Santa Monica Things to Do Tips by madamx Top 5 Page for this destination
Santa Monica Things to Do: 118 reviews and 170 photos
Dancin' in the streets
Not just a shopping destination, the Third Street Promenade is THE place to hang out in the evenings. You can sit back and relax and take in the multitude of street performers (even in December, there were quite a few), then go to a movie, have dinner, have a coffee and do some shopping as well. Most of the stores I noticed were open until 10:00 pm, or maybe it was just because of the holiday season, I'm not sure.
Address: 3rd. Street From Wilshire to Broadway
Directions: Take Wilshire towards the Pacific Ocean.
Agave plants at sunset
This beautiful park has panoramic views of the ocean, Malibu, and Santa Monica State Beach. You can follow the sandy walking paths along Ocean Avenue, and the way is dotted with charming arbors and seating areas amongst the palms and fragrant eucalyptus. The park is very popular with locals -- from the obviously moneyed to the homeless. I wouldn't recommend walking along the path here after about 6:00 pm as the homeless tend to bed down for the night amongst some of the thick landscaping along the park. In my experience, they are pretty harmless, but I would rather just avoid them and walk on the street side of Ocean Avenue.
Address: Ocean Avenue
Directions: Runs alongside Ocean Avenue, starting at the Santa Monica Pier
War of the Worlds set
What's a visit to L.A. without going to a theme park? We did not have a rental car (long story) and actually got to Universal Studios using public transit. Yes, folks, public transit in congested and car mad Los Angeles!
We took the studio tour as my husband had not been here before, and the last time I was there I was quite young. I was surpised to see that they still have the parting of the Red Sea still included, 30 years later! On the tour you see sets from: War of the Worlds, the ever-classic Jaws, and the fun Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Most impressive: War of the Worlds. There are also a few surprises along the way, but that would be telling!!!
Besides Universal Studios is Universal Citywalk, a slightly cheesy outdoor mall, that does offer some decent restaurants, though watch the little ones, it does offer lots of trinkets for them to whine over too.
We found the theme rides not bad, but most of them have this big "build up" and the ride itself actually lasts a very short time, maybe 10 minutes. We thought Shrek 4D was the best, though, and lasted a worthy 1/2 an hour. We were pretty disapointed with Van Helsing, which was actually a haunted house. The surprise factor is lost when you see the people in front of you screaming hysterically at a guy in a werewolf costume awkwardly waving his hands. Favorites: Jurraisic Park, Shrek 4D, and Back To The Future.
All in all, it was an enjoyable day, but if you miss out on this one, don't be too disappointed. As at any theme park, be prepared for high prices on food and drink.
Directions: See website for directions.
Find solitude on a winter beach
During the summer, this is one of the most crowded beaches in Southern California. During the winter, though, it's a peaceful escape. In winter, the beach tends to be foggy in the morning, with most of the fog burning off by 1 or 2 pm.
If you are on foot, you can access the beach from Montana Ave., off of Ocean Avenue -- follow the footpath, which will lead you over a safe pedestrian bridge. If you are driving, the Pacific Coast Highway runs along the beach, and I noticed plenty of parking lots in the area, and $5.00 per entry was the going rate.
There is a bike and foot path that runs adjacent to the beach, and you can ride north to Malibu or as far south as Marina del Ray.
Directions: Accessible by foot from Ocean Avenue or by car from the Pacific Coast Highway
This landmark was originally built in 1906. Somewhat of a tourist trap with it's souvenier shops and mediocre chain restaurants such as Bubba Gump's, it's still fun to stroll and people watch and take in the street performers. The amusement park is geared more towards kids and offers a rather lame roller coaster; but make sure to fit in a ride on the ferris wheel at night with your honey.
Address: Ocean Avenue at Colorado
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