Top Choice Landmark in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Pier

Once the very end of the mythical Route 66 and still the object of a tourist love affair, the Santa Monica Pier dates back to 1908 and is the city’s most compelling landmark. There are arcades, carnival games, a vin…
Arts Center in Santa Monica

Bergamot Station Arts Center

This former rail yard has been converted to one of LA's best centers for art galleries, mostly for contemporary art. A couple dozen of them keep varying hours, so check the website before setting out.
Beach in Santa Monica

Santa Monica State Beach

There are endless ways to enjoy this 3.5-mile stretch of sand, running from Venice Beach in the south to Will Rogers State Beach in the north. Sunbathing and swimming are obvious options, but you can also reserve ti…
Carousel in Santa Monica


A National Historic Landmark at the beginning of the pier, the 1916 Hippodrome building housing the carousel appeared in the movie The Sting. The 44 horses (and one rabbit and one goat), calliope and traditional sod…
Monument in Santa Monica

Eames House & Studio

In Santa Monica Canyon, the striking Eames House and Studio, built in 1949 by design deities Charles and Ray Eames, resembles a Mondrian painting in 3-D. It’s still used by the Eames family, but with at least 48-hou…
Museum in Santa Monica

California Heritage Museum

For a trip back in time, check out the latest exhibit at this museum housed in one of Santa Monica’s few surviving grand Victorian mansions – this one built in 1894. Curators do a wonderful job presenting pottery, c…
Notable Building in Santa Monica

Gehry House

In his creative life before the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Frank Gehry was primarily known as that crazy guy who sculpted houses from chain-link fencing, plywood and corrugated aluminum. A great place to see the ‘ear…
Notable Building in Santa Monica


A shopping mall like no other, this was designed by Frank Gehry, whose signature LA work is Walt Disney Concert Hall. It's a relatively early design of his from the 1980s, but you'll see signature poured-in-place co…
Park in Santa Monica

Tongva Park

This meticulously designed green space connects Ocean Ave to the Santa Monica Civic Center area. Well-lit and maintained, there are palms and agave groves, kinetic sculptures, cascading fountains, amphitheater seati…
Park in Santa Monica

Palisades Park

Perhaps it’s appropriate that Route 66, America’s most romanticized byway, formerly ended at this gorgeous cliffside park perched dramatically on the edge of the continent. Stretching 1.5 miles north from the pier, …