How to Spend 1 Day in Santa Monica: Itinerary

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From golden beaches to shopping heavens, Santa Monica has it all.

Hello fellow travel enthusiasts! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re planning a short and sweet stopover in Santa Monica. Having lived in California my whole life, I’ve seen it all, and today I’m excited to share the perfect day itinerary in Santa Monica with you. So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this sun-kissed Californian adventure!


Morning: A Beachfront Sunrise

5:30 AM: Santa Monica State Beach

santa monica state beach sunrise

Let’s start our day early. Grab a cozy blanket, a cup of coffee, and head over to Santa Monica State Beach. Few things are as magical as watching the sun rise over the vast Pacific, turning the sky into a mesmerizing blend of pinks, oranges, and purples.


7:00 AM: Breakfast at Huckleberry Café & Bakery

blueberry muffin and orange juice

After soaking in that sunrise, hunger is bound to strike. Head to Huckleberry Café & Bakery. A local favorite, Huckleberry offers everything from artisan breads to delicious breakfast bowls. Try their famous organic quinoa bowl, or go classic with a blueberry muffin.


Mid-Morning: Culture and Rides


9:00 AM: The Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park

santa monica pier

No visit to Santa Monica is complete without a trip to the iconic Pier. Take a leisurely walk, snap photos of the historic Route 66 sign, and maybe even spot some playful sea lions! Then, make your way to Pacific Park. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or just here for the views, the solar-powered Ferris wheel is a must.


Afternoon: Shop ‘Til You Drop!


12:30 PM: Lunch at Third Street Promenade

3rd street promenade entertainment

The heart of Santa Monica’s shopping scene, the Third Street Promenade, is more than just shops. It’s a lively hub filled with street performers, boutiques, and an array of eateries. Grab a bite at one of the local restaurants. I personally recommend the fresh seafood salads!

2:00 PM: Shopping and Street Performers

After lunch, lose yourself in the Promenade. From renowned brands to unique California-centric boutiques, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget to pause and enjoy the talented street performers!


Evening: Sunset and Gourmet Delights


6:00 PM: Sunset at Palisades Park

palisades park, santa monica

Take a calming walk to Palisades Park. The cliffside green space offers the best sunset views. Watch the sun dip below the horizon, casting a golden hue over the Santa Monica skyline.

7:30 PM: Dinner at Rustic Canyon

End your day with a gourmet experience at Rustic Canyon. The menu, inspired by farmers’ markets and local produce, is a celebration of California’s culinary delights. Try the seasonal tasting menu – it’s a game changer!


Nightcap: The Misfit Bar

After dinner, if you’re up for it, head over to The Misfit Bar. With its Prohibition-era vibes, it’s the perfect place to relax with a craft cocktail in hand.

There you have it! One perfect day in Santa Monica. Remember, every trip is what you make of it. So, lace up those walking shoes, carry that Californian spirit, and make the most of your day in this coastal paradise! Safe travels and catch you on the next Cali adventure!

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