Just 12 miles from Los Angeles International Airport, Santa Monica is a beautiful beach community rich in family fun, outdoor activities, and arts and culture. An eclectic mix of glitz and laid-back surf culture make Santa Monica a trendy, yet relaxing vacation destination. The area promotes health living, and welcomes visitors to enjoy its nearly 300 days of sunshine per year. Whether vacationing or living in the area, Santa Monica has lots of free things to do. We’ve rounded up some of the most popular hot spots for free activities and entertainment:
Relax on Santa Monica Beach
What’s a beach vacation without a beach? Measuring 3.5 miles, Santa Monica Beach is a top spot for soaking up the sun, surfing, building sand castles, or simply reading a book while listening to the waves. The Santa Monica Pier – located in the middle of the beach – features an amusement park, aquarium, restaurants and shops. The pier is the oldest pier on the West Coast and open year-round.
Attend a Festival or Parade
Santa Monica host several free events throughout the year. Among them are the Santa Monica Festival in May, which honors the city’s history and environmental resources. Every Forth of July, watch the annual Parade on Main Street, which features bands, vintage cars and entertainers.
Stroll Third Street Promenade
Located in downtown Santa Monica, Third Street Promenade is a hot spot for dining, shopping and entertainment. The 30-block open-air, pedestrian-only area has tons to see and do. Take pictures of street performers, shop more than 200 retailers big and small, and find celebrity chefs cooking up delicious dishes. Don’t miss fresh food options at the Santa Monica Farmers Market.
Picture-perfect weather enables visitors to explore Santa Monica through fitness activities as well. Whether you want to play Frisbee on the beach or bike one of many paths, the city welcomes you to get outside. Palisades Park is a favorite for hiking and sunset viewing, and there are free tennis courts available at Yahoo, Marine and Clover parks, to name a few. Learn more about Santa Monica’s parks.
Celebrate Local Artists
Tour southern California’s largest art gallery complex at Bergamot Station. Located on 8 acres, guests can view more than 35 art galleries, studios and design firms. The facility is also home to The Santa Monica Museum of Art, a frame shop and cafe, with expansive outdoor dining options. Parking is also free.
Catch a Movie
Bring the chairs or blankets, and enjoy a movie night. Every summer, find weekly outdoor showings at Third Street Promenade. If you prefer to stay indoors, the Santa Monica Library hosts free feature films. The library is also a work of art itself, as it features eco-friendly technology and solar panels.