Santa Monica is a beach city (like Culver City and Beverly Hills it's not part of the City of Los Angeles) with a vibrant business and social scene. It's got many distinct parts with their own characteristics.
For example, in the southwest corner of Santa Monica is hip Main Street, which is lined with boutiques, ice cream shops, restaurants, and bars. Around this area and heading east you'll find small apartment buildings and single-family homes in a variety of styles, including beautiful Victorian and Craftsman style houses set back from the beach.
Downtown Santa Monica is home to office towers full of startups, large technology and media companies like Demand Media, Yahoo!, and Riot Games, venture capitalists, and many other businesses. It's also home to the commercial tourist trap of the Third Street Promenade, which is lined with chain stores and mediocre dining.
Just north of downtown is the upscale shopping on Montana Avenue and the largest and most expensive homes here. Dotted throughout Santa Monica are small shopping plazas and pockets of business and homes.
Santa Monica attracts a lot of tourists, so the beach and its famous pier can be extremely crowded. Restaurants and bars near the water can also be packed.
There are a number of terrific elementary, middle, and high schools here.
If you live and work in Santa Monica you can get around with public transportation or a bike. A light rail station in Downtown Santa Monica is an easy way to get into Downtown Los Angeles for work or cultural events.
Burbank: 23.1 miles / 35-75 minutes by car / 110-125 minutes by transit
Century City: 7.4 miles / 15-35 minutes by car / 35 minutes by transit
Downtown LA: 15.7 miles / 30-55 minutes by car / 65-75 minutes by transit
Photo Credits: Thanks to @santamonicadna, @santamonicaliving, @santamonicapier, @santamonica_pier, @santamonica_local, @mikekasem, @derekmaxday, @drlannyjuniarti, @plutusdesignslab, @ge_choo, @lindsaylombardo, @rossschoeman, @heatherhgx, @keelycomparan, @TrailDogs for your great photos of this neighborhood!