24 hours in Santa Monica

Los Angeles Area

In Santa Monica, residents enjoy swinging on the monkey bars at the beach as much as they enjoy exploring the city’s culinary scene, which is a playground itself. Even if it means braving Los Angeles traffic, that’s all the more reason to stay longer than just an afternoon. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica Ferris Wheel

Saturday, 1 PM, Brunch
Quell your hankering for a late breakfast at Milo and Olive, where the wood-fired oven produces everything from dutch pancakes in cast iron skillets to breakfast pizzas. If you’re more sweet than savory, you can’t miss the peanut butter banana french toast at M Street Kitchen.

3 PM, Outdoor Art
Appreciating art isn’t just an indoor activity. At Bergamot Station—a train station-turned-art complex—visitors hop between dozens of galleries while enjoying the sunshine between viewings.

5 PM, Shopping, Window and Otherwise
In a more subdued corner of the city , Montana Avenue offers ten upscale blocks of high-end boutiques. Storefronts range from the characterful home wares of Rosemarie McCaffrey Antiques to high design apparel at the women’s clothing store Tribute.

6 PM, Swanky Seaside Spirits
Watch the sunset and shake the sand from your toes at Coast Restaurant over an Acai Sangria or a chilled Chardonnay, or cozy up to the outdoor fire pits at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

7 PM, A Bite
Opened last year, the French-Vietnamese restaurant Cassia brings together Southeast Asian flavors with French flair and California sensibility, featuring charcuterie platters, a chilled seafood bar and inventive dishes like pot au feu with short ribs and bird’s eye chili sauce. If you prefer a light meal with a livelier scene, head to Bodega Wine Bar for nibbles and a glass of Tempranillo.

9 PM, One the Town
Going out in Santa Monica can be as subdued or wild as you like it. Swing by beer meccaFather’s Office for a cold brew, or pop into modern cocktail bar the Chestnut Club for drinks like a blackberry honey sour. If the night carries on, join the crowds at Basement Tavern, which features live music five nights a week including Saturday.

Sunday, 9 AM, Celeb Coffee
Starting the day with an organic coffee from Urth Caffé is certainly about the morning wake-up call. On top of that, celebrities like Jennifer Garner are known to drop in, which makes that vanilla latte even more exciting.

10 AM, Main Market
After coffee, head to Main Street for the weekly Sunday morning Farmer’s Market. Featuring fruit from local farmers and vendors selling breakfast burritos and buckwheat pancakes, breakfast on the go has never tasted fresher. Main Street also features an array of unique boutiques to round out your California shopping experience.

12 PM, Hit the Beach
Meander to the volley ball courts at Santa Monica State Beach to sub in on a game with locals. Otherwise, take to the waves for some stand-up paddle boarding, or stick to land and rent a cycle to peddle along the boardwalk.