Top Things To Do In Santa Monica In 36 Hours

My boyfriend and I spent a quick weekend down in Santa Monica. We had left San Francisco after work on that Friday and drove down during the evening so we could wake up next to the beach. We spent all day Saturday and part of Sunday in Santa Monica and Venice, heading back north around 2pm on Sunday. I’m a big fan of quick, power vacations to blow off steam and get some exploring in. Here are my tips and advice for things to do in Santa Monica, especially if you only have 36 hours to explore.


Walk The Boardwalk

The boardwalk stretches from Santa Monica down the Venice Beach. There are many shops to stop in at and it makes great people watching. We walked the Venice portion of the boardwalk and it was so relaxing!


Bike the Boardwalk

Want something more active? Bike the boardwalk! There are many bike rental shops to choose from. I would suggest getting a tandem bike – they looked really fun!


Visit Venice Beach

Like I mentioned above, Venice is connected to Santa Monica beach and is just a little down the road. It has a totally different vibe and is really fun to explore – plus, it has way better food options than Santa Monica in my opinion.


Have Beers On A Patio

San Francisco doesn’t have many outdoor drinking areas. The locals think it’s “too cold”. After living in Minneapolis which is littered with outdoor patios and rooftops, I grew to love a long, casual afternoon or evening with a good drink, good friends and a view. Santa Monica has tons of patios and rooftops to choose from. During the day, I suggest stopping at Dean’s Ocean Front Cafe on the beach. For the sunset, make your way to Suite 700, a rooftop bar with great views of the ocean and city below.


Go Surfing

The waves are REAL in SoCal. We spotted a few surf classes going on and I thought it would be fun to go surfing next time we’re down south. I’ve never been!


Visit the Nasty Gal Store

Hey, I’m a girl. I can’t help it. Nasty Gal opened up their only West Coast location last year and I’ve been dying to go visit. It’s on the main shopping stripe (the promenade) and can’t be missed if you like shopping.

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