Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica

4.4
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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Third Street Promenade Reviews
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  • October 4, 2017
    Although it’s a bit of a tourist trap and meant to part wealthy travellers from their money, there’s a wide selection of shops to see and restaurants to visit. Also a good place to grab a coffee or a ...  more »
  • October 4, 2017
    Is a full, beautiful, nice place. Has several shops and restaurants. Always have some presentations on the street and stalls also. Worth the visit.
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  • October 3, 2017
    Do something so unusual as to stroll around and go shopping without us malls! To do this, with a variety of local restaurants, etc
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  • July 3, 2017
    I LOVE the Third Street Promenade! It has just about everything you can think of for shopping, and with such a fun and relaxing vibe with the pedestrian only streets! There's always street performers, oftentimes very talented, playing the violin or other musical instruments along the street, and crowds will often gather. If you can grab a spot on one of the benches, it's a very romantic and relaxing way to end an evening. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to choose from, you can find something for everyone! The Santa Monica Place mall right next to the Promenade is very nice as well and has many dining options. I love coming here to relax and shop and walk around! Despite the crowds, it still has a very chill and relaxing vibe to it.
  • June 29, 2017
    I really like this place for something to do with the family right off the Metro rail or a BIG BLUE BUS and grab a bite to eat at a nice bistro check out some of the great shops and now there's a Cheesecake Factory on the 3rd floor of the mall area. Oh and a block over is a movie theater. My daughters enjoy seeing some of the street performers and the funny crowds they draw in. I like it because it's an enjoyable family friendly activity that doesn't have to cost you a lot but is also great for those who want to go all out. Great stores, great foods all around, really fun atmosphere and a block or so away from the famous Santa Monica Pier and the strip.
  • May 1, 2017
    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.
  • June 14, 2017
    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.
  • May 22, 2017
    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.

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Where to stay in Santa Monica

Santa Monica's hotels range from luxury to boutique, offering more than 3,500 rooms located at or near the waterfront. Staying at a beachfront resort can cost a bundle, so if you have a limited budget in mind, consider accommodations away from the water. Hotels just a few blocks from the ocean offer comfortable rooms with free Wi-Fi and cable TV at a fraction of the cost charged by their beachfront equivalents. For an even more affordable stay, consider one of the city's inns or motels.
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