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Santa Monica

Santa Monica offers the best of a relaxed beach town with the amenities of a bustling city.

Technically part of tech heavy Silicon Beach, it is an expansive area all its own with smaller pockets of distinct personalities. Really there is an area for everyone here, you just have to know what you like and what you can afford. Originally a resort beach town, there was a big revitalization of the downtown area, which is now an expansive business district and entertainment hub. The Third Street Promenade is filled with shopping, dining, and more with big chain restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory and three different movie theaters. There are plenty of amenity-filled apartment buildings in and around this busy and compact city center, but outside the tourist heavy commercial area, there are the more low-key neighborhoods like Mid-City, the laid-back beach areas like Ocean Park, and the more upscale tree-lined streets North of Montana. There are also plenty of more casual dining options along Main Street and Montana Avenue as well as four weekly farmers markets that have ranked among the best in the country by Travel + Leisure Magazine.

The residents here are definitely some of the healthiest and fitness obsessed in the county, so there is no shortage of yoga and pilates studios or post workout smoothie bars. Santa Monica State Beach stretches for 3.5 miles along the coast and includes the Santa Monica pier, plenty of paths for biking and running, volleyball courts in the sand, and the several private beach clubs. Inland from the beach, there are several parks, including Clover Park and Douglas Park, which host a number of outdoor activities like basketball, baseball, tennis and playgrounds. One of the most visited fitness destinations here are the Santa Monica Stairs, two sets of thigh burning climbs where you’ll see weekend warriors flock in the morning for a cardio blast. The public schools here are also some of the best in the country, regularly recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for academic excellence.

Cocktail: The Bungalows

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