What a fun place! Sitting at the extreme Left Coast of the US, on the edge of the world, Santa Monica has great views of the ocean, a world-famous pier, and great shopping, particularly on the Third Street Promenade. Originally called Kecheek, it was renamed after St. Monica, likely due to Serra Springs, reminiscent of St. Monica’s tears over her son’s (St. Augustine) early debauchery. Beach volleyball was developed in Santa Monica in the 1920s by the famous surfer, Duke Kahanamoku.
On to the photos. The first ones are all taken of, on, or from the Santa Monica Pier, which was built in 1909. As you can see from the sign, the pier is the western end of Route 66. You can buy one of several thousand t-shirts proclaiming this reality, even though Route 66 has seen better days! The pier has rides, carnival games, buskers (look it up!), souvenir shops, ice cream shops, funnel cakes, small kiosks (get your name written on a grain of rice!), restaurants, and areas set aside for fishing. It is part state fair, part local kitsch, and it is wonderful. The carousel is a National Historic Landmark. Saint Monica’s statue is at the terminus of Wilshire Boulevard.
Next are photos of the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian-only shopping area that is decorated with topiary dinosaurs and billions of lights. There is an in-tune piano along the way with a sign inviting, “Play me.” There is a beanbag toss game. There are comfortable Adirondack chairs to it in for as long as you wish. There are astroturf areas for children to play on. There are crazy spinning chairs to sit on and balance yourself, as you can see in the last photo. We tried them, and it was so much fun…you feel that you will probably tip over and crack your head open (isn’t that a nice thought?)….but you don’t!