California Dreamin’: Exploring Santa Monica

The weather couldn’t have been more amazing in Los Angeles yesterday.  After landing at LAX and picking up my rental car, I headed to Santa Monica to explore the beach and take a walk around the city.  The Santa Monica pier is admittedly touristy, but it’s a pleasant way to walk around and soak up the California sun, watch surfers ride the waves and admire the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean.

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Parking was fairly inexpensive.  I parked in a garage on 4th where there first 90 minutes are free, $1 for an additional hour and then $1.50 for each additional half hour.  For lunch, I had a hot dog from a food truck along Ocean called Nora’s Hot Dogs.  Very tasty and inexpensive!  Since I’m interested in learning about the history and architecture of the places I visit, I decided to buy a self-guided tour booklet published by the Santa Monica Conservancy, which describes several of the structures in downtown Santa Monica.  The city is full of Art Deco treasures and buildings that reflect the city’s many boom and bust periods in the last century of more.  Here is an example of one of my favorites.  Image

Downtown Santa Monica also has the Third Street Promenade, a beautifully manicured shopping area with typical shops you’ll find in any high-end shopping center in the US.  I really enjoyed the cute dinosaur fountains.

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