Santa Monica is an American city that is situated in Los Angeles County, California. It is located on Santa Monica Bay and has Los Angeles to the northwest, Brentwood to the north and Mar Vista on the east. The city covers an area of sixteen square miles and has a population of almost ninety thousand residents. Santa Monica has a robust economy and is the home for many successful businesses. These include Business.com, Lions Gate Films, LowerMyBills.com, The Playtone Company, High Impact Games, Studio Santa Monica, Naughty Dog, Activision, SCE Studios and Insomniac Games. There are also many companies which have branch offices in the city including the Design Center California for Volkswagen, Edmunds.com, Microsoft, MTV, Google, Yahoo and Universal. Santa Monica can trace its history to the eighteenth century when Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola camped in the area. It was named to honor Saint Monica’s Feast Day.
The northern most areas of Santa Monica at one time was owned by Rancho San Vicente y Santa Monica and Rancho Boca de Santa Monica. In 1872, Colonel Robert Baker purchased thirty-eight thousand acres of land from Jose del Carmen Sepulveda for a tidy sum of fifty-four thousand dollars. Two years later, Baker sold half of his interest in the property to Senator John P. Jones of Nevada. In 1886, the city incorporated and formed a city government based on the council & mayor model. Shortly after, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line to Los Angeles and there was debate as to where to place a sea port. Many people thought that the port should be located at San Pedro Bay, but the railroad wanted to place it at Santa Monica. In 1893, the Long Wharf was constructed at the northern end of Santa Monica to accommodate big ships. In 1897, San Pedro Bay was selected as the port of choice by the United States Congress. While this was disappointing to many land owners in Santa Monica, it allowed the city to keep its charm. Today, Santa Monica enjoys almost year round sunshine, with the average being about three hundred and twenty-five days of sunshine a year. The city does regularly get a thick morning fog, due to its proximity to Santa Monica Bay.
Santa Monica has a vast array of attractions available to visitors and tourists. One of the more popular attractions in the city is the Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica Pier was built in September of 1909 and was used originally to carry sewer pipes beyond the breakers. In 1916, Charles Loof and his son built an adjacent and adjoining pier to the south called Newcomb Pier. In 1922, a Carousel was erected on Pleasure Pier and it features forty-four hand carved horses. The pier today contains Pacific Park, a famous attraction in its own right. Pacific Park is a family friendly amusement park that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. It includes a Ferris Wheel (Pacific Wheel) that gives riders an excellent view of the ocean and a roller coaster (West Coaster) that encircles most of the park. Pacific Park contains a variety of other rides which include Inkie’s Scrambler, Sea Dragon, Gyro Loop, Pacific Plunge, Ship Ahoy, Sig Alert, Red Baron, Pier Patrol, Eurobungy and Frog Hopper.
Santa Monica Beach is another popular attraction in the city. It covers an area of two miles and has picnic areas, shops and the Santa Monica Pier. It also contains many staffed lifeguard stations, food vendors, equipment rental kiosks, public fitness facilities, volleyball courts and a bike trail. South of the volleyball courts is Muscle Beach. Muscle Beach contains various forms of athletic equipment and is a popular haunt for bodybuilders. Features of Muscle Beach include parallel bars, chin-up bars, jungle gyms, rings and a gymnastic area. A little bit further out is the International Chess Park. This park contains a huge person sized chessboard set into the sidewalk and many public chess tables. Located on top of the sandstone cliffs of Santa Monica is Palisade Park. This park gives an excellent view of Santa Monica Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Just to the north of Santa Monica Pier is a temporary memorial in honor of soldies serving in the Iraq War. Every Sunday evening, crosses are placed on the beach for each United States soldier who has died during the Iraq War. The number of crosses now exceeds forty-five hundred. The Museum of Flying is another prominent attraction in Santa Monica. This museum was founded by Donald Douglas Jr. in 1974 and was called the Douglas Museum and Library. It was moved to the north of the airport and renamed the Museum of Flying in 1989. Today, the museum covers an area of twenty-two thousand square feet and contains over fifty planes.
Other popular attractions in the city of Santa Monica include Magicopolis, Angel’s Attic Museum, Santa Monica Playhouse, Bergamot Station, Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Farmers Market, Legends Beach Bike Tours, City Garage Theater, Montana Avenue, California Heritage Museum, BBC Vintage Clothing, Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, Santa Monica Place, Gallery 8, Santa Monica Visitor Center, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Craig Krull Gallery, Peter Fetterman Gallery, Patricia Correia Gallery, Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Christopher Grimes Gallery, Angles Gallery, Bruce Kapson Gallery, FIG Gallery, Cambridge Art Gallery, Jurassic Museum, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Children’s Nature Institute, Burke Williams Spa, Bronson Fine Arts, Frumkin-Duval Gallery, Urban Outfitters, Adamm’s Stained Glass & Art Glass Gallery and Annenberg Community Beach House.
The city is also home to a wide array of different restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels. Restaurants and bars in the city include Musha Restaurant, Border Grill, Chez Jay Restaurant, The Lobster, IL Fornaio Restaurant & Bakery, Houston’s Restaurant, El Cholo Restaurant, The Galley Restaurant, Drago Restaurant, Wilshire Restaurant, Jiraffe Restaurant, Wokcano Asian Restaurant & Lounge, Boa Steakhouse, Valentino Italian Restaurant and Busby’s West Restaurant Bar. Prominent hotels in the city of Santa Monica include Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Le Merigot Beach Hotel & Spa, Shangri-La Hotel, Best Western Gateway Hotel, Fairmont Miramar Luxury Hotel & Bungalows, Bayside Hotel, Ambrose Hotel, Cal Mar Hotel Suites Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Pico Blvd Travelodge.