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Los Angeles, California

10 Instagram-Worthy Ways to See Santa Monica

Looking to get to know Santa Monica, California before you visit? Let us take you on an Instagram-led tour inspired by the many locations, attractions, activities and food that make Los Angeles’ beachside city an amazing place to visit.

Santa Monica Pier/@SeeSantaMonica

1. Santa Monica Pier

As an iconic symbol situated near end of historic Route 66, Santa Monica Pier hardly needs an introduction. The Pier has rides, games, food, attractions and is an amazing spot to snap a beachfront photo. Bring the whole family and have fun at Pacific Park with the world’s first and only solar-powered Pacific Wheel and the renowned West Coaster roller coaster.

Viceroy Santa Monica/@SeeSantaMonica

2. Hotels

A Santa Monica vacation means staying in one of the city’s 38 hip hotels conveniently located on or near the beach. Hotels here offer everything from chic retreats and lively pool bars to family vacations with unique value-adds like free bikes to use or complimentary fitness classes.

Third Street Promenade/@SeeSantaMonica

3. Shopping (and lots of it!)

Locals know to go to Santa Monica to shop because they can find everything from high-style designers and major retailers to relaxed surf shops and chic boutiques. Montana Avenue is perfect for finding upscale, chic items. Main Street offers eclectic and beachy boutiques ideal for the cool hipster or trendsetter. Downtown Santa Monica and Santa Monica Place mall offer every brand imaginable and is home to the famous Third Street Promenade, which not only has top brands, but features street performers, restaurants and more it its pedestrian walkway.

Sonoma Wine Garden/@SeeSantaMonica

4. Restaurant Scene

You will not go hungry in Santa Monica, which has over 400 restaurants of all styles.  Recognized as a birthplace for “California” and “fusion” food, the cuisine is created from organic and locally sustainable ingredients from Farmers Markets. 

Santa Monica Farmers Market/@SeeSantaMonica

5. Farmers Market

Santa Monica’s four weekly Farmers Markets have impacted the dining scene throughout Los Angeles and inspire many of the city’s farm-to-table menus. Open year-round, you can have your pick of the city’s freshest local produce no matter the season. Get more information about all of the city’s farmers markets here

The Chestnut Club/@SeeSantaMonica

6. Nightlife

When the sun goes down, Santa Monica’s eclectic nightlife spots come to life. Whether you’re grabbing an innovative cocktail along trendy Main Street, soaking in the views at a rooftop bar, or grabbing a beer near the beach, there’s a watering hole nearby to suit your every taste. 

Getty Villa/@thegetty

7. Arts & Culture

With a mixture of urban and beach culture, Santa Monica is home to over 120 museums and art galleries like the Getty Villa overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Locals and tourists can feel the artistic culture while walking along the streets with colorful murals, powerful performances and historic architecture that gives the city life. 

Bike trail Marvin Braude/@SeeSantaMonica

8. Beachside Activities

Take advantage of Santa Monica’s 300 days of sunshine with fun outdoor activities like beachfront yoga classes, or grab a bike and explore the beach communities along the 22-mile South Bay Bicycle Trail that stretches along the stunning Pacific coastline. 

Santa Monica Beach/@SeeSantaMonica

9. Surfing

Surfing is not just an activity in Santa Monica, it’s a way of life. Local surfers can be spotted all around town, not just on the beach. Try a class, watch the surfers ride the waves, or visit a surf shop and grab the gear to look like a surfer.

Sunset in Santa Monica/@SeeSantaMonica

10. Sunsets

Santa Monica has a reputation for producing some of the most gorgeous beach sunsets. Who doesn’t love seeing the sun move down a blushing skyline and disappearing along the glowing horizon while hearing the sound of ocean waves crash along the beach?

For more inspiration, follow @SeeSantaMonica on Instagram. Share photos during your visit using #seesantamonica and #santamonicasunset. Article and images courtesy of Santa Monica Travel & Tourism.

Start exploring

Start exploring

Start exploring