When you think about Santa Monica, chances are your mind runs straight to words like sand surf and sun. It’s true, this coastal Los Angeles city is well known for its incredible beaches and piers, and everyone deserves the opportunity to truly get to know this wonderful area. But in order to do that, you’ll have to explore the space, and what better time than right now when summer is in full swing? Here’s a list of our favorite attractions that are sure to help you get to know the unique culture that rules Santa Monica and creates long-lasting memories. Just grab a couple of friends, some delicious Santa Monica breakfast burritos, a camera, and head off to one of these 5 spots for an afternoon full of adventure, and experience Santa Monica like never before.

1) Downtown Santa Monica

Filled with dozens of luxury designer stores, restaurants, small boutiques, and local businesses like Santa Monica coffee shops, a visit to downtown is sure to keep you busy for an entire day. Not to mention downtown is also located near several other Santa Monica must-see attractions, like Tongva Park and the end of the historic Route 66. Because of this, downtown Santa Monica is a popular hangout spot for many, both tourists and natives alike. So if you’re looking to do some shopping or sip on a handcrafted cocktail, downtown Santa Monica is definitely a must-see.

2) Solstice Canyon Loop

For those who crave a little more adventure, try hiking up one of the most popular trails in Santa Monica- the Solstice Canyon Loop. This beautiful 3-mile loop features stunning views of the local landscape, incredible wildlife, ruins, a 30-foot waterfall, and much more. Visiting this trail is an incredible opportunity to disconnect from reality and appreciate all of the natural beauty Santa Monica has to offer. This trail is rated as moderate, so make sure you energize with coffee and a filling meal from your favorite Santa Monica breakfast spot!

3) Looking for a beach day?

You must visit the ICONIC Santa Monica/Venice state beaches. You’ll not only have a good time but will be immersed in the local culture and history that makes this area so legendary. Located at the end of the Santa Monica Pier, this 3.5 stretch of beach has everything you could possibly need for a beach day. In fact, you’ll find restaurants, shops, bike paths, a chess park, rides, gymnastics equipment at the Original Muscle beach, and so much more. There’s even the Annenberg Community Beach House with pool access, a playground, and a splash zone so the little ones can have a fun beach day too.

4) Santa Monica Pier

Is it possible to talk about Santa Monica without mentioning the famous pier? Here, you’ll find restaurants and snack vendors, amusement rides, shops, an arcade, street performers, and plenty more. Or, if you want a more relaxed afternoon, you can even walk to the end of the boardwalk to find a nice spot and take in the amazing sunset over the beach view with a cup of the best coffee Santa Monica has to offer.

5) Palisades Park

Palisades Park is a great place to spend a quiet afternoon. Just stroll through this stretch of land and you’ll get to enjoy spectacular views of the ocean, a rose garden, public art, and access to Santa Monica’s own camera obscura. There are even picnic tables so you can sit and enjoy your favorite meal while taking in infectious carefree spirit from the area and people around you.

As you can see, there’s a lot to do in this wonderful city, no matter what you’re in the mood for! Whether it’s a lazy beach day, a glamorous shopping trip, or an adrenaline-filled hike, Santa Monica’s list of activities perfectly reflects the tastes of the diverse community that calls this area home. So, the next time you make your way down, stop by one of these attractions and discover what makes Santa Monica so one-of-a-kind. Before you know it, you’ll love the city just as much as we do!