If you’ve got limited time in America but still after the quintessential LA experience, the glamour seaside suburb of Santa Monica provides a great base for some easy day trips to Malibu and Hollywood, and some star spotting at Venice Beach.
Our personal travel managers provide their top tips on how to spend a day in Santa Monica.
Ride the bike trail that runs the length of Santa Monica and Venice Beaches – there are plenty of places to hire a bicycle, or for true Angeleno style, try out a segway.
Venture a little further afield by hiring a rental car and driving up the coast to Malibu. Even if you don’t spot Jennifer Aniston walking her dog on the beach, or Dustin Hoffman picking up an organic soy latte from his local café, by accessorising your outfit with dark glasses and a hat you’ll have the tourists trying to work out who you are.
Give your credit cards a run for their money and shop up a storm on 3rd Street Promenade. Home to all the big American retail brands including GAP, Banana Republic, Pottery Barn and Abercrombie & Fitch.
Peek inside some of the most beautiful homes and private art collections in the Venice and Marina del Rey area. The annual Venice Art Walk & Auctions occurs each May and costs around US$50 per person. All funds go to the Venice Family Clinic, so consider your snooping an act of charity!
Mingle with the beautiful people at The Penthouse Restaurant, a “so-chic-it-hurts” bar and restaurant that occupies the entire top floor of the Huntley Hotel. This is a perfect spot in town to watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean over a cocktail or two.
Catch a Movie
Santa Monica has long been a music and movie town. The La Monica Ballroom on the historic Santa Monica Pier was once the largest ballroom in the US, and the town’s Civic Auditorium hosted the Academy Awards in the 1960’s. There are more than a dozen places to catch a movie along the Santa Monica Promenade. Alternatively The Monica Film Centre on 2nd Street is good for an arty flick.
Treat yourself to a freshly cooked crêpe. Be tempted by a chocolate and banana filling, and if you’re feeling indulgent add a scoop of vanilla ice cream. There are plenty of choices at the Parisian bistro-style ‘Café Crepe’ on 3rd Street Promenade.
Gobble your way through over 1,000 menu choices (and 15 different flavours of margarita!) at Barney’s Beanery in 3rd Street Promenade. Sit outside and watch the shoppers dodge the street performers, or take a booth indoors to soak up some classic American bar culture – sports on TV and 150 different beers.
Lay your weary head at the fabulous Huntley Hotel. It’s just a block back from the oceanfront, a block away from the shopping heaven that is 3rd Street Promenade and it offers those special little touches like gourmet chocolates, an outdoor fireplace, white shagpile rugs and a fish sculpture feature wall.
For more inspiration and advice on travelling to and staying in Santa Monica, ask your local personal travel manager or find one here.