Fabled in Song and Film

Between Venice Beach and Pacific Palisades, glamorous Santa Monica is surrounded by LA suburbs, but is a city in its own right. Its most iconic landmark is Santa Monica Pier and at its tip is a good helping of kitsch marking the end point of legendary Route 66. It also houses a ballroom and several amusements including a historic carousel.

The wide, sandy beach either side is popular with surfers, and to the north is backed by a low ridge which develops into undulating hills as you head towards Malibu. In the opposite direction a palm-lined promenade leads to Venice past bohemian shops.

Wide avenues ending at the beach are also palm-lined and none is more famous than Santa Monica Boulevard, which continues past Beverly Hills to Hollywood. The city’s grand homes are popular with those associated with the silver screen and during the 60s the Oscars were held in Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, now a conference and classical music venue.

Famous faces can often be spotted in designer boutiques on Montana Avenue, while Main Street has lower end shops, and the international brands of pedestrianised Third Street Promenade are found amid restaurants and bars offering great nightlife.

Booking.com’s accommodation range includes luxury beachfront hotels, cheap motels and apartments near Santa Monica Airport.