Trendy Santa Monica is Cool CA Vacation

The beautiful coastal city of Santa Monica is where L.A. TV and movie people come to play.

There are 400 restaurants around here, a lot of them considered “trendy” or “hip.”. Throw in a few art galleries, some luxury hotels and – oh yes – celebrities, and you have the makings of an eye-popping diversion from your everyday hometown.

Our recent visit to santa monica seo reminded us of why we moved to California. The weather was one of those clear-as-a-bell L.A. days that do come around more often than you might think, the haze having been efficiently removed by some winds and moisture the day before we arrived. It was reminiscent of a trip years ago we took from the soggy Pacific Northwest to Los Angeles that introduced us to what bright sunshine was all about. We couldn’t wait to return and eventually relocated to Southern California to get our regular dose of California sun.

Such weather shows off Santa Monica as it was meant to be. The views from Palisades Park are breathtaking and take in not only the expansive beaches but such distant features as Malibu on the north and even Catalina Island to the southwest. It’s no wonder that half of L.A. seems to be down here jogging or walking. Wide, tree-lined and well-landscaped Ocean Avenue stretches along the coastline offering about as pretty a downtown street as you’ll see considering this is all modern office buildings and not historic mansions.

The Santa Monica Pier is the dominant feature on the water’s edge – and also over the water — and is a favorite for families. We lingered with our five-year-old in Kids Cove, the part of the pier’s Pacific Park that has kiddie amusement rides and, when all was said and done, our daughter declared her time on the pier “the best day ever!”

But the Santa Monica Pier can also be very adult. During our visit a local anti-war organization had put up more than 2,000 white crosses on the beach to help people visualize the number of casualties from the war in Iraq. While most crosses didn’t have names, many of them did and it was obvious that grieving families had brought flowers and photos to create makeshift memorials on the beach.

Just up from the pier are blocks and blocks of shopping in the popular Downtown Third Street Promenade, an area where city fathers have taken a street and turned it into a pedestrian mall. There are fascinating shops and an unusual number of movie theaters along this walkway that seems to attract people from all walks of life – young and old, wealthy on down to the homeless. On weekends there is always an assortment of street musicians and entertainers willing to do just about anything to get a tip and a warm round of applause.

Many of the city’s restaurants are located in Third Street downtown area, although many others are spread about in various parts of the city. Our dinner choice, Thai Dishes, actually is about 20 blocks off the beach in the mid-city area and turned out to be a surprisingly affordable spot to enjoy a wide selection of expertly prepared Thai entrees. It’s not formal, but it’s good.