There’s no shortage of family friendly activities in this laid-back SoCal city. Spend the day at the beach, grab ice cream on the pier, or stroll the promenade for a low-key Friday night.  If you’re seeking more educational experiences, many of the city’s museums are family-friendly and optimally air-conditioned for particularly sweltering Santa Monica afternoons.

Santa Monica State Beach

Fly a kite, sign up for a surf lesson, or let the kids entertain themselves building sandcastles while you park yourself on the beach with a good book. There’s no better way to entertain the little ones than with an enormous sandbox.

Picnic on the Promenade

Every Friday in July and August, start off the weekend with a picnic lunch on Downtown Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade. Picnic on the Promenade provides board games, along with classic activities like ping-pong, giant Jenga and Connect 4, while a DJ sets the musical mood. Stop by any of the nearby restaurants for grab-and-go lunch and enjoy!

Soda Jerks

Located inside the carousel building on Santa Monica Pier, Soda Jerks is an old-fashioned soda fountain serving sundaes, shakes, malts, and ice cream sodas. Each sundae is named after a different Santa Monica landmark– we recommend sharing the Route 66 Banana Split. Soda Jerks:

Pacific Park

At Pacific Park, you’ll find an amusement park located on the Santa Monica Pier. Spend the day as a family, playing games and enjoying the world’s only solar-powered ferris wheel.

Main Street Farmer’s Market

Spend your Sunday morning picking up local produce, eating sweet crepes or breakfast burritos and rocking out to live music. Your kids will adore the petting zoo, balloon animals, face painting and pony rides.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Animal habitats, dinosaurs, and the new “Nature Lab” recreating Southern California urban wildlife are some of the most popular exhibits at the Natural History Museum. Don’t forgett to stop by everyone’s favorite Butterfly Pavilion. Here, hundreds of freeovi-flying butterflies flutter around a collection of native plants, while museum experts hang around to answer all of your most pressing butterfly questions. Natural History Museum: 900 Exposition Blvd.; 213-763-3466

Discovering the Best of Santa Monica

Planning a visit to Southern California? Learn more about our hotel here, so that you can experience Santa Monica for yourself, and get more insider tips on our Santa Monica blog!