santa monica beach scene

Summer is here, and the most tried and true way to stay cool and entertained on the West Side of Los Angeles is to hit the beach. The Ambrose Hotel is an 8-minute ride from the shores of the Pacific Ocean at Santa Monica Beach. From its iconic attractions to on-the-sand activities, and other nearby beaches to visit, this is our guide to Santa Monica’s beach scene. 

The Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most iconic—and photographed—boardwalk attractions in the world. You’ve seen it in countless classic films, and it’s a must-visit when exploring the Santa Monica beach scene. Just over two miles from The Ambrose Hotel, you can get there with an easy, ten-minute car ride, or a breezy forty-minute walk through town under the California sun. 

Once you get on the Santa Monica Pier, you’ll discover a number of exciting oceanside activities including amusement park rides, dining, and events. You can snap a selfie on top of the iconic ferris wheel, enjoy a rooftop lobster roll at Seaside on the Pier, and catch some live music all in the same day. See more about it in our Santa Monica Pier guide

Beachside Activities

The range of oceanside activities at Santa Monica beach is refreshing and engaging. In addition to the nearby pier, the beach itself has a number of opportunities for guests to engage in sports, dining, and local cultural experiences. At around three and a half miles long, Santa Monica beach passes a number of beachfront restaurants and shops, and stretches towards neighboring beach destinations worth checking out as well. Plus it’s the perfect spot for a beach picnic.

North of Santa Monica Pier on the beach, you can check out the Annenberg Community Beach House to find a children’s play area, a beach cafe, and watersport rentals. Another popular destination is Perry’s Cafe and Beach Rentals, which offers specialty beach butler services for those looking to splurge. Santa Monica Beach also has a ton of free-to-use volleyball courts, gymnastic equipment, and the original Muscle Beach

Neighboring Beaches

If you get lost on a walk along Santa Monica Beach, you can very easily find yourself on the iconic Venice Beach. The boardwalk here is a tourist attraction, and a unique piece of Southern California culture worth checking out. You’ll find street performers, cheesy t-shirts, a variety of food, jewelry, tattoo parlors, and so much more. Inland from Venice Beach, the town of Venice is rich with beautiful homes and acclaimed restaurants. 

When exploring the Santa Monica Beach scene, we’d recommend venturing north a bit to visit the calm and picturesque shores of Malibu. Point Dume is a beautiful bluff vista overlook point that sets the stage for epic sunset photos. The beaches in Malibu are calmer and cleaner than those in Santa Monica and Venice, which adds some appeal as well. 

Discover More of Santa Monica

Experience the best of Santa Monica. Check out The Ambrose blog for our insider guide to the SoCal getaway.