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Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica

(4,600+ reviews on the web)
Shopping Shopping Mall
The Third Street Promenade is an upscale shopping, dining and entertainment complex in the downtown area of Santa Monica, California. It is considered a premier shopping and dining district on the Westside and draws crowds from all over the Greater Los Angeles Area. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean coupled with Los Angeles's mild climate, it is also a popular tourist destination.HistoryThird Street Promenade has been a center of business in Santa Monica since the town's inception in the late 19th century. The Promenade's roots date back to the 1960s when three blocks of Third Street were converted into a pedestrian mall. Although successful, by the late 1970s, the Santa Monica Mall (as it was then called), was in need of modernization and a redesign. A new enclosed shopping center, Santa Monica Place (1980–2007), designed by Frank Gehry was added at the Promenade's southern end. A citywide bond measure was issued and architectural firm ROMA Design Group was hired to redesign Santa Monica Mall. The renamed Third Street Promenade opened on September 16, 1989, and has since become the nationally recognized success that it is today. The project was part of a larger redevelopment effort, encompassing several blocks of Downtown Santa Monica. Santa Monica Place has since been renovated into a new open-air shopping and dining experience that re-opened on August 6, 2010.Although wildly successful, many long-time local residents of Santa Monica have mixed feelings about the Third Street Promenade, particularly about the homogenized stores and restaurants and the loss of the distinct personality and individuality provided by such independent stores as the Midnight Special Bookstore, present in the original mall. This "clone" aspect makes Third Street Promenade almost indistinguishable from any other outdoor plaza in the Los Angeles area (such as Americana at Brand, Old Town Pasadena, or Universal City Walk). Other points of contention for locals center on the increased traffic along Santa Monica Blvd, Wilshire Blvd. and Arizona Avenue, and over-crowded parking structures. Parking appears to be a continuous issue for the residents and visitors of the Third Street Promenade. Startups such as ParkMe.Inc (a Santa Monica-based technology startup) have launched services to ease this ever-present problem.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • A nice place for a walk in the evening. Lots of shops, some street entertainers, etc. An interesting place.  more »
  • There is blocks and blocks of restaurants, bars, shopping and street performers. We stayed at a hotel right near the promonade so we were in walking distance to everything. It's very clean and beautif...  more »
  • Lovely pedestrian street with street performers. Packed with people on a Sunday afternoon but great place to people watch as family members shop. Great place to take teens who love shopping since it h...  more »
Google
  • Always something to see and participate in while shopping a large variety of different shops and restaurants. The weather is absolutely beautiful 95% of the time all year round. Be prepared for traffic on Saturdays and Sundays but not so much in the mornings or after 6 p.m. . And be prepared for delicious food wherever you decide to eat because these restaurant take putting together meals serious! Most places are a bit pricey, but you can find some affordable restaurants that also compete well with the high-end ones. However if you decide to spend top dollar you will not be disappointed because every restaurant puts both elbows into whipping up amazing and unique meals around the globe!!! Best Yet the population that frequents this area is extremely diverse ranging from locals to tourists and all life in the cities under the sun period a very safe and inviting area which is heavily patrolled by Santa Monica Police to keep things on the up-and-up at all times.
  • Love this spot. If you've never been to LA before and are looking for things to do and see, make this one of them. It's blocked off to cars and there's some great shopping and eating to do here. And if you get bored, it's a short walk to the world famous Santa Monica Pier. The beach is right there also. And if you like walking, take a stroll down the path along Ocean blvd. It's beautifully landscaped and takes you right along the cliff that over looks the PCH, the beach and best of all...the ocean. It's a great place to picnic too if that's your thing.
  • Great outdoor shopping plaza with solidly middle to upper middle class stores, wide selection of shops and restaurants. Relatively safe, well maintained and diverse variety of clientele that shop here. Professional offices and high end apartments ensure a good mix of well to do crowds that keep things very chic and stylish. Easy parking and also accessible by Metro Rail and buses. Highly recommended.
  • Beautiful place to come shop, eat or even visit the beach. Very close to Santa Monica pier, about a 5 minute walk. Really good selection of stores and good selection of restaurants either on the promenade or in very short walking distance on a cross street. People also perform up and down the promenade so you can listen to a live show as you shop your way through the stores. It's gets pretty busy especially on weekends, but highly recommend going!
  • Tends to be a bit expensive, but it's a nice destination trip. You can easily walk to the beach and find a shop for what ever your needs are. Mall and play place at the end of the promenade are very nice. Kids can play and you get a dazzling view of the promenade or ocean