You and your friends have planned a trip to Santa Monica, a city about 40 minutes outside of downtown Los Angeles. If you are not looking to stay in the jam-packed destination but still want to experience California to its full potential, Santa Monica is what you are looking for.
Not only is there so much to do in the beachfront city itself, it is conveniently placed near locations, including: Beverly Hills, Malibu, the Pacific Coast Highway…and more. If you travel there but are not sure what activities to do, here is your guide for your mini girls trip to Santa Monica.
Day 1: Arrival Day:
LAX is the closest international airport to fly into if you are trying to reach Santa Monica. It is approximately 25 minutes from the coastal city. If you fly in early in the day, use this guide to help make planning the rest of your arrival day easier. If you fly in later, be sure to relax and adapt to the time zone (if you’re arriving from the East Coast.)
Once you unpack and are well-rested for the day, head into town and grab a bite to eat on Main Street. Some great options are: Urth Caffe, Dan Modern Chinese, Sunny Blue, and JINYA Ramen Bar. Since it is only you and your friends’ first day, take a walk around the streets and explore.
Day 2: Day in Santa Monica:
Once woken up and ready for the day, your first stop should be the Third Street Promenade. Stop by Cult, which is at the promenade, for a good breakfast and coffee. After, shop your heart out. After all, you are in California!
The next must-see location is the Santa Monica Pier. This famous site boasts numerous activities and events, such as magic shows or music artist performances.
Next, spend time on the Santa Monica State Beach. It is a stunning shore right next to the Santa Monica Pier with excellent views of the surrounding mountains and blue skies.
For more gorgeous vistas and the perfect spot for an impromptu photoshoot, go to the bluffs trail during sunset. It is close to the Santa Monica State Beach/Santa Monica Pier and is a bucket list item if you want gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.
The nightlife in Santa Monica is vibrant, and you will be sure to locate a bar or nightclub that satisfies your Californian bar crawl expectations.
Day 3: Sightseeing in Hollywood
One of the best things about Santa Monica is how close it is to prime locations, including: Los Angeles, Venice, Beverly Hills, and more. On your third day, take a trip to Hollywood: another tourist hotspot especially if it’s your first time in Los Angeles.
Head to the Griffith Observatory for views that will blow your mind. It features a 180-degree panorama of all of L.A. as well as neighboring cities. You are even able to clearly see the Hollywood Sign! If you are feeling more adventurous, put on your hiking gear for the many trails that Griffith Park has to offer.
Next, take a walk down the famous Sunset Strip to see what all of the hype surrounding the street entails.
Head into downtown Hollywood to discover your favorite star on the Walk of Fame, see the TCL Chinese Theatre and explore Dolby Theatre which has a number of shops inside, as well as a view of the Hollywood Sign from a different angle.
Once the sun sets again, remain in Hollywood to explore Hollywood Boulevard at night for its extravagant nightlife that showcases Los Angeles’ excellent entertaining and diverse reputation.
Day 4: Trip up the Pacific Coast Highway
Santa Monica is right near the PCH, making it one short trip away from the famous city of Malibu.
You can easily spend a day there without running out of activities to do. Your first stop should be the Getty Villa Museum. It is an educational center that showcases the history of ancient Greece and Rome. If history is not quite up your alley, you still need to make a trip to the Villa for its beautiful architecture.
Your next stop should be the Malibu pier since it encompasses amazing views of the Pacific Ocean, in addition to shopping for souvenirs.
Afterwards, keep driving up the PCH for approximately five minutes, to the Malibu Country Mart. It is full of many eclectic boutiques and places to eat while featuring picturesque mountains that makes it an ideal place for photoshoots. If you are not finding any stores that fit your style at this Country Market, head to Trancas Country Market a little further up the street.
There are also numerous beaches in Malibu for you to catch some rays and dip your feet in the water.
Day 5: Shopping Day in Beverly Hills
Your mini trip is coming to an unfortunate end soon, and what is the best way to help you feel better? Retail therapy. Santa Monica is near Beverly Hills which is known for high-end shops on the famous Rodeo Drive: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Prada, and so much more. Why not splurge on an expensive gift to remind yourself in the future of this trip!
If you have time after shopping all day and are already packed, drive around to see the beautiful real estate in Beverly Hills (and find celebrity homes!)
Make sure to snap a picture by the famous Beverly Hills sign before heading back to Santa Monica for the night.
Once you return to Santa Monica, you and your friends should determine whether you wish to head to sleep to prepare for a long day of travel the next day, or stay up late and head into town for one last hurrah. Whatever option you choose, you can head to bed knowing that you made the most of your trip to Santa Monica.
Kennedy stayed in Santa Monica for five days.