Our most recommended things to do in Santa Monica, California

LA: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Open-Top Sightseeing Tour

1. LA: Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off Open-Top Sightseeing Tour

Are you ready to explore the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles in style? This tour is perfect for those who want to see the best of LA without the hassle of driving or navigating public transportation. With an open-top double-decker bus, you'll have the perfect vantage point to take in all the sights and sounds of this iconic city. Ride through the streets of LA and lay eyes on the stunning views of the city's most famous landmarks, including the Hollywood Sign, the Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, and the Sunset Strip. Sit back, relax, and let the Big Bus take you on a journey through the heart of LA. With your ticket, you'll get access to two distinct sightseeing loops, plus fun and professional digital commentary with insights on the culture and hidden stories of LA. Learn about the history of Hollywood on the Red Route, or explore the world-famous beaches of Santa Monica on the Blue Route. Each loop offers a unique experience, so you can tailor your tour to your interests. You have the freedom to hop off the bus at any of the stops along the route, so you can explore the city at your own pace. Want to grab a bite to eat in Beverly Hills, take a tour of Universal Studios, see the movie magic at Warner Bros., or do some shopping on Rodeo Drive? Hop off the bus and take your time – the Big Bus will be back to pick you up when you're ready to continue your tour. Add the 2-hour Celebrity Homes & Lifestyle Tour to your ticket for a bespoke journey into the exclusive world of Hollywood royalty. This immersive tour takes you on a brush with fame as you pass the luxurious homes of stars from film, TV and music, including iconic names such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Kylie Jenner and many more. Explore elegant neighborhoods like the Hollywood Hills, Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive to discover dozens of recognizable filming locations and landmarks from your favorite movies and TV shows. With comfortable seating, informative commentary, and unbeatable views, the Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour is the ultimate way to experience all that Los Angeles has to offer. Book your ticket today and get ready for an unforgettable adventure through the City of Angels!

Los Angeles: City Sightseeing Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour

2. Los Angeles: City Sightseeing Hop-On, Hop-Off Tour

Explore the most iconic landmarks in Los Angles on this sightseeing hop-on hop-off open-top double-decker bus tour. Discover the best of the city at your own pace with over 40+ stops across multiple tour routes including Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood & Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Venice Beach. For the Downtown Los Angeles route, start at stop #31. See 15 historical stops including Engine Co., the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Olvera Street, the Grand CTR Market, the Bradbury Building, and the Convention Center. Enjoy Hollywood & Beverly Hills from the start, at stop #1. With this route, see the Dolby Theatre, which is home to the Oscars. After stopping at the theatre, proceed to the Laugh Factory, Comedy Store, Sunset Strip, Beverly Center, Farmers Market, and Melrose Avenue. Starting at stop #57, discover Santa Monica and Venice Beach. It includes 16 stops including the infamous Beverly Hills, One Westside Shopping Center, Santa Monica Pier, Wilshire Blvd., and the Beverly Hilton.

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

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

The Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass by Go City gets you into over 40 top attractions in the city for one low price. Save up to 50%* on admission compared to buying individual tickets and pay nothing at the gate. Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific, Dolby Theatre, Madame Tussauds Hollywood, and many more of the best things to do in L.A., Hollywood, and beyond. In addition, when you buy a 3-, 5- or 7-day pass, you also get a ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood. You can take up to 2 weeks from when you first use the pass to use the remaining calendar days on your pass. The free digital guide helps you decide what to do, where to go, how to get there and how to make reservations in advance when required. Simply show your pass straight from your phone (or printed) at the gate or ticket office to get in. 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 • LEGOLAND California (choice between San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND) • Knott's Soak City Water Park Outdoor Activities • Hollywood Sign Tour • Celebrity Bike Tour by Bikes & Hikes LA (choice between self-guided or guided tour) • Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach • Huntington Beach: 2-hr SUP board or kayak rental • Huntington Beach: Yoga on the beach • Long Beach Waterfront and Downtown Walking Tour • Santa Monica 3-Hours Bike Rental • Los Angeles 2-Hour Fishing Tour • 2-Hour Beach Bike & Skate Rentals Tours • Big Bus Discover Hop-on Hop-off Tour • Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood • Big Bus Celebrity Lifestyle and Homes Tour • Dolby Theater Guided Tour • Downtown LA Food and Culture Tour • Glass Bottom Boat Eco Tour • SoFi Stadium Tour • Getty to Griffith Bus Tour • Long Beach Waterfront and Downtown Walking Tour 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 • Los Angeles Zoo • California Science Center IMAX Movie • San Diego Zoo (choice between San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND) Museums and Entertainment • Hollywood Museum (choice between TCL Chinese Theater or Hollywood Museum) • GRAMMY Museum • Battleship IOWA Museum • Natural History Museum • Autry Museum of the American West • Museum of Latin American Art • Cabrillo Maritime Museum • Richard Nixon Library • South Coast Shop & Dine Package • Holocaust Museum LA *Savings based on itineraries on Go City website.

Los Angeles: Half-Day Best of LA Tour

4. Los Angeles: Half-Day Best of LA Tour

Admire in LA's top attractions on a guided bus tour that is customized to your preferences. Take in Hollywood, Paramount Studios, and the Greek Theatre. Stop at the Santa Monica Pier and Beach, the Original Farmers Market, and the Griffith Observatory. Meet your guide on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Climb aboard the bus and head straight to Santa Monica. On the drive, listen to entertaining stories and take in Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Rodeo Drive.  See views of the affluent Bel-Air neighborhood and the Getty. Stop at Santa Monica Pier and Beach for an hour to explore the famous boardwalk, shop along the 3rd Street Promenade, and see why Southern California is famous for its beaches.  Head back to the bus to take in Culver City and Museum Row. Get insider tips on the best restaurants and museums. Have an hour lunch break at the Grove/the Original Famers Market which is known for some of LA's best dining and shopping.  Continue past Fairfax, Melrose, Paramount Studios, the Greek Theatre, and Griffith Park. Take in sweeping views of the Los Angeles Basin from the Griffith Observatory. Capture pictures of views of Downtown Los Angeles, the ocean, and the Hollywood sign.  As you head back to the Hollywood Walk of Fame to end your tour, see the Capitol Records Building and explore more of Hollywood Blvd.

Los Angeles: LA Grand Tour

5. Los Angeles: LA Grand Tour

Get a feel for the City of Angels with this full-day tour of some of its key sights. Experience a selection of its main attractions including ocean views and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After departing 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.

LA: City and Beach Highlights Tour with Transfer Options

6. LA: City and Beach Highlights Tour with Transfer Options

Enjoy a stress-free tour of LA with expert tour guides who will ensure you have an entertaining and educational day. Begin the tour in Santa Monica where you'll have the opportunity to explore the Santa Monica Pier. Your first stop will be Venice Beach, home of LA's skateboarding and surf culture. You will then be driven along Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards on your way to the ritzy Beverly Hills, where you will be given the opportunity to window shop for 30-minutes on Rodeo Drive.  Enjoy lunch at the Farmers' Market at The Grove (1 hour) - with hundreds of options to please everyone from the adventurous foodie to kids. You will then be whisked to Griffith Park where you will receive VIP curbside service and experience the best views of LA and the Hollywood Sign. Finally, try to spot the stars of your favorite Hollywood celebrities as you walk down the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

From Anaheim: LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica Day Tour

7. From Anaheim: LA, Hollywood, and Santa Monica Day Tour

Direct pick up and drop off from/to directly all hotels in Anaheim and near Disneyland area around 8:00 to 8:15 am This a full day sightseeing tour of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. ( about 9 hours). This is a live guided tour, with professional tour guides, We will give you free time at each highlight area to get off the tour van, for taking pictures, shopping and more.... We will also have 45 stop at Mel's diner on Sunset Plaza for lunch. ( not included the ticket).

Marina Del Rey: Kayak and Paddleboard Tour with Sea Lions

8. 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.

Los Angeles: Hollywood Flight Tour

9. Los Angeles: Hollywood Flight Tour

Reach for the stars on our HOLLYWOOD TOUR. Soar past the Hollywood Sign, The Skyscrapers of Downtown Los Angeles, look down on Dodgers Stadium. Fly over Staples Center, The Coliseum and USC. Keep an eye out for stars at Universal and Paramount Studios. We swoop over Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and right over LAX Airport. You will fly in a sleek and modern aircraft which features picture windows so you can get those perfect shots of LA. You’ll sink into the plush leather seats while enjoying satellite radio for the duration of your flight.

Los Angeles: Group Surfing Lesson

10. Los Angeles: Group Surfing Lesson

Meet your guide at Venice Beach, one of the most famous and lively beaches in California. Take part in a 2-hour group surfing lesson which is ideal for everyone from beginners (even first timers!) to upper intermediate levels.  Start the lesson by getting geared up with the wetsuits and surfboards. Head down to the sand with your group of 5-6 fellow students. Spend the first 30-40 minutes training on the beach and learning all the important aspects of surfing. Your professional certified instructors will teach you how to pop up on the board, educate you about the ocean and end the land lesson with the most important part - safety. After that, enjoy 40 minutes with an instructor(s) in the ocean getting coaching and helpful pushes. The remaining time will be yours to practice your skills and have fun in the water. After the class, an instructor will lead you to an outdoor public shower where you will be able to rinse off. Don't worry about your belongings, as you will be able to leave everything locked in the surf school van. 

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What people are saying about Santa Monica, California

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 2,548 reviews

Love the Go City pass, super easy to use and very worth it for the price and actives that we have access too! and the app as well as the website was very easy to operate to purchase the tickets. One last thing, i would like to give a shoutout to the individual i spoke to over the phone to assure me of how the tickets and passes worked.

This was an excellent tour! Barb was knowledgeable, laid back with a great manner for this tour. We try to do bike tours any time we travel and this one did not disappoint. Great way to combine the great outdoors, some exercise and some sightseeing. The bikes were in fantastic condition and we would highly recommend !

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable of the areas, streets and personalities. He gave us plenty of time to take photos. He had a great sense of humour; He made sure that we all saw what we had wanted to see. Top marks.

It is absolutely value for money.You should visit many places in the day otherwise if you go only to once every day , don't buy it.

Our guide Paul was fantastic. Highly recommend this tour of Los Angeles!