The beaches. An iconic pier. Miles of picturesque bike paths. Beautiful toned Southern California bodies.
These are just some of the images that come to mind when talking about Santa Monica, California. And while all of the above ring true, there is more depth to the story of this world renowned ‘burb situated in the big Los Angeles metropolis.
In the Beginning…
Located eight miles north of the Los Angeles International Airport and approximately 13 miles from downtown, the early roots of the city of Santa Monica run deep.
Its first inhabitants were the Chumash and Gabrielino Indians, followed by the Spanish led by Spanish Conquistador Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who arrived in 1542. Santa Monica did not gain its name, however, until over 200 years later, given by a Franciscan named Father Juan Crespi who was inspired to name it so after drinking from two, cool, free flowing area springs that reminded him of the story of St. Monica who wept for her errant son.
By the early 1800s, Mexico had taken the reigns and the city soon began to take shape. Many of the names of Santa Monica’s expansive boulevards, parks, smaller residential communities and the like found today were derived from Mexico’s occupation, coupled with later city founders who came here from all over the U.S. to take advantage of the growing commercial opportunities.
Today, Santa Monica encompasses eight distinctive residential, dining, culture and entertainment, shopping and outdoor recreation districts spanning a tad over eight, walkable, very pedestrian-friendly square miles, giving it a small town flavor and flair.
The topography here is unique, in that the surrounded area is highlighted by soaring mountains, meandering canyons, scenic valleys with rolling hills, and, of course, the sparkling Pacific Ocean and beautiful beaches.
And who can argue about the weather! Santa Monica boasts over 340 sunny days with mild year-round temperatures ranging the high 40s to the low-70s in the winter, and the 60s to the mid-80s in the summer.
When you add all of these elements together, you get a unique, charming, laid-back, welcoming, beach culture without many of the Los Angeles-esque trappings and attitudes surrounding fame, fortune and privilege.
We’ve got a lot more about Santa Monica coming up!
Read the Entire Feature Series!
Part 1 California Dreamin’ in Santa Monica
Part 2 Beauty and Activities 24/7 in Santa Monica
Part 3 Santa Monica: Beauty and the Beach
Part 4 Santa Monica, Where the Livin’ is Easy