Bergamot Station Arts Center
This art complex is owned by the city of Santa Monica and consists of dozens of smaller boutiques and galleries as well as the larger Santa Monica Museum of Art. Visitors can stroll through the artist studios and watch them at work, admire the contemporary works on display in the museum and even pick up a few one of a kind souvenirs to take home as a reminder of the trip.
Angels Attic Museum
Toy lovers will definitely want to add the Angels Attic Museum to their itinerary for Santa Monica. Located just a short walk from the Santa Monica Pier, this small museum boasts a truly impressive collection of antique toys and dolls. Some are bizarre, some are incredibly valuable, but all are worth a second look. Children will enjoy seeing the toys of decades past just as much as adults will enjoy the pleasant walk down memory lane.
Visitors who walk just a mile along the beach away from the Santa Monica Pier will eventually wind up at Venice Beach, which is perhaps the most famous beach destination in all of California. Watch the bodybuilders working out at the beachfront gym, rent a bicycle for a great tour of the boardwalk or just walk along the beach and take in all the great sights and sounds of this interesting coastal location.
Anyone with an interest in chess should head just 500 feet south of the Santa Monica Pier to check out the infamous Chess Park. Here, dozens of chess boards are carved or painted onto tables to allow anyone to play a game outdoors. Serious chess players can challenge a local and enjoy an audience in one of the premier tables, but families are welcome to bring along their own pieces and set up a fun casual game as well. This completely free attraction is a fun way to enjoy being outside and have a little excitement just seconds from the pier.
Ocean Front Walk
Near to the Santa Monica Pier is a pedestrian boardwalk lined with stores, restaurants, and cafes. Parents will love that there are some charming souvenir shops and casual eateries, and children will love the many attractions geared toward younger visitors. Don’t miss out on the interactive dragon display along the path, the free volleyball courts in the sand or the giant sandbox that boasts a large Viking ship to play on.