The Santa Monica Promenade - three open-air, car-free shopping blocks just east of the iconic Santa Monica Pier - is a premier shopping, dining, and entertainment district on the Westside of Los Angeles.
The Santa Monica Promenade is home to some of the biggest names in retail: Abercrombie and Fitch, Apple, a three-story Gap, H&M, Mac Cosmetics, Old Navy, Sephora, and Tesla.
Besides great shopping and dining options, the Promenade has numerous entertainment venues including movie theatres, clubs, and bars.
Despite all the tempting spending options here - the Promenade's atmosphere and distinctly Southern California vibe are the chief draw for most visitors. One of the biggest entertainment attractions is the eclectic mix of street artists and performers daily.
The Promenade hosts the largest and oldest certified organic farmers' market each Wednesday and Saturday on Arizona Ave. between 2nd and 4th streets.
The three tree-lined shopping blocks that comprise the Promenade begin at Wilshire Boulevard and 3rd Street and end at Broadway and 3rd Street.
You can easily spend a day here exploring and enjoying it all.
So what about lunch? Or dinner? Thankfully, Promenade restaurants are as extensive and varied as its shops. And the dining options - much like the shopping - just keep getting better.
Located in the Heart of the Promenade shopping mecca, the new Gallery Food Hall provide a tantalizing mix of indoor and outdoor dining options. From couldn't-be-fresher fish sandwiches and boardwalk fries served up at STRFSH to the 20-plus-course tasting menu experience offered by Dialogue, an 18-seat restaurant led by James Beard Award-winning chef Dave Beran.
Finally, indulge your dessert fantasies with a trip to the chandelier-laden Sloan's ice cream shop - a feast for the eyes as well as the tongue.
The Promenade's lively street performers - some amazing, some, not so much - are what most sets the Promenade apart from other premier shopping areas in Los Angeles.
Here's a duo who were great fun on a recent Sunday night visit:
Street performers and entertainers are a frequent sight on the street. On a typical Saturday night in the summer, singer-songwriters, classical guitar players, magicians, clowns, hip-hop dancers, lounge singers, session drummers, and other artists line up approximately 40 feet (12 m) to 50 feet (15 m) apart from each other all along Third Street.
Oh, sure, we all come for the shopping, the restaurants, the movies... but we can't help but stop and enjoy the free performances.
There is plenty of parking, but finding a spot can get competitive at peak hours. Santa Monica parking spaces fill up fast, especially during the summer.
There are public parking structures on 2nd and 4th streets between Wilshire Boulevard and Broadway, and one structure just north of Wilshire on 4th Street.
These insider tips will guide you to finding a parking space at a reasonable price that can often be reserved in advance.
This is important: They're very aggressive in issuing parking tickets in Santa Monica. Be late by a single minute, and expect to find a parking ticket tucked under your windshield wipers that will set you back $63.
Open 24 hours daily and free to visit, the Promenade is located a few blocks from the Santa Monica Pier at 1351 Third Street Promenade and sits near several bus stops and the Metro's Downtown Santa Monica station.