Santa Monica is a beachfront city located on Santa Monica Bay, and surrounded by nearby communities such as Pacific Palisades, Mar Vista, Venice, Sawtelle, and Brentwood. Known as one of Southern California’s most desirable beach cities and resort towns, the city has much to offer: warm year-round weather, scenic coastlines, a relaxing beach town atmosphere, and a wide array of shopping, dining, entertainment, and recreational destinations.
The city’s early beginnings can be traced back to the 1870s, when the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad made the area accessible from the city of Los Angeles. Officials used a brick building to serve as the very first town hall, which exists today as part of the Santa Monica Hostel – the city’s oldest structure. By the early 20th century, Santa Monica’s identity as a beach city started to take shape when amusement piers increased in popularity and the Pacific Electric Railroad brought an influx of visitors from the Greater Los Angeles Area.
Located west of downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica is recognized as one of the top locations in California due to its excellent weather, vibrant nightlife, and stunning outdoor destinations. Here, residents enjoy easy access to almost everything, from the Metro Rail, shopping and dining venues, to some of the most iconic beaches in California. Depending on what you enjoy, you can choose from a great selection of vibrant neighborhoods that cater to any type of lifestyle.
The vibrant city of Santa Monica offers something for everyone. Fresh ocean breezes and warm sunny days perfectly complement the area’s many great attractions. This includes everything from fine dining restaurants, upscale boutiques, exciting nightclubs, and iconic destinations like the world-famous Santa Monica Pier. With its beautiful weather, laid-back atmosphere, exciting destinations, and close proximity to Los Angeles, Santa Monica definitely has a lot going for it. The city has that classic Southern California vibe, which makes it perfect for anyone looking for a relaxing lifestyle in an area surrounded by gorgeous scenery.
Santa Monica Market Report
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Recreation, nightlife, shopping and dining in Santa Monica
- The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most iconic landmarks in California. There are many interesting places to visit here – you can check out the open-air restaurants, visit the amusement park or aquarium, ride the solar-paneled Ferris wheel, or enjoy a live music performance.
- Santa Monica is known for having a sizzling nightlife scene, with its wide selection of upscale lounges, dive bars, and live music venues. Ocean Avenue offers an array of restaurants with world-class cuisine including The Lobster, Water Grill and Cora’s Cafe, while 3rd Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Place offer casual dining options.
- Nearly every neighborhood in Santa Monica is a shopping destination. Whether you’re looking for specialty stores, art galleries, or the latest fashion designs, you’ll find everything you need just by walking around town. If you’re looking for the best place for shopping, you can’t go wrong with these shopping destinations: Montana Avenue, Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Place and Main Street.
Santa Monica Neighborhoods
And because the city is extremely walkable, anywhere you choose to live in offers easy access to many of the city’s top attractions. Neighborhoods in Santa Monica include:
- Downtown Santa Monica/Third Street Promenade
- Main Street
- Montana Avenue
- Ocean Park Boulevard
- Pico Boulevard
- Santa Monica Pier Area/Ocean Avenue
- Wilshire Boulevard
North of Wilshire
Santa Monica’s North of Wilshire neighborhood is primarily residential, with a mix of mid-sized single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums.
Architectural styles in the neighborhood are very diverse – you’ll find traditional and contemporary single-family homes, Craftsman-era bungalows, and unique, well-preserved Victorian duplexes.
The North of Wilshire area is also home to Franklin Hill, an affluent sub-area featuring many luxurious homes that offer breathtaking city and ocean views. This area was once known as “Pill Hill,” as there were many doctors living here at one point.
Located in the northwest area of Santa Monica, the neighborhood of Montana Avenue offers a laid-back atmosphere along with easy access to high-end shopping venues and fun attractions. It’s located a short drive away from the Santa Monica Pier, Ocean Avenue and Third Street Promenade, a sprawling ten-block shopping venue with over 150 shops.
The neighborhood is also great for anyone who enjoys good food – there’s a diverse variety of must-try restaurants that serve some of the best-tasting cuisine in the city. Notable bars and restaurants worth checking out include Kye’s, R+D Kitchen, and Father’s Office.
Ocean Park is a predominantly residential neighborhood located in the southwest corner of Santa Monica. It is often compared to nearby Venice Beach because of its laid-back, easygoing beach environment, although many say that the neighborhood is cleaner and more upscale.
Ocean Park boasts a great selection of real estate options, including apartment complexes, expansive homes located steps away from the beach, and luxurious oceanfront condo towers.
You can find many 1 to 3-bedroom condos and apartments along the tree-lined streets of Ocean Avenue. In addition to the picturesque views of the ocean, most properties here are within walking distance to the Santa Monica Pier and many popular open-air bars and restaurants.
Main Street boasts picture-perfect views of the Pacific Ocean, which many residents and visitors like to soak in while visiting the neighborhood’s extensive selection of cafés, restaurants, boutiques, and retailers.
Many families enjoy visiting Heritage Square’s farmer’s market during Sundays, where you can shop for locally grown produce, homemade goods, and enjoy live music performances. There’s also the nearby Ocean Park Beach, an expansive five-acre park ideal for outdoor activities or simply relaxing while enjoying the breathtaking views.
Santa Monica Luxury Homes and Real Estate
There’s a brilliant selection of well-built properties with first-class features available for anyone thinking about relocating to Santa Monica. There’s a superb mix of single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums, and apartments available in Santa Monica.
Many of the single-family homes can be found in quiet neighborhoods with charming tree-lined streets and great views. The homes feature a variety of elegant architectural styles such as cottage, Tudor, Mediterranean, contemporary, ranch, and more.
Buyers looking for a condo or apartment can choose from a wide range of properties, from well-maintained 1-bedroom units to more spacious 3-bedroom units with first-class amenities. Many of the properties are located within walking distance to shops and restaurants.
Living in Santa Monica is definitely a treat, with its gorgeous sunny climate, sweeping ocean views, and plethora of exciting attractions and destinations.