Santa Monica: home to celebrities galore and definitely one of the more aesthetically pleasing areas of Los Angeles. The city itself is sprawled out across a ginormous surface area, and if you ever find yourself paying a visit, it’s definitely a good idea to stay in this area of town. It’s beaut, there’s plenty to see and do, and it’s smack bang right by the beach. On top of all that, the air feels a little fresher than further into the city where the general vibe is a little more urban. Mainly, the Chanel-clad shoppers of the area made me reminisce about the days of Clueless, but what bloody great days they were, let’s be honest.
1. Visit Zoltar at the Santa Monica Pier
I honestly did not realise that Zoltar machines were real true inventions outside the world of Tom Hanks, until we stumbled across this on Santa Monica Pier. He had a real turban, a real crystal ball, and I really jumped up and down out of delight when I saw him. (Zoltar, not Tom Hanks. I’ve never met Tom Hanks) ZOLTAR, YOU GUYS!!
Santa Monica Pier itself is awesomely retro, with the rides all painted in bright colours as if they’re out of a Disney film, and the main smells available as you stroll about later in the day are hotdogs and candy floss. These smells are of particular relief as here’s a fact for you- the pier was originally built as a massive sewage pipe, with the disguise of a pretty promenade as more of an afterthought..I mean, what better place to dump the waste water of an entire city than in the ocean that borders it, am I right!? This was many many years ago of course, there’s no sewage bursting forth from the end of the pier these days- it’s safe and hygienic and lovely. (As far as I could tell)
2. People watch at Venice Beach
When we first made it as far as Venice, I had a strange sense of déjà vu, almost as if I already knew the place; it was unnerving. Then I realised that Venice Beach was once my favourite location on Tony Hawks Pro Skater for PlayStation (I used to play against my bro), and the world made sense to me once more.
There are skaters galore in the skate park, and the majority of them are pretty full on good- watching these guys alone is pretty mesmerising stuff. Muscle beach is also quite a laugh. I mean, don’t actually go and physically point and laugh at bodybuilders on the beach; let’s face it, that’s a sure recipe for disaster, but there is something mildly entertaining about this outdoor gym under the spindly palm trees.
The Ocean Front Walk is lined with strange but interesting collections of people either busking- singing, creating sculptures, dancing and all manner of other weird and wonderful activities- or basically just hanging around. I would describe it as a three mile long, colourful circus, with street art and medical marijuana dispensaries thrown in for good measure. Be careful if you take any pictures of anyone though, as chances are they’ll demand a wadge of dollar bills from you. My bf snapped a shot of a large guy in aviators and a fur coat roller blading along with a boom box on his shoulders- that guy was working it like a pro- there aren’t many people in the world other than Beyoncé who are capable of pulling off a look like that. Next thing you know the fur-clad rollerblade was blading in hot pursuit of the both of us, aggressively yelling for his money. That is just the way, you guys.
4. Hang with the sea-creatures at the aquarium
Im not going to lie- we went to check out the aquarium on the pier simply because it was cheap, and close by to where we were staying. I’m glad we went though, if anything just to learn something about the local area that wasn’t celebrity-orientated: instead this little marine centre aims to educate visitors about the marine life that can be found off the coast of Southern California and how us human being types can help to prevent the destruction of their aquatic homes.
Namely by not launching any more sewage at them from the Santa Monica Pier (amongst other places) 😃
5. Eat at Jinky’s. I really liked Jinky’s.
The people of LA are a health-conscious bunch, I’ll tell you that for free. The place is full of juice bars, salad bars and all manner of gluten-free, carb-free, sugar-free options. (Considering they’re all so free of things, they’re also obviously exceedingly expensive.) There are some generally pretty awesome juice places around, but right now I am here to preach the word of Jinky’s Cafe as I bloody loved that place. Beaut breakfasts, beaut chilli with extra beaut guacamole, and the nicest staff in LA with a chilled out non-pretentious sort of a vibe. Well done, Jinky’s. Good job.
6. Go Shopping at Third Street Promenade
The Third Street Promenade is one of the main shopping areas of Santa Monica- everything is glossy, slick and packed full of people but if shopping is right up your street then it’s got all you need. These days I can only bear an hour or two at the most before I’m in desperate need of some chill out time, so once the novelty of shops in LA had worn off, the things I appreciated the most were the hummingbirds in the trees and the man offering free hugs in the middle of all the hubbub. What a great guy.
7. Chill out on the beach
(Or do a more strenuous activity like volleyball or frisbee or running or something else along those lines. Whatever you fancy, know what I’m saying.) It’s a full on awesome feeling to just have a bit of chill out time though, and if you’re there for enough time it’s also beaut to see at different times of day- early in the morning when there’s no one around, the middle of the day when it’s packed with all manner of human beings, and into the nighttime when the lights of the pier start to twinkle on.
There are miles and miles of sand stretching out across the length of the city, into the distance at the foot of the Santa Monica Mountains (worth a trek up for a lovely view of the whole entire city), and one of the most awesome things of all for the residents of this area- in my opinion- is that they have all that on their doorstep to make the most of when city life gets a bit too much. Know what I’m saying!?