Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Beach Bliss in Santa Monica

The last time I came here was right after high school as a graduation gift. So the minute I saw the pier sign, I was instantly transplanted back to that moment and a broad smile crossed my face. The pier has something for everyone – a trapeze school, funnel cake, an arcade full of video games to play, an amazing balloon clown,  you can have your face modeled for a plastered bust, a Zoltar fortune teller machine like in the movie BIG,  an aquarium, restaurants, and the iconic ferris wheel amongst many other rides.


After exploring the pier I went and sat on the beach for awhile. The water was too cold to enter for me (yet other people braved it) but I did dip my toes in and admired the unique seaweed washed up on the sand. The seagulls were very aggressive; don’t even think about eating anything on the beach! lol The wind was strong so even the lifeguards wore jackets, no Baywatch swimsuits. lol It was a breezy 70 degrees so I rented a bike (like just about everyone else there) and took a 2 hour bike ride from the Pier to Venice Beach and through the canals.  There were so many beautiful palm trees and I was in awe of the architecture of all the homes I passed. The beach had dozens of beach volleyball courts. It was such a pretty ride on the bike path along the beach.

I used my anytrail app to map my course. Venice Beach had a totally different vibe: medical marijuana for sale, tons of young homeless people, surfers, lots of shops selling only t-shirts or sunglasses, tattoo salons, and weird entertainers. There’s also Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym on the beach and a basketball court. It’s definitely very artsy and diverse and a fun place to just people watch. Venice Beach got its name from the canal area a bit away from the beach, it’s very charming to see with lots of lovely homes and gardens between the waterways.

Back to Santa Monica, which is one of my favorite places in the world! I spent two days there both times taking the public bus from LA. For $1.50, I thought the hour long drive was pretty cheap. I heard that it’s hard to find all day parking and it will cost you an arm and a leg. Once in Santa Monica it’s really a small walking town. There’s a mall with no roof so palm trees can grow next to the escalators. The restaurants and food courts are on the rooftop with outdoor seating as well. Then there’s Third Street Promenade which is a popular shopping street with dinosaur fountains, an iconic theater and amongst palm trees the new glass front apple store. And of course I couldn't pass up shopping at lululemon. In the evening everyone was watching the Stanley Cup finals at bars. Gotta say I was surprised LA has an ice-hockey team, actually California has 3 teams! Did you know LA doesn’t have a football team? 





Mall


Muscle Beach




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