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How to Spend 1 Day in Santa Monica

How to Spend 1 Day in Santa Monica

Located west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica is a quintessential California beach town and offers plenty of activities. You can sunbathe on the sand and also enjoy Santa Monica Pier, home to the Pacific Park® amusement park, Looff Hippodrome carousel, and an aquarium. Plus, check out Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym built in the 1930s.

Morning: Go for a Bike Ride

Before the afternoon sun heats up, go for a bike ride around Santa Monica. Rent a classic beach cruiser, or join a guided electric bike tour, which will allow you to cover more ground with less effort. Pedal along the city’s iconic beach, making sure to stop at the Santa Monica Pier, or jump on a Segway and zip around the area. Guided tours typically combine sights in Santa Monica with stops in nearby Venice Beach. Ambitious bikers can also ride down the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which locals call the Strand. It’s a 22-mile-long (35-kilometer-long) paved trail that starts in Santa Monica and ends at Torrance Beach.

Afternoon: Hit the Beach

Visitors from near and far flock to Santa Monica for its expansive, well-maintained beach. In addition to sunbathing, you can catch some waves or hop on a paddleboard; beach-side vendors offer rentals and surfing lessons for beginners. There is also a beach butler service that will bring you lounge chairs, a small table, an umbrella, a cooler, and a wind guard for a fee. Or you can hit up the Annenberg Community Beach House, which is a public facility that doesn’t require membership and features a children's play area and a pool. You can also grab lunch at one of the many beachside cafes.

Night: Get a Bird’s-Eye View

The Santa Monica Pier and its Pacific Park amusement park are a good time anytime, but at night the pier comes alive with fun, family-friendly entertainment. Make sure to catch the panoramic views of the coastline from the top of the Pacific Wheel, the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel. There are also carnival-style rides and games; food vendors serving up popcorn, cotton candy, pretzels, churros, and more; and souvenir shops. The pier is also home to the Playland Arcade, a classic arcade with popular games like Skee-Ball. Be sure to get your fortune told by the famous Zoltar machine before you leave.

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12 Tours and Activities | All Santa Monica Tours

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Perfect 5 ½ Hour LA & Hollywood Tour from Santa Monica

Perfect 5 ½ Hour LA & Hollywood Tour from Santa Monica

star-4.5
Visit many of Los Angeles’s highlights and landmarks on one fun and convenient outing. Learn about LA history and culture—its historic filming locations and crime scenes, celebrity homes and trendy restaurants—from a narrator as you traverse the city in a convertible bus. Stop at the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, a farmer's market for lunch, and the Hollywood Sign on this easy and affordable tour.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$89.25
From
$89.25
Taking safety measures

Small Group Electric Bicycle Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Small Group Electric Bicycle Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach

star-5
Take a pedal-powered tour through the beaches and streets of the famous Santa Monica and Venice Beach areas of Los Angeles during this electric bike tour. Skip the tour bus as you enjoy fresh ocean breezes and laid back riding with a guide aboard an electric bicycle. Cruise the famous canals of Venice and cycle the trails along Santa Monica Beach, choosing if you want to use your own leg power or get a boost from your electric-powered cycle. This L.A. electric bike trip also includes a helmet rental and bottled water.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$79.00
From
$79.00
Taking safety measures

Santa Monica and Venice Beach Segway Tour

Santa Monica and Venice Beach Segway Tour

star-4.5
Explore the beautiful outdoor environment of Santa Monica and Venice Beach during this Segway tour in Los Angeles. Cover lots of ground (much more than you could see on a walking tour) as you zip along to the many attractions of these two coastal areas, including Santa Monica Pier, the Venice Boardwalk, and Muscle Beach. Along the way, hear insightful commentary from your guide about the area’s history and culture. Your Segway excursion also includes a brief orientation, safety equipment, and snacks and beverages.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$159.00
From
$159.00
Taking safety measures

Self-Guided Santa Monica Tour in a California Roadster Rental

Self-Guided Santa Monica Tour in a California Roadster Rental

Cruise the sun-drenched streets of seaside Santa Monica in style with this 3-hour rental of a one-of-a-kind, electric-powered California roadster. Pick three cruising companions as you drive along oceanfront streets and the iconic pier of this famous coastal community, drawing envious glances from other drivers and pedestrians as you zoom past. You'll even be helping the environment while you do it. It’s the perfect way to independently explore the city in style.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$158.67
per group
From
$158.67
per group

Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Adventure Tour

Santa Monica and Venice Beach Bike Adventure Tour

star-5
Santa Monica is one of the best neighborhoods to explore by bike with its colorful characters, sights and sounds. Since it's also an artistic and creative area of LA, this tour seizes the opportunity to introduce you to legal graffiti street galleries and the best of the local sculpture and architecture. Clocking in at nearly three hours long, this two-wheeled adventure will leave your legs a bit more toned and your stomach ready for lunch.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$73.60
From
$73.60

Taste of Santa Monica Walking Food Tour

Taste of Santa Monica Walking Food Tour

star-4.5
The 2-3-hour Santa Monica Walking Food Tour allows you to not only absorb the sights and sounds of the famous Downtown Santa Monica, but also the delicious flavors from West LA's beloved eateries. Perfect for families with a taste for the decadent, the tour is led by a knowledgeable local guide who points out the fun street scenes and amazing ocean views. Even better, you leave with a sated appetite
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$84.27
From
$84.27

Private Electric Bike Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beaches

SPECIAL OFFER

Private Electric Bike Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beaches

star-5
Explore Santa Monica on a private tour by electric bike and see the highlights of the vibrant coastal city. Follow your guide along Santa Monica’s palm-lined streets. Stroll the boardwalk at the Santa Monica Pier, dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean and experience the laid-back culture and classic scenery of this iconic beach town. Cruise to vibrant Venice to see the skate park, street art and the bustle of the crowd on the oceanfront walk and onward to the "gem of the tour" or the Venice canals. Then a final stop at Muscle Beach before zipping back to the shop.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$88.11
$99.00
$10.89 savings
From
$88.11
$99.00
$10.89 savings
Taking safety measures

Half Day Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach

Half Day Tour of Santa Monica and Venice Beach

star-2
Soak up the sand, surf and sun of the waterfront cities of Venice, Santa Monica and Marina del Rey during this 3-hour sightseeing trip aboard an electric-powered Cadillac Escalade limo. Feel like a Hollywood player as you cruise the streets of these beachfront meccas aboard your open-air ride, enjoying live commentary from a guide during the trip. Along the way you’ll also have 90 minutes to enjoy these areas’ excellent shopping and dining options on foot.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$53.27
From
$53.27

Santa Monica or Venice Beach Surf Lesson

Santa Monica or Venice Beach Surf Lesson

Learn the basic skills to start surfing with a lesson in Santa Monica or Venice Beach. Join a local surfer to discover how to paddle and how to stand up on a surfboard. Get tips including how to pick the best waves and how to read the weather. Give your new skills a try in the water during this morning lesson.
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  • 2 hours
From
$139.00
From
$139.00

Santa Monica Sweet Spots Dessert Bike Tour

Santa Monica Sweet Spots Dessert Bike Tour

star-4
For some, riding a bike through Los Angeles is the antithesis of the Southern California lifestyle. However few neighborhoods in LA lend themselves to biking as much as Santa Monica. The 2-3 hours, family-friendly Santa Monica Dessert Bike Tour rewards your efforts not only with amazing views of the Pacific and toned legs, but also with some of the city's tastiest hand-crafted desserts. So absorb the colorful landscape of The City of Angels like a local — on two wheels — but be sure to bring your sweet tooth.
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  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$94.94
From
$94.94

Self-Guided Santa Monica Tour in a Moke Electric Car Rental

Self-Guided Santa Monica Tour in a Moke Electric Car Rental

Cruise the sun-drenched streets of seaside Santa Monica in style with this 3-hour rental of a one-of-a-kind, electric-powered Moke vehicle. Pick a cruising companion as you drive along oceanfront streets and the iconic pier of this famous coastal community, turning the heads of drivers and pedestrians they check out your vintage ride. It’s the perfect way to independently explore the city in style.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$212.00
per group
From
$212.00
per group

Santa Monica Place Shop and Explore

Santa Monica Place Shop and Explore

star-4
Discover Santa Monica’s world-class shopping, California-fresh cuisine and iconic pier with a package that offers access to some of the city’s most beloved attractions. Ride a cruiser bike along broad, palm-lined avenues, experience unlimited rides at the Santa Monica Pier, and enjoy the luxury of valet parking and concierge service. Spend the day shopping the city’s glamorous boutiques, pause for a complementary treat at Ugo Café, and remember your day on the coast with a a keepsake tote bag.
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  • 3 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.00
From
$65.00