Santa Monica is a fashionable community on the Pacific that combines the charm and relaxed style of an upscale beach town with the sophistication of a bustling city. Its history and architecture reflect the best of old and new Los Angeles. The famous Route 66 ends at The Santa Monica Pier, which also features a lively carnival and carousel loved for generations. Beautiful deco buildings line the boardwalk, and the mansion built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst for film star Marion Davies lies close to the Santa Monica Place mall, designed by Frank Gehry. The open-air Third Street Promenade has become a destination for people all over Los Angeles to stroll, shop, listen to music and take in the fresh ocean breezes. Bike trails and beaches are maintained immaculately, giving cyclists, runners, roller bladers and walkers long stretches of beachfront to enjoy during the 340 days of sunshine a year. The Mediterranean climate and evocative landscapes make Santa Monica a favorite backdrop for film, television, and artists. Located centrally between the northern and southern beach communities, the city enjoys easy access to Westwood, Beverly Hills, Melrose, LAX and freeways to Downtown. Some of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private schools are located here, along with high-ranked public schools. Santa Monica Community College is one of the biggest employers in town and draws a diverse student population. Hiking and outdoor activities are minutes away in the local canyons, Malibu, and beyond. The music and art scene is renowned, with large and small venues, impressive public art and private galleries, and the Venice creative hub to the immediate south.
Santa Monica History
Santa Monica is a beachside city of 8.3 square miles on the westside of Los Angeles County. Offering an environment of unparalleled natural beauty, the city is home to a mix of residential communities, commercial districts, and recreational venues. Recently named by National Geographic as one of the Top “10 Beach Cities in the World” and by TIME as one of the “Best Places to Live”, Santa Monica features three miles of Pacific beaches and the Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica’s residential population is approximately 93,000, increasing to an estimated 250,000 during the day with tourists, shoppers, and employees. Tourism attracts over 8 million visitors annually.
The City of Santa Monica was incorporated on November 30, 1886 and subsequently adopted a City Charter in 1945. In 1947, a City Council-City Manager form of government was established. The City Council consists of seven members elected by the community at large to four year terms.
The City of Santa Monica is a full-service city. City departments provide police, fire, a regional transportation network, water, refuse and recycling, streets, parking, planning, building, engineering, free public wifi, a high speed fiber optic network, parks, affordable housing, economic development, library, rent control, recreational, cultural, and educational services to the community.
The City-operated Big Blue Bus regional bus service provides over 16.5 million rides for customers each year, all powered by renewable natural gas. Breeze Bike Share was Southern California’s first bike share system with 500 bikes at 85 locations. In 2016, the Metro Expo Line opened connecting Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles in under an hour.
The City of Santa Monica is a national leader in environmental, economic and social sustainability. The City is working toward aggressive climate action goals including: water self-sufficiency by 2020, zero waste by 2030, and carbon neutrality by 2050.
The highly-rated Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District serves both Santa Monica and Malibu residents. Santa Monica College (SMC), one of the state’s top two-year community colleges, serves over 30,000 full-time and part-time students on several campuses and offers more than 90 fields of study. Santa Monica’s strong education institutions are complemented by the 5-star rated Santa Monica Public Library system.
Public safety is a top priority in the City of Santa Monica. Santa Monica Fire Department continues to maintain a Class 1 ISO rating, the highest possible rating.
Santa Monica has a strong and diverse economy. Known as “Silicon Beach,” local businesses are at the leading edge of the nation’s creative economy and startup scene.
Sana Monica is also home to three renowned and respected health facilities, Providence Saint John’s Health Center, Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Kaiser Permanente.
Why Santa Monica
Santa Monica, California offers more than its beach and year-round warm weather. Its proximity to the greater Los Angeles area makes Santa Monica the perfect base for vacationers and business travelers alike.
Some of the reasons why people visit Santa Monica are:
- a walkable 8.3 square miles (21.5 km²)
- 3.5-miles stretch of coastline
- laid-back beach town atmosphere with big city sophistication
- eight neighborhoods offering a diverse mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, outdoor recreation (explore more with videos highlighting each area)
- easily accessible public transportation and rentals making it easy to go car free
For travelers aiming to discover the rest of Los Angeles and the greater Southern California region, Santa Monica serves as a convenient hub for broader exploration.
REASONS TO BASE YOURSELF IN SANTA MONICA:
- only eight miles (13 km) north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- only 13 miles (21 km) from the heart of Downtown Los Angeles
- easy access to neighboring areas and attractions
- close to other popular Southern California cities such as Beverly Hills and Hollywood