Things to do in Santa Monica

Santa Monica Shopping

Shop until you drop in Santa Monica. The city has everything you could ever want, all just minutes from the beach.

Clear, blue skies and stunning ocean views make Santa Monica one of the dreamiest spots to unwind. But if you’d rather spend your time shopping than relaxing by the beach, the city’s many boutiques will spoil you with endless choices. After all, who doesn’t need a little retail therapy from time to time?

Finding yourself in between the many things to do in Santa Monica and searching for fresh bargains? Check out our top picks for unique shopping experiences that are sure to scratch your shopping itch!

Downtown Santa Monica

Santa Monica’s beach town atmosphere contrasts with its urban environment. The city uniquely blends laid-back coastal living and accessible shopping experiences. After a dip in the water, there’s no better place to start your shopping journey than Downtown Santa Monica.

1. Santa Monica Place

Art, community events, and interactive experiences converge in one of the city’s most popular malls, Santa Monica Place. Uniquely, all three mall floors are outdoors, bathed in the sun’s golden rays.

While you’ll find iconic brands like Nordstrom at this mall, it also hosts fun cultural experiences, including art galleries and a museum for children.

When you’re done shopping and your little ones have tired themselves out exploring art, VR, and history at the Cayton Children’s Museum, head on up to the rooftop to watch the sunset. From there, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Third Street Promenade and a selection of restaurants serving delectable cuisine worldwide.

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2. Great Labels

When we design our shows, the wardrobe always takes center stage. The proper clothing lets our performers soar elegantly into the skies and glide smoothly across the stage.

Likewise, fresh clothing transforms how you feel and can set the entire mood for your vacation in Santa Monica. If you’re ready for a style change, head to Great Labels — one of the city’s premier fashion hot spots.

Style lovers will appreciate all the luxury brands, like Chanel and Gucci, available at discounted prices through consignment. But Great Labels also offers unique clothing from smaller design houses. These more experimental items bring distinct flair and individuality to your wardrobe at a low cost.

Main Street

Through its relaxed and eclectic atmosphere, Santa Monica's Main Street is the perfect backdrop for leisurely window shopping. Love browsing farmers’ markets or thrift stores? Main Street has you covered! You can also stop at the spa or practice yoga if you or your wallet needs a break.

3. The Closet Trading Co.

Do you like second-hand fashion? Perhaps you just want to lower your wardrobe's environmental impact. We hear you. Wherever possible, we prefer to recycle materials. We’re always looking for ways to extend the life and durability of our costumes to practice good environmental stewardship.

Think of The Closet Trading Co. as a high-end alternative to flea markets, dealing in luxury clothing, designer shoes, and quality handbags. You’ll find previously loved items from popular design houses, such as Dior and Prada, at discounts that make your wallet happy.

While sustainability is important, consignment fashion also offers the thrill of the hunt. Discover distinctive items no longer available through mainstream retail to create your unique look.

4. Moondance Jewelry Gallery

Accessories can tie an entire outfit together; some ensembles wouldn’t have the same vibe without a beautiful necklace or bracelet.

That’s why it may be time for a trip to Moondance Jewelry Gallery if you're looking to unleash your creative vision. Unlike most retailers, Moondance Jewelry Gallery sources its accessories from independent designers, so the style of individual pieces varies dramatically.

While you won’t find many big names at this store, the unique accessories add a personal touch to your wardrobe. You may want to show off your new bling at one of our shows.

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5. Heist Jewelry

Heist Jewelry offers pieces from well-known and up-and-coming designers. The styles range from contemporary and trendy, with a dash of sophistication and edginess.

If diamonds really are a girl’s best friend, shopping here will make you feel like you've got quite the entourage. Precious gems adorn most necklaces and rings.

Sometimes the most special accessory isn’t brand new but a timeless keepsake passed down through generations. If your favorite gem has lost its luster over time, the certified repair technicians at Heist Jewelry can restore it to its former glory.

Mid-City

Away from the bustling stretches of beach and the Santa Monica Pier, Mid-City has its own special charm. Don't miss this neighborhood’s bodegas and restaurants. Mid-City is also home to various stores, making for a true Santa Monica shopping experience.

6. Santa Monica Music Center

Music evokes powerful emotions. If our scores have you brimming with inspiration, why not look for a new instrument at the Santa Monica Music Center?

Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, it’s never too late to learn. Join one of the center’s group lessons to get a feel for everything from classics like the piano and guitar to unique options like conga drums. If you prefer to listen, live performances also occasionally occur.

7. Truetone Music

A Santa Monica fixture for 3 decades, Truetone Music has inspired many young artists to pick up an instrument and express themselves. Here, the guitar is on the agenda.

With acoustic, electric, and bass guitars and gear that lets you discover your unique voice, Truetone Music has everything aspiring kids and adults need to rock out. If you're feeling free-spirited, channel your inner bohemian by picking up a ukulele or banjo.

Want to learn how to play, guided by an expert with 20 years experience in live performances? Need your tube amp repaired or your guitar refretted? Truetone Music has talented teachers and technicians to help.

Photographer: Susan Mohr

8. Helen’s Cycles

Opened in 1936 as a repair shop, Helen’s Cycles has become another iconic store in Santa Monica, spreading the joy of cycling for generations. Imagine yourself breezing down Ocean Avenue toward the pier, the Pacific Ocean on one side and the urban skyline on the other.

Once you arrive, pick up a fishing rod and try your luck against Mother Nature, or take a moment to enjoy the artistry of the pier’s many street performers. While there are many ways to experience Santa Monica, we think cycling through the city is one of the most whimsical and enchanting.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even pick up a mountain bike and take the scenic route to Hollywood for the day. Not ready to make an investment? Helen’s Cycles offers rentals.

Photographer: ebikeisrael

Montana Avenue

Home to trendy juice bars, yoga studios, and gyms, no neighborhood reflects the wellness-focused Santa Monica lifestyle more than Montana Avenue. It’s also home to over 150 shops, including those catering to hobbies for the young and young-at-heart.

9. Puzzle Zoo

Remember the wonder you felt building your first LEGO set, each block setting your imagination alight?

Without imagination, the world would be a colorless and empty stage, begging endlessly for a thrilling performance to bring things to life. We use imagination to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, and we hope the figurines and toys at Puzzle Zoo will inspire your creativity.

Discover collectibles that take you back to your youth or get your kids interested in classics like Star Wars. Adventure sits on every Puzzle Zoo shelf, whether in the form of a jigsaw puzzle, Tokidoki toys, or Baby Yoda. Reach out and let your imagination take flight.

10. The Acorn Store

Life is often all about contrasts, especially between the old and the new. Our performances celebrate this duality. While we want to transcend to new heights through dazzling acrobatics and never-before-seen choreography, we also honor our circus roots.

There’s a similar sense of nostalgia at The Acorn Store, with its old-fashioned wooden toys, dollhouses, and imaginative items. These classics contrast the store’s other modern offerings, celebrating robotics, chemistry, and physics.

Your little ones are bound to find something to ignite a lifelong love of discovery through these toys and the many things to do with kids in Santa Monica.

11. Zibby’s Bookshop

Open the cover of a book, and you'll feel yourself being swept away into entirely new worlds as if you just stepped through a portal. Whether a steamy romance is your guilty pleasure or you find yourself on the edge of your seat reading crime novels, good stories are the spice of life.

There’s also no better way to relax than on the beach, so head into Zibby’s Bookshop to get into vacation mode. Don’t decide on your next book too quickly, though. The shop has plenty of comfortable reading spots, so you can leaf through a few pages and find a story that truly touches your heart.

Looking for more inspiration? Join the in-store book club meetings or one of the many meet-the-author events.

Photographer: Eli Francis

Ocean Park Boulevard

Dotted with green spaces and lined with palm trees, Ocean Park Boulevard is the picture of coastal living. It’s also the perfect place to visit if you need a little retail therapy, as it is home to music, books, and all things vintage and modern.

12. Guitar Salon International

Want a concert classical guitar from the '90s or a flamenco instrument that will set your heart racing with its lively rhythms? Buying a professional instrument is as much an art as playing one. Luckily, you’re in good hands when shopping at Guitar Salon International.

This music store sprung from a simple love of classical guitar. When owner Tim Miklaucic studied under The Romeros, it was hard not for him to fall in love with this style of music. That’s why he set out to create a store that brought instruments from the best makers into the limelight.

While we can’t promise you’ll play like Andrés Segovia with one of the store’s guitars, you’ll certainly receive expert guidance during your purchase. Want to head down the path of a virtuoso? In-store lessons might be just the ticket.

13. Santa Monica Antique and Vintage Market

Looking for more unique things to do in Santa Monica? The Santa Monica Antique and Vintage Market, held near the airport on the first and last Sunday of every month, is a paradise for collectors and history aficionados.

It’s one of the few places where you can find unique items from bygone eras, whether you want a Victorian nightstand or a flapper dress from the ‘20s. Many of the market’s vendors specialize in unique collections, such as African art or Native American jewelry, offering a wealth of knowledge.

Looking for something specific? Ask around, and you may just find a lead or even the item itself.

14. The Bike Shop California

When we think of cycling, it’s usually on a unicycle while juggling. Admittedly, that might not be the best way to get around Santa Monica. Still, the city is one of the most bike-friendly places in California. Cycling along the beach or through Santa Monica’s lush, green parks can excite any dreary afternoon.

The Bike Shop California carries everything from road and mountain bikes to electric bicycles. You’ll be zipping around the city in a flash. Not sure if you’re ready to take the plunge and pick up a powered bike? You can try before you buy. The store also repairs all types of bikes.

15. Angel City Books & Records

Video killed the radio star, and records gave way to CDs. Eventually, MP3s became a thing. Nowadays, we just stream songs we want to listen to whenever we’re in the mood for our favorite tunes. Still, there’s a unique appeal to the sound of old vinyl records — especially when you gather around the record player with friends.

Head down to Angel City Books & Records to pick up records from iconic artists, such as The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac. The store also buys and sells classic literature by the likes of Hemingway and James Joyce.

The old days may be gone, but you can still immerse yourself in breathtaking music and fiction while creating new memories.

Embracing the Unique Shopping Experience in Santa Monica, California

From vintage treasures at antique markets to contemporary jewelry in high-end boutiques, all kinds of shopping experiences abound in Santa Monica. When you’re done spending, make sure to head down to the beach and relax.

But for a little more excitement, come and watch one of our shows in Santa Monica. Our currency is wonder, and our artistic transactions will leave you more excited than any purchase. Watch as our performers ascend to new heights on the double highwire.

Grab your seats, and prepare to enter a world where the unexpected becomes reality right before your eyes. We hope to see you in the audience at our next show!

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