Looking for fun things to do in Santa Monica? This beautiful city is great place filled with lots of fun activities, beautiful beaches, nature exploration, good food, and live entertainment. Located in Los Angeles, just South of Malibu and North of Venice Beach. Santa Monica is known as one of the most iconic locations on the west coast and perfect for a family vacation!
There are loads of family-friendly things to do in Santa Monica. With a little help from our short guide, enjoy all the best that Santa Monica has to offer for your family’s visit.
Keep reading to learn more.
15 Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids
Visit a Santa Monica Beach
One of the best things to do in Santa Monica is head to the pacific ocean and visit to one or all of its state-managed beaches. Each beach features restrooms, showers, and lifeguards.
Take in the gorgeous ocean views and check out what each unique beach has to offer for family fun and amusement.
This part of Santa Monica State Beach stretches from north of the Santa Monica Pier to the city limits. Here are a few activities and amenities that make North Beach worth a visit:
- Amusement park at the pier
- Paved biking path
- Ages 2-8 Playground
- Sport courts
- Picnic areas
Dogs are not allowed on the beach. The main parking lot is located next to the pier and does have fees.
This is a very wide sandy beach (also known as Ocean Park Beach) is located south of the pier. There are so many recreational activities at South Beach in addition to sites to see.
- Amusement park at the pier
- Marvin Braude Bike Trail
- Many parks
- Picnic areas
- Sports courts
- Bodybuilding facilities
Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
The main parking lot is on the west end of Ocean Park Boulevard. Additional parking can be found along Ocean Avenue and Barnard Way. All have parking fees.
Located in the northernmost section, this beach is famous for its volleyball courts. Both advanced and beginner players can participate in competitions held right on the beach. Additional activities include:
- Start of a paved bike path connecting to other beaches
- Bike and Segway tours
- Hollywood sign views from the beach
If you have children that love biking and skating, they will have 20 miles of the paved path at the start of Sorrento Beach.
Dogs are not allowed on the beach.
A walking overpass allows access to the beach from downtown Santa Monica. The main parking lot is located at Montana Avenue. There are fees for parking in the lot.
This theme park is an iconic destination and one of the top things to do in Santa Monica. Located between Venice Beach and the renowned Original Muscle Beach at the end of Route 66. Includes 12 fun rides, such as the West Coaster roller coaster and the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific Wheel. All the rides, games, and fun you’d expect from one of Southern California’s top entertainment venues are enjoyed by millions of visitors each year. There are a dozen rides, carnival games, speciality restaurants by the water, ice cream, and coastal shops at Pacific Park.
380 Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica, CA 90401-3128
Located in the center of Downtown Santa Monica, the renowned outdoor 3rd Street Promenade shopping experience has major retailers, name-brand clothes, shops, and eateries. On any given day, you’ll most likely find a variety of street performers and different events.
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Marine life along the shores of Santa Monica encourages the young to ask questions. Encourage their curiosity with visits to discovery centers. The award-winning Heal the Bay Aquarium is the ideal place to immerse yourself in marine science, with over 100 local species on display like sea urchins, hands-on exhibits and interactive activities for all ages, and daily educational events. Admission is free for children under 12 years of age.
1600 Ocean Front Walk
Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Beach House is a distinctive, welcoming destination for the community that combines a rich history with modern conveniences, breathtaking vistas, a splash pad, a playground, open seating, free wi-fi, beach courts and fields, and community and cultural activities. Visit the Gold Coast vintage guest home any time of year, and in the summer, cool down in the original swimming pool. Everyone may find enjoyment here!
415 Pacific Coast Highway *
Santa Monica, CA, 90402
*Important: Address may appear as 415 Palisades Beach Road, Santa Monica, CA in some navigational systems the Questions? Call 310-458-4904
By encouraging the success of Californian farmers and small food enterprises, the preservation of the agricultural arts, and the development of sustainable food systems, Santa Monica Farmers Markets help to promote flourishing, dynamic communities that are inclusive, connected, and varied.
Farmers visit the Downtown, Main Street, and Pico areas on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays to participate in one of four weekly markets.
Parks & Playgrounds
The city of Santa Monica hosts numerous well-maintained parks for kid-friendly things to do and hiking trails in Santa Monica. Here are just a few that offer unique activities and features for your whole family:
1652 Ocean Front Walk
Open sunrise to sunset, Chess Park is an outdoor area with tables with chessboards. It also features a human scale board that can be played with large playing pieces. Go to the Police Substation on the pier to check out playing pieces.
1615 Ocean Avenue
The park is divided into 4 areas: Observation Hill, Discovery Hill, Garden Hill, and Gathering Hill. Some features include:
- Play area with splash pad
- Unique gardens
- Amphitheater with free performances
- Overlook views of water features
- Walking paths
- Picnic areas
Dogs are welcome in the park. Your family will appreciate the many shady areas for picnics and playtime.
The former filming location for the tv series “Baywatch”. This is a 25-acre park with beautiful overlook ocean views, artwork on display, picnic areas, and a rose garden.
A bustling neighborhood park, Douglas Park offers a variety of activities for all ages. Tennis courts, a lawn bowling green, and other amenities are all present in the park. There are several open spaces with grass where you may have a picnic, play areas for kids, and calm strolling pathways all across the park.
- lawn bowling green
- 3 reflecting pools
- fly fishing area
- picnic tables and benches
- children’s playground (there is no splash pad at this site)
- 2 tennis courts with lights (drop-in use)
- 1 restroom building
The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
A museum designed to recreate a Roman country house. It has ancient art, unique gardens, and a reflection pool. Admission is free but requires a reservation.
Santa Monica Community Gardens
Three locations are available for visitors to tour or locals can participate in growing their own gardens with registration. The city focuses on educating about gardening with free Santa Monica activities for the public.
Learning and fun are abundant in Santa Monica. Here are just 3 of the many that are worth a visit.
3100 Airport Avenue
The Museum’s collection includes a wide range of authentic Douglas Aircraft Company relics, as well as exhibitions, aviation art, and a variety of aircraft, including a Wright Flyer replica and jet-age aircraft. Features the California Aviation Hall of Fame and any interactive activities for the kids including a flight simulator. Parking is free and ticket prices for children ages 3-12 are only $6 admission.
3DAR Trick Museum
1254 3rd Street Promenade
The kids will have a blast learning about augmented reality art. Over 40 interactive scenes to takes pics and post to social media. Tickets can be purchased online and you get free 90-minute parking.
395 Santa Monica Place
21,000 square feet of discovery-based exhibits and immersive play activities for children 0-10 years old. Lots of climbing and maker adventures!
L.A. County residents have a “pay as you wish” donation for admission. Free 90 minute parking.
2525 Michigan Avenue, Santa Monica, California 90404
Bergamot is an internationally renowned creative arts complex, boasting some 30 venerable galleries and creative businesses.
It’s fun to listen to local musicians along the beaches but take the opportunity to explore some planned concerts that are geared toward children, too.
Americana in the Park
1819 Stewart Street
The city of Santa Monica has partnered with McCabe’s Guitar Shop to host a series of concerts at Gandara Park. Opening acts are geared to children and feature music that explores the development of American music.
Concerts are Sundays 3-6 pm and have free admission.
Main Street Farmer’s Market
2640 Main Street
Santa Monica has 3 locations for farmer’s markets that offer fresh produce and meats for purchase.
The Main Street location also features live concerts on Sunday for free. Hours are 9:30 am – 1 pm. Children’s activities often include face painting.
Santa Monica offers a wide selection of foods from all over the world. Many are family-friendly and even feature activities for children.
Back on the Beach Cafe
Part of The Annenberg Community Beach House, this cafe is right on the beach. Relax and eat from a well-stocked menu complete with kids’ selections. Children can play within view on swings or bike on the paved path in front of outdoor tables.
Find More Fun Things to Do in Santa Monica and Southern California
Local Anchor hopes this informational article was helpful to you. With so many entertaining things to do in Santa Monica, it’s hard to list just 15 suggestions.
Check out our site for additional locations in Southern California to explore. We offer family-friendly local resources to encourage and support a thriving community.