The Santa Monica Promenade, an outdoor shopping area known for its laid-back ambiance and funky, fabulous stores, is also home to some of the city's best restaurants and lively street entertainment.
The open-air, pedestrian-only street that is home to dozens of retailers also offers events like outdoor movie screenings and the always-popular farmer's market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
We bike a mile along the beach to the Promenade at least one day a week - usually to catch a movie at one of the two AMC movie theaters here.
We're also partial to visiting Chipotle Mexican grill before showtime, where we get made-to-order burritos that have occasionally enter the theater with us. (Oops - shhh!!!!)
You'll also find us here when my son needs new skateboarding shoes, or shorts, or skinny jeans.
And when we need - well - pretty much anything except groceries. We're at the Promenade a lot.
The lively street performers - some amazing, and some, not so much - are what most sets the 3rd Street Promenade apart from other premier shopping areas in Los Angeles.
Oh, sure, we all come for the shopping, the restaurants, the movies... but we can't help but stop and enjoy the free performances going on all around the Promenade. Here's a Promenade duo who were great fun on a recent Sunday Night:
Santa Monica parking spaces fill up fast - especially during the summer. These insider tips will guide you to finding a good parking space at a reasonable price in Santa Monica 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 $53. I know, because I just checked my check register.
The Promenade's street address is: 1351 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica, CA 90401. The Promenade is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Some stores - and most Promenade restaurants and bars - are open much later.