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Head to Santa Monica for a holiday

Head to Santa Monica for a holiday
Highlights

Santa Monica is the perfect beach town with a plethora of attractions. More so than adjacent Malibu or Venice Beach, Santa Monica manages the ideal...

Santa Monica is the perfect beach town with a plethora of attractions. More so than adjacent Malibu or Venice Beach, Santa Monica manages the ideal balance of seaside charm and coastal sophistication. This makes it an entirely attractive travel destination.

Santa Monica Beach

The long, wide expanse of Santa Monica Beach is distinguished from other Southern California shorelines by the sheer extent of activities one can enjoy. Both sand and ocean are clean and beautiful, making for some grade-A beachcombing, swimming, and surfing.

Santa Monica Pier

Its red and yellow Ferris wheel is a city icon. The Pier offers Pacific Park, a full-service amusement park, combined with plenty of restaurants, bars, and souvenir shops, as well as an entertaining arcade with more than 200 games. Pacific Park's solar-powered Ferris wheel makes it the only one of its kind in the region. Stick around past sunset and you might just catch live local music to the sound of the nearby waves.

Shopping

Whether you prefer name brands or global couture, you'll find it here. But where Santa Monica shopping really shines is with independent boutiques that reflect the city's casually sophisticated style. From the quaint little shops of Montana Avenue—Lucy, Splendid, Ruti, Citron—to the glittering storefronts of Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom at Santa Monica Place, you won't want for options.

Art and culture

Santa Monica is home to more than 75 museums and art galleries; clearly, this is a city that embraces arts and culture. The abundance of public art and sculpture, as well as street performers, shows that all of Santa Monica's art isn't locked up within four walls, either. Must-visit Santa Monica attractions include L&M Arts, a branch of the New York City gallery by the same name, Bergamot.

Nightlife

Locals from all over the LA area head to Santa Monica, where the combination of walkable and casual make for a memorable evening no matter what the occasion. Start with happy hour on a rooftop bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean, such as ONYX at Hotel Shangri-La or Sonoma Wine Garden at Santa Monica Place, and end the night dancing at Circle Bar or Bar Copa, or sidled up to the counter at one of the city's dive bars, such as Chez Jay.

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