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Introducing Santa Monica

Here’s a place where real-life Lebowskis sip white Russians next to martini-swilling Hollywood producers, celebrity chefs dine at family-owned taquerias, and soccer moms and career bachelors shop shoulder to shoulder at abundant farmers markets. It’s a small city with forward-thinking social and environmental ideals and fascist parking codes. Here, you’ll navigate a landscape of surf rats, skate punks, string bikinis, yoga freaks, psychics, street performers and a prodigious homeless population. Most, if not all, of which can be found along a stretch of sublime coastline that cradles the city to the west, and laps at the heels of an undulating mountain range that defines the entire LA area to the north. This is Santa Monica – LA’s cute, alluring, hippie-chic little sister, its karmic counterbalance and, to many, its salvation.

Well within the Hollywood sphere of influence, production houses, post-production studios and, more recently, a thundering herd of tech companies, lend it a certain buzz. Shoppers patrol three distinct shopping districts, rummage through thrift stores and dress up in refined boutiques. At night you can choose from sprawling outdoor cafes, chic hotel lounges, dance clubs, and casual wine bars. There’s live blues, salsa and world music almost every night of the week, and Santa Monica cuisine spans the globe with something for every wallet. As the sun drops, however, there is really only one place you’ll want to be. That’s the wide golden beach that put Santa Monica on the map in the first place.