A couple of weeks ago, I visited a friend of mine in L.A. and we decided to go Santa Monica for the day. I definitely recommend this as a day trip for anyone visiting the area or living within a few hours of here. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Los Angeles, depending on the traffic of course, and we all know just how crazy it can get. Expect to be stuck in traffic in Santa Monica as well, especially on the weekends. That being said, it’s one of those trips that you just have to take, to see all the interesting people, if nothing else.
PARKING: The best way to do it is to find a parking structure with day parking. We found a great location across from “Thai Dishes” on 123 Broadway Street. It only cost us $5 for the entire day! Remember what level you parked on though because the elevator did not match the parking level itself. One was numerical and the other alphabetical. I almost thought that it was meant to be a brain teaser or something. 🙂
FOOD: Since “Thai Dishes” was right across the street, we decided to try it out. Cute place with great food! We ordered the Pad Thai and the Green Curry. The Green Curry was a bit spicy, but they bring it to you in a cute pot with a little flame underneath. The Pad Thai was great too! TIP: To save on money here, get one meat dish and the other without, since they charge an extra $2 for meat or veggies. I had their version of a pina colada, but I’d probably try something else next time. Each of the meals are between $9-$12, pretty average for a restaurant nowadays. The portions are large. Our meal could have been easily shared between 3 or 4 people.
The other place we went to for dinner was a fun little crepe place, called the Crepe Maker, that was inside the Santa Monica Place Mall. What made it great was being able to watch the workers make the crepes. I ordered a small Philly Steak crepe, which filled me up, but I also have a small stomach too. My friend ordered the Eggs Benedict and loved it. Their most popular crepes seemed to be the strawberry and nutella crepes, which looked great as well. Don’t get the lemonade though, it’s a waste of money.
SHOPPING: The outdoor shopping area that runs along Third Street Promenade is a guy’s worst nightmare, but a shopping girl’s dream come true. Many of the stores are high end, but there are some in there for those budget shoppers like me. It’s a lot of fun to walk through and see the fun shops and street performers, many of which can actually sing, believe it or not! You could easily spend hours walking through this area, so I’d wear some comfortable shoes!
SANTA MONICA PIER: You really never know what to expect when walking along the pier. We saw a guy dressed up like Captain Jack Sparrow, another who was painting amazing beach scenes with only his finger and a show being filmed as well. Lots of cute, touristy and expensive shops with fast food galore. It’s like a carnival that doesn’t take a break and runs all year. The rides are about $5 each, so if you’d like to ride the famous ferris wheel, be prepared to spend the money. Below the pier are also some tourist shops that are less crowded too.
No visit to Santa Monica is complete without laying out on the beach. Keep in mind that those same characters from the pier also venture down to the beach. A guy wearing an American flag speedo and motorcycle helmet felt the need to walk by and say “Hey sexy ladies!” There was also a homeless-looking man riding a bicycle near the lower shops who looked at us with a little bit of a crazy face and made some noise that I think was his language for “Watch out!” Hehe. You will have stories from this trip for sure!