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Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica is a perfect place to stay if you're looking forward to spending some time on the beach, enjoying outdoor shopping, walking in the evenings, and wonderful dinners. 

Santa Monica Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is open 365 days a year and features rides, carnival food, sit-down dining and evening entertainment.  Short term parking is available at the Pier.  Drive-in movies are shown on Tuesday evenings during August and September.  The 46 horse carousel was built in 1922.

Santa Monica/Third Street Promenade
The Third Street Promenade is a shopping and dining district closed to cars - making a great environment for strolling with the family, doing some serious shopping in the sunshine, or, in the evenings, watching street entertainers.  Farmers market on Wednesdays.

Favorite Hotels

Shutters on the Beach, my top choice in Santa Monica, is beautiful both in location and in the warm, comfortable environment it provides for it's guests.  A favorite getaway for Hollywood stars, you never know who you'll see on the beach or in the lobby.  Most rooms have ocean views.

The Viceroy Hotel is Santa Monica's newest and coolest hotel.  Situated across from the beach and close to the Santa Monica Pier, it's in a great location to enjoy a the best of Santa Monica.  Rooms are comfortable and chic with beds dressed in the best - Frette linens and down comforters and all rooms offer high-speed Internet access.  Have dinner at the Hotel's acclaimed Whist restaurant and stumble up to your room happy, full, and relaxed.

Lowes Santa Monica Hotel, situated right on across the street from the beach in Santa Monica and close to the convention center, pier, and Third Street Promenade, is a great location and a beautiful hotel.  Rooms are contemporary, but restful and include high speed internet - making this a great place to relax and a good place to get work done.

The Bayside Hotel offers modest rooms just across from the beach and only a few blocks from the third street promenade and Santa Monica Pier.  Some rooms have kitchens, making this a great hotel for a family traveling on a budget.  In the heat of summer, request one of the seven rooms with air conditioning. 

Favorite Restaurants

1104 Wilshire Blvd 310-395-0881
Mixing French and traditional American cuisine in deliciously executed multicourse meals, Melisse offers a wonderful fine dining experience.  Vegetable dishes particularly shine.

1819 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica 310/451-8711
Inside the hip, new Viceroy hotel, Whist offers another French influenced dining experience in Santa Monica.  At Whist the environment is more hip than the traditionally elegant Melisse, making it a favorite with movie industry players and local hipsters.  Dishes often have an Asian influence.  For a memorable dining experience, reserve a poolside cabana.

Ivy at the Shore
1541 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica 310/393-3113
Offering traditional American dishes in a easy to find location across from the beach, the food here is the perfect fit after a warm, comfortable day on the beach.  Star sightings are nearly guaranteed, so get a seat where you can see the room and keep your eyes open.

Headed to the beach?  See our Orange County guide and our guide to Southern California amusement parks.

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