Santa Monica is a happy unification of the natural and the urban: clean air, beautiful beaches, scenic mountains, plus a pedestrian-friendly downtown, hundreds of fine-dining options and several pleasant shopping streets. The best of the beach breezes, as evidenced by the many pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters and skateboarders. Not to mention the always fun segway tours in Los Angeles are offered around the area, these offer a great tour around the every-popular SaMo beach down to the Marina, great place to pick up some fish and chips. Nearby neighborhoods that line Pacific Coast Highway—Venice, Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey, Malibu and Topanga among them—have distinctive personalities.
Main Street is the site of the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau Information Center (1920 Main St., 310.393.7593) and is a quieter, lower-key destination than the lively Third Street Promenade.
Shops and cafes are open late at pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade (from Broadway to Wilshire Boulevard). The street entertainers are always captivating, as are the street vendors.
Marina Del Rey
Marina del Rey boasts the largest man-made, small-craft harbor in the world and activities such as bicycling and sailing; something I take place in quite often.