How to Spend a Weekend in Santa Monica, California

  • 8 months   ago
How to Spend a Weekend in Santa Monica, California, Travel Guide to California, How to spend a weekend in California, Qatar Day, Qatar Day Travel Blog

People looking for a weekend of rest and relaxation often fail to look one more time at Los Angeles, with its busy streets and bustling sidewalks awake almost 24 hours a day. However, a short drive from the heart of LA is a seaside destination free from all the hustle and bustle of the city and full of sand and the fresh ocean breeze from none other than the Pacific Ocean.

If you are looking for your next relaxing weekend vacation, check out Santa Monica. It is a beachfront city in the western part of Los Angeles County, California. For first-timers, fear not as enjoying this seaside destination only requires two steps as easy as a one-two-tango.

 Step 1: Finding a place to stay

Finding a place you’ll temporarily call home during your Santa Monica weekend is of utmost importance. However, you need not worry as the variety of hotels, apartments, and units for rent can definitely satisfy the city’s large number of tourists as well as their varying tastes and preferences.

For that rare and worthwhile taste of luxury, book your stay at Shutters on the Beach. This beachfront hotel consistently ranks among the best hotels in Santa Monica with its stretch of white sand beach and the cool and calm waters of the Pacific. Also, the beach resort is located only a few steps away from the noted tourist destinations such as the Santa Monica Pier as well as dozens of restaurants and shops to choose from. It has a lot of amenities to make your stay more enjoyable – heated pool, fitness centers, indoor and outdoor pools, and bike rentals.

Another top hotel and resort in the city is the five-star Hotel Casa del Mar. Taking inspiration from the class and grandeur of classical Mediterranean villas fused with the seaside vibe that is the signature of Santa Monica, California, the resort offers a relaxing experience with two on-site restaurants for you to enjoy. Catch caters a quaint menu of fresh seafood favorites and a raw bar serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with live music courtesy of local artists every Sunday afternoon. The other restaurant is perfect for sampling exquisite food paired with evening music. The Terrazza improves your dining experience with 180-degree views of the Pacific.

For a more budget-friendly weekend, the Shore Hotel will definitely come up in the list of the hotels to definitely check and consider. While it definitely maintains the carefree beachy feel you will find anywhere in the city, it does so in a more environmentally conscious way. The quaint, boutique rooms it offers remain pleasant with the bright and well-ventilated rooms courtesy of the unhindered view of the Pacific straight to your room. Enjoy the simple and eco-friendly aesthetics without missing any of the present-day necessities such as a fast and reliable internet connection and HDTVs. Moreover, the Shore Hotel is also a few steps away from the Santa Monica Pier.



 Step 2: Get the ocean breeze on your face and the sand on your feet.

Of course, the beaches are an obvious part of the itinerary but no trip to Santa Monica is considered complete without a trip to the Santa Monica Pier. It is a large double-jointed pier sitting at the foot of Colorado Avenue and is over a hundred years old, with its breakwater constructed in 1934. The pier is home to the Pacific Park – an oceanfront family amusement park overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is LA’s only admission-free amusement park. While there are twelve rides to try and enjoy, the centerpiece is the world’s first and only solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific Wheel, which is visible from most parts of the city. Another treat is the West Coaster – a steel roller coaster that takes you on a high-speed trip around the vicinity of the park. It reaches a peak height of 55 feet and runs up to 35 miles per hour.

For good food, look no further than the on-site restaurants at the Pier. There is the iconic Bubba Gump Shrimp Company – the family-friendly chain of restaurants best-known for their seafood and mainly American dishes served in a fishing boat themed interior. Of course, dive right into Mama Gump’s Garlic Breadbasket or try this branch’s famous Traditional Shrimp Cocktail – a large serving of shrimp mixed with the restaurant chain’s signature cocktail sauce.

If you are looking for some good Mexican or large servings of margarita, Mariasol is the place to go. Grab your friends or family and enjoy a hearty conversation over a large mountain of authentic tortilla chips mixed with fried beans, pico de gallo, sliced jalapeño chili, all bathed in melted Monterey jack cheese. In a satisfying Mexican seaside treat, the shrimp taquitos offers crispy rolled tortillas with shrimp and chipotle filling.

For tourists, one of the best places to enjoy the sand and sea is at the Santa Monica State Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway. Enjoy a wide range of ocean-based activities such as surfing, paddleboarding, swimming or beach fare such as volleyball or simply lie down and get a good tan. Visitors need not worry about safety as the beach has designated bike paths and rental shacks, and the area has several lifeguard stations along the seaside stretch. For a slightly different experience, the Arlington West memorial is also situated within the state beach. It is noted as a temporary memorial created on the Santa Monica Beach every Sunday from dusk to dawn. Crosses are planted on the sand and are supposed to commemorate one United States military personnel who died in the Iraq War. Since this project, the Veterans for Peace have initiated the Arlington West Memorial, to better offer visitors a graceful and solemn place to reflect and commemorate these fallen heroes.

After the sun sets, head directly to Downtown Santa Monica. Unwind and explore the night away in this world-renowned shopping, entertainment, and dining complex a few steps from the Santa Monica Pier. Get the chance to support local farmers and get your hands on the freshest produce in the state with the Downtown’s Farmer’s Market, scheduled every Wednesday and Saturdays.

Also, while Santa Monica is a beach destination, the Downtown is working to bring a slice of the winter wonderland with its 8,000 square-foot ice skating rink. Known as the Ice at Santa Monica, the initiative has grown over the last years and is currently available to guests down at the corner of Fifth Street and Arizona Avenue.