Santa Monica with Teens
By Ronnie Mae Weiss and Marlene Ellin

Santa Monica, a beach town located 13 miles west of Central L.A., has long attracted artistic types and is a great destination for teens. In this easy-going and youth-oriented destination, you can park your car and walk everywhere: to the beach, along a spectacular seaside promenade, and through the bustling, upscale downtown. If your teen gets tired, a daily shuttle makes a downtown circuit every 15 minutes.

The beach – wide, clean, dotted with volleyball nets and ringed by a bike path – offers the best people-watching around. Stay in Santa Monica, but take advantage of nearby L.A., which offers a wide array of activities, including many related to the area’s main industry: moviemaking.


With the hospitality industry going through trying financial times, many hotel rooms can be had at deep discounts. Visit for hotel discounts in and around Los Angelea and across the country.

Basic Information & Tickets

• Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau –, 310-393-7593 or 800-544-5319 – Provides all the basics.

• L.A. Parent – –Our free, award-winning monthly parenting magazine features comprehensive listings of special events and resources for families. Available online and in print at local grocery stores, libraries, bookstores and other locations throughout L.A. County.

Activities & Attractions with Teen Appeal

in the Santa Monica and L.A. Area

ZE: 10pt">•
Santa Monica Pier – The oldest pier on the West Coast features restaurants, an aquarium center, an amusement park and an antique carousel.

ZE: 10pt">• Boardwalk at Venice Beach – Outdoor entertainment, street performers, sidewalk vendors and unique characters. Don’t let your teen get a henna tattoo, which can cause serious allergic reactions.

• South Bay Bicycle Trail – This scenic trail along the beach offers bikers, skaters and joggers a fun way to travel between Venice and Santa Monica.

ZE: 10pt">• Third Street Promenade and Downtown Wilshire Boulevard – Outdoor cafes, coffeehouses, bookstores, clubs, movie theaters and interesting shops.

ZE: 10pt">• Main Street – Artistic and funky shopping district offers an eclectic collection of galleries, craft stores and jewelry shops just two blocks from the beach.

• Hollywood Boulevard – Lined with movie memorabilia shops selling posters, books and photos.

• University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) –, 310-825-4321 – Tours are available Monday through Friday with reservations. Spectacular buildings, beautiful campus and sculpture gardens.

• J. Paul Getty Center –, 310-440-7300 – A must-see for its view of L.A., the spectacular modern buildings designed by architect Richard Meier, the richly landscaped gardens and an impressive art collection.

• Museum of Tolerance –, 310-553-8403 – High-tech, hands-on experiential exhibits focusing on the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America and the history of the Holocaust.

• Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk Theme Park –, 800-UNIVERSAL – Rides and shows that let you “Ride the Movies.” Walkways packed with street performers, cinemas, state-of-the-art electronic games and even ice-skating!

• Warner Brothers Studios –, 818-972-TOUR – Behind-the-scenes look at the movie industry and popular TV shows. Make advance reservations for this extensive tour.

• Disneyland –, 714-781-7290 – Visit midweek and plan to stay for the nighttime entertainment.

• Museum of Television and Radio –, 310-786-1025 – Search for and view favorite TV and radio shows. Check for special exhibits.

Food Options in Santa Monica

• Ocean Avenue Seafood –, 310-394-5669 – Ocean view, fresh fish, easy walk from the beach.

• Border Grill – 310-451-1655 – Good Mexican food, funky atmosphere, moderate prices.

• Broadway Deli – 310-451-0616 – Great deli options and hearty home-style fare.

Return to: Traveling with Teens: Tips for Success