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Perched above Santa Monica Bay, youthful Santa Monica is renowned for its Mediterranean climate, salt air, sandy beaches, and fabulous sunsets. The golden sands made famous by Baywatch are as stunning and as sensual as the TV series suggests; bikini babes still whiz by on roller skates while bodybuilders still flex on Muscle Beach. But forget the sleepy and sleazy "Bay City" of Raymond Chandler fame. Santa Monica has also matured into the hippest and smartest beachside town on Los Angeles' doorstep. Shopaholics and gourmands consider Santa Monica a Nirvana; a meal at Arnold Schwarzenegger's Schatzi or Wolfgang Puck's Chinois are de rigueur, ...

Perched above Santa Monica Bay, youthful Santa Monica is renowned for its Mediterranean climate, salt air, sandy beaches, and fabulous sunsets. The golden sands made famous by Baywatch are as stunning and as sensual as the TV series suggests; bikini babes still whiz by on roller skates while bodybuilders still flex on Muscle Beach. But forget the sleepy and sleazy "Bay City" of Raymond Chandler fame. Santa Monica has also matured into the hippest and smartest beachside town on Los Angeles' doorstep. Shopaholics and gourmands consider Santa Monica a Nirvana; a meal at Arnold Schwarzenegger's Schatzi or Wolfgang Puck's Chinois are de rigueur, while the outdoor shopping venues rival those of Beverly Hills. You can also browse the world-famous farmer's market, where celebrities can often be seen picking out organic produce. Year-round visitors flock to Santa Monica Pier, famous for its Looff Hippodrome carousel and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Walker and bicyclist friendly, the town is dotted with parks and has a lively art scene and nightlife. The Pacific Coast Highway will whisk you north along one of California's most dramatic stretches of shore.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. The city is named after the Christian saint, Monica.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, and early autumn are best; fogs can roll in in late summer, and winters can be cold.