Los Angeles is one of America’s most legendary cities, thanks in large part to Hollywood giving it the reputation for all things glamorous. And on its western edge, along the Pacific waterfront, Santa Monica is one of its beloved neighborhoods, conveniently located near some of the best things to do in Los Angeles, from beachside fun to high-culture. Looking to see what’s around? Here’s our bucket list of the top Los Angeles and Santa Monica attractions. 

The Santa Monica Pier

Located just two miles from The Ambrose Hotel, the Santa Monica Pier is one of the most recognizable and popular attractions in California. Home to over six million visitors a year, it keeps up its appeal with events, attractions, and tasty treats. One of the best ways to learn about The Santa Monica Pier is to go out and visit, and if you’re into it, sign up for a free walking tour on the weekend. 

You can also guide yourself to the pier’s theme park with the world’s first solar-powered ferris wheel alongside eleven other rides. We also recommend checking out the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and then having a milkshake at Soda Jerks Ice Cream Shop. 

The Beaches

Santa Monica is a beach-lover’s dream, with a wide, sandy beach and activity-filled boardwalk flanking its downtown. This is one of the most popular stretches of shorefront for Angelenos to head to, so the people watching is great (especially at Venice Beach and the iconic Muscle Beach). Further afield—but still within easy reach from Santa Monica—Malibu’s quieter, mansion-lined beaches also beckon.

Hollywood & Griffith Park

Most lists of quintessential California landmarks include The Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park. We believe the latter is truly one of the greatest attractions in the state, with its massive sprawl of trails, lookouts, and attractions. In addition to the Hollywood Sign, which is worth seeing and fun to hike to, Griffith Park is also home to The Observatory, where you can go stargaze and look out over the city. 

Surrounding Griffith Park, you can easily get to a number of Los Angeles bucket list attractions. Within a few miles, there’s famous theatres like The Egyptian on Hollywood Boulevard, as well as the Hollywood Bowl, and Runyon Canyon Park.

The Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway runs from right here on the westside of Los Angeles all the way up to San Francisco. It’s one of the most majestic roads in the world, running along the Pacific Ocean for most of the trip. For some insights and tips on traveling along the PCH, check out this post on The Ultimate California Road Trip

Discover More of Santa Monica

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