Spot marine life during a beachside yoga session and swim in a historic pool frequented by the stars in this smart Pacific-spying city.
The Southern California city of Santa Monica – with its scenic 25mi (41km) coastline, 100mi (160km) bike-trail network, 20 urban parks and sunny year-round weather – has long been an antidote to the bustle and busyness of neighboring Los Angeles. The iconic Santa Monica Pier marks the end of the famous Route 66, making it a great post-road trip pit stop, and the city’s high number of historic beachfront hotels bear witness to Santa Monica’s reputation as a place to escape. Here’s how to explore the coast in style.
The public pool at the Annenberg Community Beach House is on the site of the former oceanfront estate built in the 1920s by media mogul William Randolph Hearst for the actress Marion Davies and then frequented by Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and other stars of the day. The pool (one of the first heated pools created a century ago) is trimmed with tile work and hugged by a marble deck. The second floor of the Pool House offers spectacular views of the Pacific, and adult-only sunset swims are offered from 6pm-9pm.