SANTA MONICA — Known for its beaches, pier and workout areas, Santa Monica is an absolute destination for tourists visiting Southern California. But, if you are looking for something to do other than relax, surf, play volleyball or splash in the ocean, Santa Monica has a lot to offer. For the gastronomically adventuresome and culture hounds, Santa Monica has classic museums, world-class restaurants, and a few local farmer’s markets.
Local food products are a big deal in Santa Monica, and the city of Santa Monica loves to provide opportunities for locals to be able to sell their goods. Santa Monica hosts three farmer’s markets throughout the week for people to enjoy. On Wednesday, the market is hosted on Arizona Avenue and 3rd Street. It opens at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until 1:30 p.m. The Saturday Farmer’s Market is on Arizona and 3rd street at the Promenade. On Sunday, the market operates from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 pm in the parking lot at Main Street and Ocean Park.
The markets feature food from local restaurants, produce from farmers in SoCal, and farm-raised meats and poultry. From breakfast to lunch, vendors sell farm-fresh foods for market-goers to enjoy in the outdoor community. Locals enjoy shopping at the market and buying fresh fruits and vegetables.
There are several museums in Santa Monica. If you are interested in history or art, you can easily find the perfect museum. If you are a history buff, be sure to check out the Museum of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport or the Santa Monica History Museum on 7th street. The Museum of Flying tells the beautiful history of aviation and the evolution of aircraft with a special exhibit on California’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Santa Monica History Museum features the history of the city itself. The main exhibit traces the history of Santa Monica, from the cities’ founding in 1875 up to the modern era
Other museums that you may also be interested in include California Heritage Museum and Wonders of the World. There are several major Museums just outside of Santa Monica as well. The best known is the J. Paul Getty Museum , located just off the 405, and the little known but absolutely incredible Getty Villa located just up Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades. The J. Paul Getty Museum is one of the most critically acclaimed museums in the world and exhibits classic art from different eras including Etruscan, Greek, and Roman. The Chinese and Japanese exhibits are also impressive.
SHOPPING AND DINING
If shopping, food, and street entertainment are what you are after, the Third Street Promenade is the place to be. Local clothing designers hang on the racks in stores along the Promenade but there are also the common place stores like Banana Republic and Zara there as well. There are many restaurants and dining options available if food is what you are after. Grab a quick bowl of chili at Barney’s Beanery or treat yourself to Italian fare at Trastevere. The best sushi on the West side is found at Sushi King on Wilshire. Sushi King is not on the Promenade but worth the walk.
All-in-all, there are too many things to do in Santa Monica. If none of the above excites, there is always the beach. After all, isn’t that why you’re here?