Santa Monica

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Santa Monica: Our most recommended tours and activities

Aquarium of the Pacific: Skip-the-Ticket-Line Admission

1. Aquarium of the Pacific: Skip-the-Ticket-Line Admission

Take a journey of discovery at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Discover sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the Northern Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Come face-to-face with the ocean’s ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon, hand-feed colorful lorikeet birds, and watch the Magellanic penguins. Discover Pacific Visions where you explore underwater realms and future possibilities. The centerpiece, Honda Pacific Visions Theater, features an 8-minute film with multisensory effects. The massive 180-degree curved screen and floor projection disc encompass the viewers’ full range of vision, creating a uniquely immersive experience. The theater experience is included in admission.

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Los Angeles Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

2. Los Angeles Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour

Explore Los Angeles’ famous landmarks while you sit back and cruise through the city on an open-top bus and learn about Los Angeles’ unique history. You have the choice of personal recorded commentary, available in 9 languages, or an entertaining live commentary. This is the best way to discover all that Los Angeles has to offer. Our unique city tour and beach loop have a combined 22 stops for guests to hop-on or hop-off the bus to visit attractions and points of interest. Included in your ticket are two exciting loops. The Hollywood loop features views of the world-famous Hollywood sign, Walk of Fame, and Chinese Theatre. Explore Beverly Hills and the Rodeo Drive shopping area. See prehistoric fossils at the LaBrea Tar Pits and cruise the Sunset Strip. Discover a whole different side to LA by taking our Beach loop. Discover the sandy beaches and sun-soaked shoreline of Santa Monica and Venice Beach.  The Hollywood Loop (Red Route): 1) Big Bus Visitor Center Hollywood 2) TCL Chinese Theatre 3) Guitar Center “Rock Walk” 4) The Comedy Store 5) Whiskey A Go Go 6) Beverly Gardens Park 7) Beverly Hills / Rodeo Drive 8) Beverly Center 9) LACMA / La Brea Tarpits 10) Farmers Market / The Grove 11) Melrose Shopping 12) Paramount Studios  The Beach Loop (Blue Route): 1) Beverly Gardens Park 2) Beverly Hills / Rodeo Drive 3) Hammer Museum 4) Westwood Village / UCLA 5) 3rd Street Promenade / Santa Monica 6) Santa Monica Pier  7) Ocean Park Beach 8) Venice Boardwalk / Muscle Beach 9) Venice Beach / Marina Del Rey 10) Sony Studios Choose the 48-hour deluxe ticket option to add a guided Chinese Theatre walking tour and a Celebrity Homes and Lifestyles Tour to your hop-on, hop-off experience.

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Los Angeles: LA Grand Tour

3. Los Angeles: LA Grand Tour

Get a feel for the City of Angels with this full-day tour to some of its key sights. Experience a selection of its main attractions including ocean views and the Walk of Fame. After departing at 10:00 AM from Sunset Boulevard, be driven first to Santa Monica Pier. Stop here for 1 hour to take a walk down the pier, see beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean, and visit the 3rd Street Promenade. Next, drive to an outdoor farmer's market for a 1-hour lunch stop. Here you can enjoy some of the best food in LA, freshly prepared from local produce. Enjoy family-friendly activities and shop at the famous Grove in Beverly Hills. Then, head for the Griffith Observatory for views of the Hollywood Sign, space and science exhibits, and downtown LA. Finally, travel to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Check out Grauman's Chinese Theater, the Dolby Theater, and take a photo with your favorite celebrity's star.

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Los Angeles Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Ticket

4. Los Angeles Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Ticket

This hop-on, hop-off city sightseeing tour of Los Angeles allows you to see and explore greater Los Angeles. The narrated tour is now available in 9 languages. Enjoy the view from the open-air, double-decker bus as it takes you through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. Pick a 24-, 48-, or 72-hour pass, choose 1 of 3 Loops, or combine them and experience the freedom of a hop-on, hop-off city sightseeing tour. You may start from the Starline kiosk or at any of the stops. Board the Hollywood Tour to experience the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, including such world-famous sights as Rodeo Drive, Sunset Strip, Melrose Avenue shopping district, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theater, TCL Chinese Theatre, LACMA, Petersen Automotive Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, and much more. Travel between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica on board the Santa Monica Tour, enjoying stops along the way including Fox Studios, the 3rd Street Promenade, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier. Take a solar-powered Ferris wheel ride at the historic Santa Monica Pier, walk or bike along the marvelous Pacific coast, and enjoy the heaven of shops, restaurants, and attractions at 3rd Street promenade.

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Los Angeles: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 40+ Attractions

5. Los Angeles: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 40+ Attractions

The Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass is the only multi-attraction pass that gets you into over 40 top attractions in the city for one low price. Save up to 45% off retail prices on admission and pay nothing at the gate. In addition, when you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day pass, you also get a ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood. Visit The Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, Aquarium of the Pacific, Dolby Theatre, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, and many more of the best things to do in L.A., Hollywood, and beyond. There’s no need to decide in advance what you want to see, and you can take up to 2 weeks from when you first use the pass to use the remaining days on your pass. The free digital guide helps you decide what to do, where to go, how to get there, and even includes the best times to visit. The 3-, 5-, and 7-day All-Inclusive passes also include free admission to Universal Studios Hollywood as an added bonus. Activities, attractions, and tours included with the Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass: Theme Parks: • Universal Studios Hollywood Ticket (3+ day passes only) • Knott's Berry Farm • Six Flags Magic Mountain • LEGOLAND California (choice between San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND) Outdoors: • Pacific Park - Santa Monica Pier • Whale Watching in San Pedro or Long Beach • Catalina Flyer (Ferry to Catalina Island) • Harbor Breeze Whale Watching Tour - Long Beach • Perry's Beach Cafe and Rentals - Mountain Bike or Roller-Skates (All Day) • Hollywood Hike by Bikes & Hikes (10:30 AM only) • Celebrity Bike Tour by Bikes & Hikes LA (choice between self-guided or guided tour) • Whale Watching & Dolphin Cruises - Newport Landing• Harbor Cruise in Long Beach or San Pedro Guided Tours: • Big Bus Los Angeles 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Tour • Big Bus Celebrity Lifestyle and Homes Tour • Dolby Theater Guided Tour • Sony Pictures Studio Tour • Starline Tours: Malibu Celebrity Homes Tour • Food, Arts, Culture DTLA Walking Tour • Hollywood Behind-the-Scenes Tour by Red Line Tours Family-Friendly: • Madame Tussauds Hollywood • Aquarium of the Pacific • TCL Chinese Theater - Tour or Movie and a drink (choice between TCL Chinese Theater or Hollywood Museum) • Santa Monica Pier Aquarium • LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens • California Science Center IMAX Movie • San Diego Zoo (choice between San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND) • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles • K1 Speed Indoor Karting Museums and Entertainment: • Hollywood Museum (choice between TCL Chinese Theater or Hollywood Museum) • GRAMMY Museum • Battleship IOWA Museum • La Brea Tar Pits and Museum • Autry Museum of the American West • Museum of Latin American Art • Cabrillo Maritime Museum • Huntington Library and Gardens • Los Angeles, A Journey Through Time in Film • South Coast Shop & Dine Package • Shanti Hot Yoga • LA Galaxy Soccer Game Ticket

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Los Angeles: 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience

6. Los Angeles: 30-Minute Tandem Paragliding Experience

Fly on a large paraglide with an instructor and enjoy the comfortable first-class seat above the beach, ocean, and foothills. Admire the breathtaking views and keep an eye out for whales, dolphins, rays, sharks, deer, mountain lions, hawks, vultures, and other fascinating wildlife. Ride thermals with hawks and vultures, and spiral down over the Pacific Ocean – you will love it! You will take off from the beach or the 3,000-foot mountain top. This involves running a few steps, usually under 20. Your landing is easy after stretching your legs and leaning forward as you land on the soft sandy beach. The tandem paragliding flight is very gentle but for the more adventurous of you, it can be made more extreme if you want it to be.

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Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

7. Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

Start your tour at Mother's Beach. Your guide will provide information about the local environment and marine life, kayaking/paddle-boarding techniques, and safety while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of Los Angeles boaters realm. Then board your kayaks and paddle towards the main channel of the Marina. On the way, observe the beautiful and extraordinary boats. Begin your search for sea lions, birds, dolphins, and other marine life.

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California Coastline Helicopter Tour

8. California Coastline Helicopter Tour

Glide through the melting sunset over the California Coastline, sweep over the Santa Monica Mountains, or get great views over the exclusive homes of the Pacific Palisades. This is a unique and thrilling 30-minute helicopter tour exploring the Los Angeles Coast. The California Coastline tour is available at any time during the day and is a must for anyone who loves the ocean. Take off from the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, heading south to fly over the Santa Monica Mountains and drop down into the spectacular coastal homes of Pacific Palisades. Fly low-level along the world famous beaches of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier, and Venice. On your way back to the Airport, you'll fly over the new Getty Center, with its grand architecture appearing ever more dramatic from the sky.

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Los Angeles: Private Full-Day Tour by SUV

9. Los Angeles: Private Full-Day Tour by SUV

Enjoy a flexible sightseeing tour through Los Angeles. After the pick-up at your hotel you will begin the tour through El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula – this is the name the natives once gave the city. Experience an exciting and informative tour. Learn about the history of the city as well as the current developments. Visit the famous Hollywood sign up close and see the world-famous film studios. Stroll along the Walk of Fame and learn more about the stars who are listed here. Continue on past the Kodak Theatre, the location where the coveted Oscars is held. Afterwards you will see the Chinese Theatre with the famous hand and footprints. You will then head through West Hollywood on the Sunset Strip. There you can admire the famous Viper Room, the Whisky a Go Go, the legendary rock club, and various famous hotels before driving to Beverly Hills and the world-famous Rodeo Drive. See the store from which Julia Roberts was kicked out of in the movie Pretty Woman. At the end of the tour you can enjoy the fantastic views on the pier in Santa Monica and explore the bohemian district of Venice Beach.

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Malibu: Vintage VW Hippie Sightseeing Tour with Wine Tasting

10. Malibu: Vintage VW Hippie Sightseeing Tour with Wine Tasting

You will meet with the tour guide at the Santa Monica Pier, where you'll be able to take cool photos with a classic hippie VW van, jump in, and head towards Malibu for wine tasting. Taste 4-6 different local wines, along with cheese, salami, and a cracker plate. After spending some time in the wine tasting room and learning the history of Malibu vineyards, drive up north along the astonishingly picturesque coastline towards the mountains, where all the vineyards are located.     Pass different vineyards and stop at a few viewpoints, where everyone will be able to take great pictures with the VW van and the beautiful Malibu landscapes. On the way down you will visit Point Dume with its breathtaking views on the cliffs and the ocean. After spending some time there,  stop at famous Malibu Pier, where you'll be able to take a walk and capture these moments with your phone or camera. From here, you'll have an uninterrupted view of the Santa Monica Mountains.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Santa Monica

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What people are saying about Santa Monica

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 1,891 reviews

We had only a few days in LA and it was our first time there. So this was a great way to quickly cover the touristy stuff in the city, and get some interesting fun facts about locations as you go through the city. We didn't have to use any public transportation as the place we were staying was close to one of the stops.

This was my first time in LA and this tour ry helped with the overview of the LA city and got a great understanding of the city.In 7 hours I learnt a lot.

Great lesson, a lot of fun, there were just the 2 of us and pacho was a great instructor

Was a lot of fun. The bus came right on time and alexy was a great instructor.

Best experience and time I’ve had, and great way to learn about the place