Santa Monica isn’t just another coastal paradise. It’s a place where art, nature, adventure and urban excitement converge
While soft, sandy beaches, wavy palm trees, sun-lit eateries and orange-pink sunsets heavily contribute to its good looks, it is the vibrant cultural scene and neighborhoods loaded with character that really make it enviable. Santa Monica aptly combines the laid-back appeal of a beach town with big-city sophistication, sprinkled with Riviera-style romance and Hollywood glamour. Yes, you have excellent odds of spotting a celebrity or at least someone who seems like they could be one. With beautiful bodies working out everywhere around you, Santa Monica is as inspirational as it is charming. Spend time here and you’ll quickly discover how much SaMo packs in its compact area that can be easily explored on foot.
HOW ABOUT A CLASSIC CALIFORNIA WORKOUT?
Whether you’re a fitness pro or a light-hearted, Instagramming babe, there’s never a shortage of ways to get active here. Head to the original Muscle Beach where the bodybuilding movement of the 20th century began and it seems like everyone on the beach can stand on their hands! They make it seem like cakewalk but it really isn’t, and you only realise this when you dare to try a few body-balancing acts yourself. Looking for an aquatic challenge?
Enroll for a surf lesson at the Santa Monica beach and experience the exhilaration of riding on a wave. Or dive into the California-born sport of beach volleyball at one of the courts on the north or south of the pier
Let the beach be your gym – strike a yoga pose on the tumbling mat, exercise using gymnastic rings and bars or simply gaze at sculpted bods performing acrobatic feats
For ultimate adrenaline, take a class in flying trapeze, silks or trampoline. Face your fears on the 107-year old Santa Monica Pier with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean all around you
SATIATE YOUR HUNGER WITH AN AMERICAN BEACH BITE
Imagine this! An ocean-side stroll accompanied by a glass of fresh lemonade in one hand and a piping hot corn dog in the other. Visit Hot Dog on a Stick for this American pairing; this historic little red shack turns out its signature fare till date. Or even better, enjoy beach butler service and be treated like a VIP. Yes, Perry’s serves delicious juices, hot and cold sandwiches, gaucamole with salsa and chips and the California staple burger and fries right where you dangle your toes in the sand. And all this with a flawless setting of beach chairs, tables and umbrellas. In every way, SaMo never fails to please the sun worshiper in you!
Tip: Sample Santa Monica’s first locally-crafted beer at Santa Monica Brew Works, 1920 Colarado Ave. Perfect beach-drinking beer – hazy yellow and Belgian in style!
CRUISE AROUND TOWN
Hugging 20 miles of SoCal coastline, from Will Rogers State Beach in the Pacific Palisades to Torrence and Redondo beach, the paved Marvin Braude Bike Trail is a delight for every cyclist. Rent some wheels for the day and pass by the famed Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, Venice surf breaks, while soaking in ocean panoramas along with a number of other cyclists, skaters, joggers and segway riders. Pick up the path on either side of Santa Monica Pier and head south. Whether you just want a leisurely ramble or a comparatively challenging spin, you can track your distance and set your pace with easy-to-spot mileage markers.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME…
STROLL IN A PARK
Looking for a place to find a quiet escape from the crowded Santa Monica Pier? Go hunting for a dark chamber with a ship’s wheel at the centre – it’s the Camera Obscura! Located at the Palisades Park, it features a rotating vintage optic device that projects a live image of the adjacent beachfront and lends an experience that is nothing short of magic. Or simply walk on one of the many paths between the 26-acre Palisades Park and Colarado Avenue to feel at peace. Cover a few more miles to set eyes on the award-winning Tongva Park. Inspired by the Southern California Arroyo landscape of washes and ravines, it is a space full of rolling hills, verdant lawns, picnic tables, winding walkways and a conch-like, wireframe lookout to the Pacific.
SOAK UP VINTAGE HOLLYWOOD GLAM
Unwind like a celebrity at a beach house that was once a hot spot among Hollywood luminaries. An extravagant gift from newspaper Magnate William Randolph to his mistress, silent film star Marion Davies, the stunning Marion Davies Estate dates back to 1929. Today, the home has been beautifully restored and rechristened the Annesberg Community Beach House and is open to the public. With spectacular views, an original marble-lined pool set at the edge of the beach, splash pad, children’s play area and gallery, there’s something for everyone here! Want to know more about its historic past? Take a free tour of original Marion Davies guest house and have your questions answered.