Ditch the Car & Walk Everywhere
Santa Monica is small and prides itself on being pedestrian and environmentally friendly.
No bikes or cars along the Third Street Promenade. It’s a stroller’s paradise known for its multitude boutiques, restaurants, movie theaters, and animated street performers, or take a turn down Arizona toward the Ocean, walk onto the historic Santa Monica Pier. The pier is home to savory smells from fast food stalls and the solar powered, nine-story high Ferris wheel that has long been a symbol of the city and a sea lion sanctuary. Check out a local contribution of Five reasons to visit the Santa Monica pier.
Third Street Promenade
Every traveler should hit the Third Street Promenade which is chock full of movies theaters, restaurants, shops and street entertainment. Wednesdays you can also load up on fresh fruits and veggies at the Chefs’ Farmer’s Market. What’s nice about the Promenade is that it’s pedestrian-only, which is extremely rare in car-obsessed Los Angeles. Makes you feel a bit like you’re wandering the European marketplaces, except that here you’re more likely to find an Old Navy or Gap store neighboring the funky little shops. For more high-fashion boutiques, as well as a chance to do some celeb-sighting, check out Montana Avenue. You’ll find more diverse offerings than those on Third Street. All the offerings at the market are locally grown.
Main Street also offers some unique shopping – antiques, art galleries and cute boutiques dot this section of town. Bikes, surfboards, roller blades, and Segways are available for rent all along Main Street and the beach walk. It’s a 26-mile bike path! You’ve seen this stretch of beach in hundreds of movies and TV shows: folks on inlines and boards (both skate and surf) as well as bicycles, the flashy Marina and the oddities of Venice. No need to rent a car. Public transportation is great. The Big Blue Bus is among essential transit systems in the state with daily passes just $4!
The condo is ideally located – only a few short blocks to the beach, one block to Main, and half a mile from the Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier. Main Street is dotted with boutiques, yoga studios, coffee shops and vegan bars. Gourmet food trucks park in a designated area on Main Street, so close you can bring your food back. The farmer’s market on Saturday and Sunday mornings is a big highlight. The food is locally grown, fresh food is served from vendor stands, and the person next to you can be a Top Chef from one of the prior seasons! That happened to the owner of the condo!
Venice Beach is a blast. There is a crack in the sidewalk separating from Santa Monica and Venice. You could trip in one and fall into the other. The vibe is quirky/artsy/hippie and acts as a stark contrast to neighboring Santa Monica beach. Home to Dennis Hopper, (may he RIP) Bradley Cooper, Richard Dreyfuss, David Arquette, Julia Roberts, and the new Batman. If you hang out at Whole Foods, you can spot them as they pop in. Whole Foods is one of the best places to shop for food in the area so it makes sense that they shop there. Besides the infamous boardwalk/beach area, you can also ride a bike along a separate bike path from the Washington Pier to the Santa Monica Pier and observe the change in architecture and pedestrians, or you can bike the Venice Canals. Sign up for a tour of Venice’s stunning, multi-million dollar homes along canals.
So much of LA is spread out across so many different areas; it’s always a relief to find a pocket of food, fashion, and general flair where you can wander up and down sidewalks for more than a few blocks in a row. Abbott Kinney has such a unique silhouette, low, one-story buildings, none of the glitz of Beverly Hills or even Santa Monica. The restaurants and shops are a fascinating mix, but a bit pricey too. The culture is young but not off-putting for anyone over 40, and some of the stores are truly exceptional. Most tourists don’t discover this little gem, preferring to stay in the more ‘known’ areas. You will feel like a local here. During the week, street parking is easy to find.