How to Explore LA: Santa Monica

February 20, 2018

How to Explore Los Angeles Santa Monica

New Blog Series Alert! We are going to start releasing detailed guides on how to explore the best parts of Los Angeles. And we will call it (...long...pause...) - How to Explore LA

We're talking restaurants, coffee + tea spots, places to get your zen on, music/entertainment venues to check out - all the goood stuff!

We might even have a few posts on where to stop in other cities if you still want all your wellness staples while you're traveling!

To kick off the series: Santa Monica.

Here's your guide to the local favorites, and tips on getting the most out of seeing the talked-about spots. Keep an eye out for the detailed reviews about some of my favorite places coming later.


Vegetarian/Vegan: The Hive (Coffee, Lunch), Satdha (Thai), Cafe Gratitude (Organic, Plant-Based), Thai Vegan

Cheap: OP Cafe (Historical place for Breakfast and Lunch), Cha Cha Chicken (Caribbean), Thyme Cafe (American, Pastries), Hot Dog on a Stick (Fast food on the Beach, great funnel cake sticks & lemonade), Tocaya Organica (Organic Mexican), Jinya Ramen

Mid Price: The Misfit (Creative, Healthy, American), M Street Kitchen (Brunch), Milo & Olive (Bakery and Small Plates), The Library Alehouse (Library Themed, Lunch/Dinner, Craft Beers)

High End: WaterGrill (Beachfront Seafood/Oyster Bar), Sushi Roku (Upscale Japanese), Tar & Roses (Cozy, Small Plates)

Two diners at The Misfit in Santa Monica
photo via The Misfit

Coffee + Tea

Amelia's: Cozy homemade coffee, soup, and sandwiches. Amelia is the owner and chef and makes you feel as welcome as family. It is centrally located on Main St. 

Dolcenero Gelato: Straight from Italy Gelato and coffee shop. Main St's favorite business. 

Funnel Mill: Trendy coffee and tea place in downtown Santa Monica. No cell phone policy to encourage being present (and to make the atmosphere for people working better). Santa Monica "cult" favorite.

Funnel Mill
photo via Funnel Mill


Power Yoga East: Donation based yoga in a hole-in-the-wall upstairs studio on Santa Monica Blvd. Many levels available, always great teachers

Against the Stream Meditation: Donation based daily meditation classes for all ages and levels and half or full-day programs for a more in-depth experience.

Wanderlust 108: This is a special event that will be held Sunday, April 29. Angelenos will gather together to complete a 5K (you can walk, run or skip!), group yoga, and group meditation. Get more details here!

Bike on the Beach: Rent or borrow a bike and head down to the beach for bike paths that go from Malibu to Dockweiler Beach (the only beach nearby that lets you have bonfires, so maybe make another separate trip there to enjoy a cozy night of fire-roasted marshmallows). Take in the scenery or just enjoy the fresh salt air.

Bike riding on Santa Monica Beach


Nuart Theatre: Small, one-room movie theatre off of Santa Monica Blvd. Shows the Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night at Midnight. Bring your friends in any level of dress, with an open mind, for the night of your life for just $11

Twilight Concerts: A concert series at the Pier on Thursday nights every summer. Past headers have ranged from known artists like Khalid to newcomers like Valerie June.

Fun Fact

Sort of obvious, but all sorts of movies, tv shows, music videos, and commercials have been filmed across Santa Monica. Seventeen Again (with Zac Efron) and Private Practice (the grey's anatomy spin-off) both filmed at Santa Monica High School. Forest Gump runs to the Pier (where there is now a Bubba Gump's restaurant full of information from the movie). Pact Apparel commercials on the Promenade. 

End of the Trail - Santa Monica

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