Today’s topic: things to do, places to eat, cocktails to drink in the Santa Monica area.
Expanding upon my general Los Angeles guide, I’m breaking down my favorites by area. Los Angeles is HUGE & traffic is NAUSEATING, so sticking to one area per day when you’re visiting is absolutely key, in my opinion.
When I first moved to LA, I lived in the Santa Monica area, so I’m going to list some of my go-tos during that time. To all you SM-residents, let me know if I forgot anything important!
I’m partnering with Urban Outfitters for today’s post, sharing this throwback-style look. UO always kills it in terms of unique, vintage-looking, sporty style ( like everything in this Russell Athletic range ). I’m big on athletically-inspired outfits, so I wear A LOT of Urban Outfitters, clearly.
So, let’s get to it.
shop my Urban Outfitters look
is new, swanky, and has a view of the beach. It’s one of the few places in Santa Monica that has a rooftop-vibe. Definitely make a reservation & try it out if you’re looking for something new & trendy.
Misfit Bar + Grill
is my go-to first-date spot. The food is great, the drinks are always delicious, and the mood of the restaurant is low-lit. I love their french fries and their brussels sprouts.
UM. I live for Mercado. There are a few locations in Los Angeles, but the Santa Monica one is a solid jumping-off point for a night out. Definitely try their fish tacos ( the BEST ) & sip on a skinny marg while you’re at it.
Simple. Healthy. Quick. Urth is an easy place to stop for a healthy meal on-the-go. Urth also has a few locations around LA. It’s a bit of a classic spot.
I’m addicted. Flower Child one of my favorite spots to post-up in front of my computer for a few hours and work ( if you do this, go upstairs! There are usually less people up there ). They have the absolute BEST salad of all time: The Vegan Ingredient salad. Add Chicken or Salmon for protein, and you’re golden. ( Flower Child has locations outside of LA, and they’re all the same so GO & GET THAT SALAD ).
Lunetta All Day
So, I haven’t actually been to Lunetta All Day yet, but I’ve heard LOTS of good things. It’s one of the newer places on this list, and I’m pretty sure it’s still a trendy spot ( lolz ).
AKA: superfood haven. If you’re looking for wellness shots, vegan options, & health-conscious-and-filling choices, The Hive is your spot. I included a recent trip to The Hive in this vlog, if you want to see this place in action. I recommend the turkey wrap or the chicken pesto sandwich.
is an LA staple. You’ll find Lemonades all across the LA area ( I also included it in my Venice Guide ), and it’s a great place to stop in for a quick lunch or when you’re with family. It’s always filling, there are healthy options, and there’s something for everyone. I like their broccoli and salmon-avocado salad.
HAS BOWLS MADE OF CHEESE THAT THEY MIX YOUR PASTA IN + GLUTEN FREE OPTIONS. That is all.
is the place to go after a night out at the bars. Swingers is a diner thats open late LATE, and you can order just about anything. I’ve spent many-a-night after 2AM at Swingers.
bars + nightlife
Obviously. Everyone loves to hate Bungalow. I also hate to love it. If you’re going with a big group or if you’re including dudes, I always say spring for a table to make getting in & staying sane in there a little easier. It’s a Santa Monica classic for day drinking. I always have fun at Bungalow, BUT be prepared for a bunch of 30-year-old frat boys.
Bars on Main St.
Walking up and down the Main Street area is fun for bar hopping & such. There are a bunch of sports bars & restaurant bars down this street.
This is a good date spot if you’re just grabbing drinks. It’s quiet, cute, and less ratchet than most other places.
Bodega Wine Bar
Another great date spot or jumping-off point for a night out. I used to meet up with my girlfriends here all the time before going out on the West Side.
is a day party spot that I would recommend getting a table at if you’re going to go. 31Ten gets a little wild during the day ( & at night ). I’ve been going to this place since I was 21 ( when I lived here for a bit in college ).
is probably my favorite spot for going out on weekend nights in SM. They have a weird weekend schedule, so definitely check what nights they’re open before-hand. It’s a good vibe and not TOO packed, usually. The bartenders always slip me a few free drinks… which may be the reason why its my favorite.
DISCLAIMER: kinda ratchet. The Victorian is truly set up like a frat house, which is sometimes the exact vibe I’m looking for while I’m drinking. It’s definitely for a specific mood. The Victorian is on Main St, so it could be included in your Main St. bar-hopping adventure.
This is a good boozy-brunch spot on a rooftop in Santa Monica. I hear their weekend brunches are INSANE ( music, flowing drinks, fun people ), though I’ve only been on week days.
Shore Bar is a bit of a trek ( it’s in North Santa Monica, closer to Malibu ), but it’s a cool beach-vibe bar. It draws a younger crowd, but I still love it.
beauty + fitness
Olive + June
has the aesthetic of your dreams. Olive + June is the cutest nail salon ever. They don’t do things like acrylics & such, just straight-forward manis + pedis, so if that’s what you’re looking for, definitely try this place out!
This needs no explanation. I trust DryBar, so that’s where I go wherever I am.
I’ve gotten my makeup done at Blue Mercury before and it was honestly the BEST experience. I was so impressed with the makeup look my girl gave me, which is saying a lot, because I’m very hard to please.
Okay, duh. You can see a full list of classes I like + why I think Equinox is worth it here. You can get day passes or week-long trials to Equinox ( if you’ve never tried it before ), so pop in if you want to give it a try!
if you’re looking for a barre class. Pure Barre is a chain that you probably have wherever it is that you live, so I find most people trust Pure Barre!
Box n’ Burn
If you want a boxing class! Its a solid cardio + toning class that’ll have you sweating up a STORM. I’ve been a fan of boxing for years, because you can go as hard ( or not ) as you want.
things to do/areas to hang out
for walking around, shopping, & eating during the day. Montana is usually pretty chill, packed with the cutest boutiques, & has tons of little cafes to stop in for coffee/tea.
The Santa Monica Pier
honestly scares me, but its a thing for tourists in the Santa Monica area. There’s a whole theme-park situation going on at the end of the pier that I’ve gotten a few good photos for Instagram at, LOL. It’s something to see.
Bike on the Beach
You can rent bikes in Santa Monica and ride along the beach for a wholesome daytime activity. I’ve biked the short distance to Venice with friends a few times, and it’s an easy ride. It’ll take you to the Venice boardwalk where you can grab a drink or food, too.
3rd Street Promenade
is another touristy area. To be honest, most of Santa Monica is a tourist trap. So, you might as well bask in it. The Promenade is loaded with stores & restaurants. If you’re looking to shop at places like Urban Outfitters, this area is definitely for you!
That’s it for my Santa Monica guide, friends!
I’ll make sure to update the guide as I’m reminded of hotspots or when new restaurants/bars pop up. Like I said, Santa Monica is VERY touristy, so beware. I’d recommend going on a week day, if you can make that work.
So, SM people, did I miss something you just LOVE? Please share!
Talk soon, xx