Santa Monica


Santa Monica is a vibrant epicenter of culture, cuisine and commerce. The echoes of the long-gone Spanish mission bells that once rang here have been replaced by delighted shouts of boisterous beachgoers, the clink of glasses at happy hour and the constant susurration of bedazzled tourists. “It’s a fantastic city if you can find a place,” says local Realtor Matt Tilley. “It has a ton of great shops and restaurants, there’s always something going on, and of course, the beach is amazing. The only problem is, people don’t often leave, so you might have to wait a bit for the right place to open up.” The local housing market in Santa Monica reflects the desirability of living in such an idyllic location.

While it’s occasionally possible to find smaller inland apartments (under 900 square feet) for under a million, the vast majority of homes in the city sell for well above that price point. The luxury condos near the beach typically offer 1,200 to 2,000 square feet and can sell for anywhere from $1.4 for a smaller ground-floor unit to over $4 million for a spacious penthouse. As for the single-family homes in the city, you can find both classic and modern beach houses offering 2,500 to 4,500 square feet of finished space, which generally sell for between $3 to $6 million, depending on their size and proximity to the beach. Throughout the city, you can expect to find carefully manicured yards and topiary, along with dazzling ocean views.

The best way to appreciate Santa Monica is to wander through its sunny streets, lined with palm trees that stand like giants, their fronds casting dappled shadows on the ground. Strolling along, you may find yourself drawn to the thrumming energy of Third Street Promenade: a pedestrian-only wonderland teeming with singers, magicians and artists. But the Promenade is more than just a stage for the talented. It’s lined with major retailers like Apple, Patagonia and Lululemon, attracting shoppers searching for the latest gadgets, outdoor gear, or athletic wear. At the same time, locally owned boutiques such as Moondance Jewelry Gallery offer unique treasures to discerning buyers. Grocery shoppers, meanwhile, can head to Trader Joe’s or — if it’s Wednesday or Saturday morning — swing by the farmers market; they’re both just a block from the Promenade.

The city boasts a diverse range of restaurants, catering to the most eclectic palates. Cassia, for instance, has made a name for itself with its contemporary Asian fusion cuisine, while Michael’s delights with its farm-to-table fare, served in a lush garden setting. Or you can try some traditional Mexican cuisine at Santa Monica staple Gilbert’s El Indio.
No mention of Santa Monica would be complete without a nod to the historic Santa Monica Pier, stretching out into the deep blue ocean. It features a carousel, arcade and Pacific Park amusement park, as well as excellent views. The Pier also happens to be the endpoint of iconic Route 66 and has been capping family road trips for nearly a century. Then, of course, there’s the beach itself. It’s perfect for surfing, swimming, beach volleyball or just lying down on a beach towel and reading a book.

On top of all of that, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is one of the strongest districts in LA County. Santa Monica High School is a particular standout: rated 9/10 on Greatschools, SaMoHi, as it’s known locally, has produced a number of famous alumni — including Robert Downey Jr. and Sean Penn — and offers students a variety of learning pathways, from Computer Science and Engineering to Graphic Design and Career Technical Education.

Santa Monica is a celebration of the spirit of Southern California — the fusion of beachside leisure and urban sophistication. Here, one can find solace in the ocean’s embrace and a sense of belonging in the tapestry of people who call this city home.