A few miles away, on the edge of the glittering sea, is the city of Santa Monica. Like Culver City, Santa Monica is not a part of Los Angeles, but a municipality unto itself. It is one of the places where the beautiful people live, a bit upscale, cleaner than most of L.A., and a nice place to visit on a Sunday afternoon.
The first attraction is an ocean known as the Pacific, which washes up on the beautiful Santa Monica shore. This beach has everything -surfers, volleyball players, bikini girls, muscle men, and for the most part it is very clean and not too horribly crowded.
Cutting the very long shoreline in half is the famous Santa Monica pier. This is no small-town fishing platform -the pier has an amusement park on it, featuring various rides, including an old-fashioned carousel that Jonathan and I rode on one day, which was lovely. There are shops also, as well as outdoor performers. And yes, people do fish too, way down at the end of the pier.
Inland from the beach is another Santa Monica highlight, the Third Street Promenade, an outdoor shopping district closed to traffic. This is one of the few pedestrian-friendly walking areas in greater Los Angeles, a pleasant change of scenery and perhaps a touch of east coast urban flavor. It also has three large topiary dinosaur fountains that spew water from their mouths.
We don’t go to Santa Monica very often, just because we like natural places better, but it’s worth doing occasionally if one needs a taste of- mostly- civilized city life.
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