Santa Monica Attractions: 7 Things to Do on Vacation

Located west of Los Angeles, Santa Monica offers plenty of things to do. Its 3.5 miles of beaches and average 340 days of sunshine a year provide ideal conditions for playing outdoors and kicking it like locals. Read about the top Santa Monica attractions and how to make the most of a vacation.

Top Santa Monica Attractions, Things to Do

Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach measures 3.5 miles and is divided into two sections: north and south of the pier. Find a maintained soft-sand beach suited for relaxing or getting into the water. Popular beach activities include swimming, fishing, surfing, biking and volleyball. When it’s time to refuel, visit nearby restaurants located within a quick walk.

Pier, Parks, Games

Santa Monica Pier provides an array of fun activities for families. Pacific Park, located on the pier, offers attractions and rides for kids and adults. Thrill-seekers enjoy the five-story West Coaster roller coaster, the nine-story Pacific Plunge tower ride and the nine-story Pacific-Wheel Ferris wheel. The Trapeze School of New York provides a trapeze-filled experience on the pier. To break from the heat, Playland Arcade is packed with more than 200 games and attractions. Spend a couple of hours or a full day, and don’t forget the camera.

Outdoor Workouts

Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach — known as the birthplace of the “Physical Fitness Boom of the 20th Century” — ranks as a longtime landmark in the world of bodybuilding. Acrobats, gymnasts and others use outdoor equipment to get fit. For a quiet workout, visit during the week or join the action on the weekends when most visit the park.

Accept the Challenge

Chess enthusiasts gather at International Chess Park located on the beach. The park features permanent chess tables as well as a huge chessboard with large pieces. Players and spectators are welcome, and bring a chess set for a personal experience. Test your skills at one of the chess tables or watch intense rivalries among master-level players.

Interested in visiting Santa Monica? Check out these Malibu and Los Angeles vacation rentals.