Things to do in
Santa Monica

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Our most recommended things to do in Santa Monica

Los Angeles Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

1. Los Angeles Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

The open-top double-decker bus provides fantastic views and a great atmosphere to enjoy Los Angeles' charm. From the world-famous Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, and the TCL Chinese Theatre to the luxurious Beverly Hills. Your journey will be packed of fun with this fully narrated audio tour that allows you to discover over 15 locations throughout the city with daily departures from the starting point at the Big Bus Visitor Center Hollywood. Guests may also join the tour from any of the stops on the route. Air conditioning is available on the lower deck and recorded commentary is available in 9 languages. Location Highlights Include: Big Bus Visitor Center Hollywood TCL Chinese Theatre Guitar Center “Rock Walk” The Comedy Store Whisky A Go Go Beverly Gardens Park Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive Beverly Center LACMA La Brea Tarpits Farmers Market The Grove Melrose Shopping Paramount Studios 3rd Street Promenade Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles: LA Grand Tour

2. Los Angeles: LA Grand Tour

Get a feel for the City of Angels with this full-day tour to some of its key sights. Experience a selection of its main attractions including ocean views and the Walk of Fame. After departing at 10:00 AM from Sunset Boulevard, be driven first to Santa Monica Pier. Stop here for 1 hour to take a walk down the pier, see beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, and visit the 3rd Street Promenade. Next, drive to an outdoor farmer's market for a 1-hour lunch stop. Here you can enjoy some of the best food in LA, freshly prepared from local produce. Enjoy family-friendly activities and shop at the famous Grove in Beverly Hills. Then, head for the Griffith Observatory for views of the Hollywood Sign, space and science exhibits, and downtown LA. Finally, travel to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Check out Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater, and take a photo with your favorite celebrity's star.

Los Angeles: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket

3. Los Angeles: City Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket

This hop-on, hop-off city sightseeing tour of Los Angeles allows you to see and explore greater Los Angeles. The narrated tour is now available in 9 languages. Enjoy the view from the open-air, double-decker bus as it takes you through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. Pick a 24-, 48-, or 72-hour pass, choose 1 of 3 Loops, or combine them and experience the freedom of a hop-on, hop-off city sightseeing tour. You may start from the Starline kiosk or at any of the stops. Board the Hollywood Tour to experience the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, including such world-famous sights as Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, Melrose Avenue shopping district, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theater, TCL Chinese Theatre, LACMA, Petersen Automotive Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, and much more. Travel between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica on board the Santa Monica Tour, enjoying stops along the way including Fox Studios, the 3rd Street Promenade, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier. Take a solar-powered Ferris wheel ride at the historic Santa Monica Pier, walk or bike along the marvelous Pacific coast, and enjoy the heaven of shops, restaurants, and attractions at 3rd Street promenade.

Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

4. Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

Start your tour at Mother's Beach. Your guide will provide information about the local environment and marine life, kayaking/paddle-boarding techniques, and safety while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of Los Angeles boaters realm. Then board your kayaks and paddle towards the main channel of the Marina. On the way, observe the beautiful and extraordinary boats. Begin your search for sea lions, birds, dolphins, and other marine life.

Los Angeles: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 40+ Attractions

5. Los Angeles: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 40+ Attractions

The Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass by Go City gets you into over 40 top attractions in the city for one low price. Enjoy great savings on admission compared to buying individual tickets and pay nothing at the gate. Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, Dolby Theatre, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, and many more of the best things to do in L.A., Hollywood, and beyond. In addition, when you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day pass, you also get a ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood. Simply show your pass straight from your phone (or printed) at the gate or ticket office to get in. There’s no need to decide in advance what you want to see, and you can take up to 2 weeks from when you first use the pass to use the remaining calendar days on your pass. The free digital guide helps you decide what to do, where to go, how to get there, and even includes the best times to visit. Activities, attractions, and tours included with the Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass: THEME PARKS • Universal Studios Hollywood Ticket (3+ day passes only) • Knott's Berry Farm • Six Flags Magic Mountain • LEGOLAND California (choice between San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND) OUTDOORS • Whale Watching in San Pedro or Long Beach • Catalina Flyer (Ferry to Catalina Island) • Harbor Breeze Whale Watching Tour - Long Beach • Perry's Beach Café and Rentals - Mountain Bike or Roller-Skates (All Day) • Hollywood Sign Tour • Celebrity Bike Tour by Bikes & Hikes LA (choice between self-guided or guided tour) • Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach • Harbor Cruise in Long Beach or San Pedro • Huntington Beach: 2-hr SUP board or kayak rental • Huntington Beach: Yoga on the beach TOURS • Big Bus Los Angeles 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour • Big Bus Celebrity Lifestyle and Homes Tour • Dolby Theater Guided Tour • Starline Tours: Malibu Celebrity Homes Tour • Food, Arts, Culture DTLA Walking Tour • Glass Bottom Boat Eco Tour • SoFi Stadium Tour FAMILY-FRIENDLY • Madame Tussauds Hollywood • Aquarium of the Pacific • TCL Chinese Theater - Tour or Movie and a drink (choice between TCL Chinese Theater or Hollywood Museum) • Santa Monica Pier Aquarium • Los Angeles Zoo • California Science Center IMAX Movie • San Diego Zoo (choice between San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND) • Battleship IOWA Museum MUSEUMS AND ENTERTAINMENT • Hollywood Museum (choice between TCL Chinese Theater or Hollywood Museum) • GRAMMY Museum • Autry Museum of the American West • Museum of Latin American Art • Cabrillo Maritime Museum • South Coast Shop & Dine Package • LA Galaxy Soccer Game Ticket

Santa Monica and Venice 3-Hour Electric Bike Tour

6. Santa Monica and Venice 3-Hour Electric Bike Tour

Try something new on your trip to Los Angeles and ride an electric bicycle around the neighborhoods of Santa Monica and Venice. Hop on a colorful Pedego electric bicycle for a relaxing ride in the sunshine, where you can enjoy the mild warm temperatures of Los Angeles. This 3-hour active and fun bicycle ride lets you choose whether to pedal or not, and takes you to places in the city often unreachable by car or bus. From the cushy seat of your cool comfortable Pedego beach cruiser you will ride along Santa Monica’s award-winning beach to the Marion Davies Guesthouse, Under the Santa Monica Pier, and through Venice to the Venice Canals. You will be accompanied by a storytelling guide with interesting facts about the local art, architecture, and history of the area while you soak in the sun, surf, sand, and ocean breezes. The bicycle allows you to choose your own comfort level between pedaling with 6 gears, using the electric motor power which puts the power completely in your control, or both. All bikes are equipped with state of the art disc brakes. The lithium power assist will ensure that you are never far behind. This 3-hour tour operates daily and is designed for bicycle riders aged 14 years and up who appreciate the joy of riding a bicycle with a surprisingly fun added option.

Venice Beach: 2-hour Group Surfing Lesson

7. Venice Beach: 2-hour Group Surfing Lesson

Meet your guide at Venice Beach, one of the most famous and lively beaches in California. Take part in a 2-hour group surfing lesson which is ideal for everyone from beginners (even first timers!) to upper intermediate levels.  Start the lesson by getting geared up with the wetsuits and surfboards. Head down to the sand with your group of 5-6 fellow students. Spend the first 30-40 minutes training on the beach and learning all the important aspects of surfing. Your professional certified instructors will teach you how to pop up on the board, educate you about the ocean and end the land lesson with the most important part - safety. After that, enjoy 40 minutes with an instructor(s) in the ocean getting coaching and helpful pushes. The remaining time will be yours to practice your skills and have fun in the water. After the class, an instructor will lead you to an outdoor public shower where you will be able to rinse off. Don't worry about your belongings, as you will be able to leave everything locked in the surf school van. 

California Coastline Helicopter Tour

8. California Coastline Helicopter Tour

Glide through the melting sunset over the California Coastline, sweep over the Santa Monica Mountains, or get great views over the exclusive homes of the Pacific Palisades. This is a unique and thrilling 30-minute helicopter tour exploring the Los Angeles Coast. The California Coastline tour is available at any time during the day and is a must for anyone who loves the ocean. Take off from the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, heading south to fly over the Santa Monica Mountains and drop down into the spectacular coastal homes of Pacific Palisades. Fly low-level along the world famous beaches of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier, and Venice. On your way back to the Airport, you'll fly over the new Getty Center, with its grand architecture appearing ever more dramatic from the sky.

Los Angeles: Best of LA Bus Tour

9. Los Angeles: Best of LA Bus Tour

Take in LA's top attractions on a guided bus tour. See the sights you want on a customized tour with plenty of photo opportunities. Take in Hollywood, Paramount Studios, the Greek Theatre, and more. Stop at Santa Monica Pier and Beach, the Original Farmers Market, and the Griffith Observatory. Meet your guide on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Climb aboard the bus and head straight to Santa Monica. On the drive, listen to entertaining stories and take in Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive. See views of the affluent Bel-Air neighborhood and the Getty. Next, stop at Santa Monica Pier and Beach for an hour to explore the famous boardwalk, shop along the 3rd Street Promenade, and see why Southern California is famous for its beaches. Head back to the bus to take in Culver City and Museum Row. Get insider tips on the best restaurants and museums. Then, stop for an hour's lunch break at the Grove/the Original Famers Market, known for some of LA's best dining and shopping. Once sated, climb aboard the bus to be taken to your last stop. On the way, see the sights of Fairfax, Melrose, Paramount Studios, the Greek Theatre, and Griffith Park. Stop at the Griffith Observatory for an hour, where you can take in sweeping views of the Los Angeles Basin, including Downtown Los Angeles to the southeast, Hollywood to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Take photos of the Hollywood Sign from the best angle. As you head back to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to end your tour, see the Capitol Records Building and explore more of Hollywood Blvd.

LA: City and Beach Highlights Tour with Transfer Options

10. LA: City and Beach Highlights Tour with Transfer Options

Enjoy a stress-free tour of LA with expert tour guides who will ensure you have an entertaining and educational day. Begin the tour in Santa Monica where you'll have the opportunity to explore the Santa Monica Pier. Your first stop will be Venice Beach, home of LA's skateboarding and surf culture. You will then be driven along Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards on your way to the ritzy Beverly Hills, where you will be given the opportunity to window shop for 30-minutes on Rodeo Drive.  Enjoy lunch at the Farmers' Market at The Grove (1 hour) - with hundreds of options to please everyone from the adventurous foodie to kids. You will then be whisked to Griffith Park where you will receive VIP curbside service and experience the best views of LA and the Hollywood Sign. Finally, try to spot the stars of your favorite Hollywood celebrities as you walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Other Sightseeing Options in Santa Monica

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What people are saying about Santa Monica

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,891 reviews

Amazing experience - thorough training - one of a kind good time - totally recommend for anyone - young or old - sporty or not - unique excursion for very affordable price - would absolutely do again when coming back to CA

My fear of flying is gone we had the best pilot Tom made us feel so comfortable and answered all our questions in a professional manner very knowledgeable all around great first time experience.

Super profitable! Possibility to see lots of things to do in Los Angeles and without queuing or even booking for the most part! Brilliant I recommend!

The tour guide was awesome, explained everything and made us feel very safe! It was windy but we did it and still saw some sea lions!

Everything went well with redeeming the selected attractions.