Community Spotlight — Our Santa Monica Pardee Picks

From tourist attractions to local hidden gems, Santa Monica has it all. The “unofficial capital of the Westside” boasts topnotch dining and shopping with world-class beaches for the perfect combination of California living. There’s so much fun to be had around every corner in this sophisticated beachside city.

Community Highlights + Fun Facts

  • City by the sea: Surrounded by mountains, canyons, rolling hills, valley and ocean, and blessed with amazing year-around weather, its no wonder that Santa Monica has been described as “City by the Sea,” “Pearl of the Pacific,” “City of Inspiration,” and “Jewel of the Sunset Bay.”
  • Colonel Robert S. Baker: Santa Monica has a rich history but was developed by two entrepreneurs in 1875: Colonel Robert S. Baker who made a fortune in mining equipment and Senator John P. Jones of Nevada, who was an owner of silver mines. They purchased this land along the coast hoping to create a flourishing industrial port; however, they lost the bid to San Pedro and it ultimately became the resort beach town we’ve grown to love today.

  • Santa Monica Pier: There were originally five piers in Santa Monica in the early 20th century, however only one iconic pier is still around today and easily recognized by its Ferris wheel and rides. It was completed in September 1909 and now over 100 years old, is the oldest standing amusement pier in the US!

  • Route 66: Santa Monica Pier marks the end of the famous Route 66, which was created in 1926 as a link between Chicago and Los Angeles.

  • The Carousel: The carousel at the beginning of the Santa Monica Pier has been a national historic landmark since 1916. The Hippodrome building housing the 44-horse carousel appeared in the movie The Sting.

  • The Pacific Wheel: The Pacific Wheel is the only over-water Ferris wheel in California and was the first solar-powered wheel in the world. Now in its second energy-efficient incarnation, the 85 ft. wide wheel adorned with 160,000 dazzling LED lights is the shining star of a fair that never leaves town.

  • Original Muscle Beach: Contrary to belief, the original Muscle Beach was in Santa Monica in the 1930s, not Venice Beach. It became a destination for gymnasts, stunt people, wrestlers, acrobats and circus performers before it closed in 1958.

  • Frank Gehry: Frank Gehry, the architect who designed Walter Disney Concert Hall, lived in Santa Monica and was previously known for sculpting houses from chain-link fencing, plywood and corrugated aluminum. His 1979 private home, a deconstructivist postmodern collage, is a great place to see the “early Gehry” style.

  • Santa Monica Beach: In 2010 National Geographic ranked Santa Monica as one of the “Top Ten Beach Cities in the World.” Santa Monica State Beach is an iconic destination that draws visitors from around the globe. It is 3.5 miles long and covers 245 acres of sand.
  • Santa Monica Civic Auditorium: The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was an important music venue for several decades and hosted the Academy Awards in the 1960s.

  • McCabe’s Guitar Shop: McCabe’s Guitar Shop specializes in acoustic and folk instruments, but also doubles as a live music venue with its concert room holding 150 people. First opened in 1958, the shop has been known to showcase “the best guitar music west of the 405 Freeway.”

  • Third Street Promenade: The Promenade’s roots date back to the 1960s when three blocks of Third Street were converted into a pedestrian mall. The renamed Third Street Promenade opened on September 16, 1989.

Why We Love This Neighborhood  — Our Pardee Picks!