After leaving the California Science Center I took the Metro Expo Line — soon to be renamed the E Line and combined with the Gold Line — all the way to the last stop in Santa Monica.
It stops a couple blocks from the beach right by the touristy Santa Monica Pier. Not having been to Santa Monica before I decided to wander around the pier just to see what’s there.
The pier has a few restaurants, a small amusement park with rides called Pacific Park, an arcade, a lot of buskers, and some very nice views. In a lot of ways it felt like a smaller version of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk but with much nicer weather.
It wasn’t particularly crowded when I went but that’s hardly surprising considering it was a Monday afternoon in October. I was more surprised the rides were running at all — there were no lines.
The beach around the pier is fairly pleasant. Lovely sand, lots of space to walk around, sun tan, or play volleyball. Probably best to stay away from the pier if you want to go out in the water though as they do allow fishing from certain parts of the pier.
Walking back up from the beach I wandered along the bike and pedestrian path next to the beach at street level. For whatever reason there’s a couple of old cannons placed there.
As I followed the signs to the nearby downtown area, I saw an older pale guy with long hair, sunglasses with small lenses, a cane, and a mumbling British accent who was having a friendly conversation with a storekeeper. If I didn’t know better — and to be clear I do not — I’d say that guy was Ozzy Osbourne. Then again Halloween’s coming up so who knows.
The focus of downtown Santa Monica seems to be the Third Street Promenade, a pedestrian street with numerous restaurants, mall stores, two movie theaters, kiosks, and some very 1980’s water features with a dinosaur theme. Unlike most downtown areas these days there’s plenty of seats if you’d like to take a break.
Again, none of this was particularly busy on a Monday afternoon.
On the South end of Third Street there’s a more traditional mall with a Nordstrom. Walking through that mall leads right back to the end station of the Expo Line.
There’s quite a bit more to see in Santa Monica if you have the time of course. The nearby Cat Cafe Lounge would be at the top of my list.