Santa Monica Beach is definitely Instagram-worthy, but so is the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market, not to mention the pier and the mountains. We could go on. (Photo: Getty Images)
Creating an epic Instagram feed from a weekend in the breezy seaside city of Santa Monica is a snap — or, more specifically, a few snaps of your smartphone. From must-hit attractions like the vast beach and lively pier, to locals’ experiences like the farmers’ market and buzzy brunch spots, here’s where to grab quintessential Santa Monica pics to spark envy among your social media followers.
Of course, no trip to Santa Monica could be complete without some time on the beach, so let’s start there. Get in your swimsuit and hit the expansive swath of sand for tanning (with SPF, of course), strolling, snacking, or friendly sports like Frisbee or volleyball. While the Pacific Ocean is not known for warm water, you must go for a dip to complete the trip-envy picture on Instagram.
The Santa Monica Pier is fun for a visit any time of day, for its relaxed vibe and panoramic ocean, beach, and mountain views. But if you’re chasing those epic Instagram shots, go at night when the Ferris wheel at the Pacific Park amusement park is illuminated. In keeping with Santa Monica’s earth-conscious vibe, the wheel features more than 160,000 energy-efficient LED lights that display attention-grabbing, computer-generated visuals after the sun goes down.
If drool-worthy food shots are what you’re after, you must make a stop at a quintessential Santa Monica brunch spot. Grab an organic coffee or kale salad at the popular Urth Caffe. Or opt for house-made granola or huevos rancheros at Huckleberry Cafe — and grab those perfect shots before chowing down.
Although the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market draws nearly 1 million visitors annually, it remains a quintessential locals’ go-to. Go for fresh seasonal produce, eye-popping flowers — and endless people-watching opportunities — all of which make for colorful Instagram snaps. Take some time to stroll the shops at the 3rd Street Promenade while you’re there.
Hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains offers breathtaking natural views: think vistas of the ocean, up and down the coast for miles. But some trails also offers a glimpse into the affluent life of residents of Los Angeles’s tony Westside, including Santa Monica and the Pacific Palisades.
The popular Temescal Canyon loop trail starts in the Pacific Palisades and offers breathtaking views over the Santa Monica Bay including the beach and the pier, and a look at the mansions in the surrounding foothills.