Beach in Santa Monica, California (PhotoDisc)

Santa Monica Pier, California (Los Angeles CVB)

Palisades, Santa Monica, California (LA INC. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau/Robert Landau)

Sunset at Santa Monica Pier, California (iStockphoto)

Santa Monica Pier at dusk, California (iStockphoto/Thinkstock)

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What to do in Santa Monica

The allure of Santa Monica goes back to the 1920s, when Hollywood stars like Greta Garbo and Clark Gable partied at the Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach. Today, most visitors come to Santa Monica to ride the roller coaster and Ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier, but they stay for the eating and shopping. With more than 400 restaurants and 500 shops stuffed into the city’s eight square miles, pedestrian-friendly Santa Monica is the one city in greater Los Angeles where people actually walk. The outdoor walking mall of the Third Street Promenade features high-end boutiques and a rooftop food court with ocean views. And free activities like sunbathing or biking along the Pacific Ocean beaches are just steps away from a wide range of hotels. As for the Annenberg Beach House? It’s reopened as a public swim club.

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