controls!
The Santa Monica Museum of Flying is also located nearby, with aircraft and aircraft replicas, as well as artifacts documenting the aviation history of Southern California.
Los Angeles has the Metro Expo Line, which has trains that can get you from downtown Los Angeles to downtown Santa Monica in around 50 minutes. There are three train stops in Santa Monica, with the last stop leaving you downtown, at Santa Monica Place, which is an outdoor shopping mall. The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and Shore Hotel Santa Monica are located conveniently nearby.
There is also the Big Blue Bus line, with a number of bus lines to and from Los Angeles, as well as to the surrounding areas: Marina Del Rey, Venice Beach, and more.
There is also the Santa Monica Free Ride, a shuttle service with electric vans, with seven stops around Santa Monica. The Free Ride is available from 11:30 AM to 9:00 PM.