An overnight stay in Santa Monica allows you the time to enjoy the beach and also explore the surrounding areas, including nearby Los Angeles, Venice Beach, and Malibu. Or you can simply stay put and take in the city’s other attractions, like its art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Here are a few ways to spend two days in Santa Monica.
Day 1: Fun in the Sun
**Morning:**Start your day with a leisurely bike ride along the beach. Guided electric bike tours are available, along with traditional bike rentals. Or get your morning workout in at the original Muscle Beach. The outdoor gym, built in the 1930s, features equipment like parallel bars, rings, swings, and ropes for kids and adults.
**Afternoon:**Secure your spot in the sand, and spend the afternoon sunbathing, surfing, and swimming at Santa Monica’s iconic beach. Surf lessons are readily available, as are surfboard and paddleboard rentals. The expansive stretch of beach offers enough room for everyone. Plus, you can set up lunch at designated picnic areas.
**Night:**In the evening, head to the Santa Monica Pier to take in the action, including the fun and games at the Pacific Park® amusement park. This is where you’ll find the iconic Pacific Wheel; go for a ride on the famous Ferris wheel for stunning nighttime views of the coast and the city.
Day 2: Los Angeles Proper
**Morning:**Take advantage of being in Santa Monica to take a guided tour of the City of Angels. Designed for first-time visitors, tour itineraries usually include the city’s major highlights and attractions, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Rodeo Drive, and the Hollywood Sign. Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive into L.A. on your own.
**Afternoon:**Head back to Santa Monica, and rent a retro-looking, brightly colored electric vehicle to tool around the city. Alternatively, join a guided food crawl, and taste the many kinds of foods that are offered in downtown Santa Monica, including Australian meat pies, Japanese rice balls, and Jamaican jerk chicken.
**Night:**End the day with a happy-hour cocktail or two at the Third Street Promenade, an open-air, car-free pedestrian mall, located on Third Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Broadway. The area is well known for its nightlife and boasts movie theaters, clubs, bars, and eateries. Plus, it’s home to a rotating public art program called ROAM.