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Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica

Categories: Shopping Malls, Concerts & Shows, Landmarks, Shopping, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 4,000+ reviews on the web
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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  • Typical sties except for a couple. Lots of street entertainers and some were fun to watch. Not clean which really took away for the area. 
  • A great range of shopping and eating venues. There is high end shops right through to average prices like TJMaxx. Fantastic cafes and restaurants for all types of cuisine. 
  • Wide variety of stores for all price points. Live entertainment throughout the day from singers and dancers. Fun place to visit and dine. 
  • It shouldn't be the 1st place you visit in Santa Monic and here's why: 1. It's nothing more than a mall without a roof. You won't find many local stores , it's just one long strip of find anywhere chain stores. 2. It's typically overrun with teens whose parents dump them there on weekends. 3. There's really nothing interesting here. It's just chain store after chain. A few positives: 1. There's plenty of parking and the LA Metro has a stop here. 2. It's clean, safe and offers good people watching. 3. It's pretty, but plenty of better stops to be had in Santa Monica.
  • I love downtown Santa Monica. It is very festive great for people watching offers amazing places to shop and I'm good local restaurants. I like the mix of people which consists of locals and tourists. The parking as convenient as well which is unheard of in Los Angeles. Great place for friends to hang and groups to meet up. There is always something to do from morning to late evening
  • Cute and touristy part of Santa Monica. Nice spot to grab dinner and drinks and to shop. Because it's a Promenade, of course there is lots of foot traffic. Sprinkled throughout the promenade are artists, musicians, and other fun acts to watch. It's kitschy, but it's still fun. Now that the expo line goes to Santa Monica, don't bother driving - it's a pain in the neck to navigate this area via car and you will miss out on a lot if you don't walk around.
  • great place for tourists, you can see different types of people performing and singing. you have a lot of stores and all kinds of food. there are a lot of parking structures on 4th street that give you 90 minutes for free. I recommend to go there early in the morning and you can get a beautiful and quite walk
  • First I have to advise that I rarely give out 5 stars. Second I don't care for large crowds. Went to 3rd Street with a friend on a sunny sunday afternoon at the end of July in some of the hottest temps for this summer.... Enough said I was not in my element. While the Promenade is very popular, to me it is just another shopping mall. The only highlight are the street performers. Some of them are fantastic, others not so much but still entertaining and courageous in all that they do. I wonder if they perform at night..... I would definitely suggest taking public transportation to get there as it took us two hours and we were only coming from the San Fernando Valley...
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