When planning things to do in Santa Monica over a long weekend, the beach is required. (Photos: iStock)
Finally, a long weekend. You’ve got a solid three days to play. There’s no better place than Santa Monica, where classic amusement park meets cool beach town. Go ahead, leave the office miles away, dig your toes in the sand and get some vitamin D. We’ve got your weekend plans covered.
Day 1: Dance the Night Away
Celebrate your first night in Santa Monica with dinner at Mélisse, a French restaurant with not one but two Michelin stars. Be sure to dress up, and leave your beachwear at the hotel, for this glam dining experience. Chef Josiah Citrin does not disappoint.
After dinner, take in sunset at the beach. Then, dance at Circle Bar or sip a new vintage at the Sonoma Wine Garden. The nightlife in downtown Santa Monica is mostly chill yet still attracts party-goers from L.A.
Day 2: Shop ’till the Roller Coaster Drops
Sleep in after your night out and swap breakfast for lunch at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery, a Santa Monica mainstay. Order their signature sub, “The Godmother,” and a cannoli to-go and picnic on the rooftop deck at Santa Monica Place. You can shop high-end stores like Nordstrom and boutiques like Michael Kors after you soak up amazing ocean views.
Drop your new designer duds back at your hotel and venture out to Pacific Park for a white knuckle ride on the West Coaster. For the ultimate thrill, plummet nine-stories on the Pacific Plunge. Stay through the evening to see Santa Monica’s iconic ferris wheel illuminated.
Day 3: Fly High at The Pier
Start your last day in Santa Monica with a plate full of orange pancakes on the outdoor patio at Cora’s Coffee Shoppe. Walk it off at the open-air, pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade where people watching is a sport. You’ll likely see dancers, singers and even circus acts.
Grab lunch at The Misfit, a 1920s style restaurant that sources its menu from the famous Santa Monica Farmers’ Market. Lunch served at the bar is just $5 until 4 p.m. on weekdays. Save room for the salted chocolate chip cookies!
Change into comfy clothes before you check out and head to The Pier for a two-hour TSNY Flying Trapeze class. Take the leap off the 23-foot high platform and end your Santa Monica stay on a high note.