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another interesting garden sculpture
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Third Street Promenade

1351 3rd Street Promenade Santa Monica, CA 90401
The promenade is open 24 hours but store and restaurant hours vary.
310-393-8355 3 hours
January 2014 All year
$0-9 Santa Monica California
Website Entertainment Shopping
First review
The Third Street Promenade is a high end shopping area in downtown Santa Monica. It is three blocks long and is limited to foot traffic. The businesses here include both chain stores and independents. Most of the stores sell clothing and apparel but there are also a few book and music stores and an Apple Company store. There are also several movie theaters as well as many independent restaurants, including Mexican, Italian, American and Asian options. Most evenings and especially on weekends there are also various street performers, such as musicians, dancers and portrait artists.

The promenade opened in 1989. It previously had been a shopping area for pedestrians but was modernized and enhanced, including with artwork of dinosaur sculptures, some of which double as shrubbery and water fountains. The promenade also has become more upscale over time with trendy stores like Restoration Hardware and Diesel. Even more upscale is a shopping center at the southern end called Santa Monica Place. This used to be a dark and dated mall, but it's now an open inviting place with destination stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s.

Visiting on a weekend night was a good opportunity to get the full effect of what the promenade has to offer. There were plenty of other people around, but since the promenade is broad and relatively long, it did not seem unduly crowded or claustrophobic. The main goal was to get some dinner, and there were many options ranging from fast food to refined dining. The fancier restaurants had menus posted outside and a hostess available to answer questions and to lasso customers. An arbitrary choice was made to go over to Santa Monica Place instead, but there were a number of decent options on the promenade. It was also entertaining to briefly listen to some street musicians and check out the dinosaurs as well. There were no bums or aggressive pan handlers, but this area attracts a fair number of them so keep that in mind. It’s not all gentility on Santa Monica’s streets. The promenade has enough attractions to work very well for a dinner date but less well for a family outing due to crowds and some unsavory aspects of city life. Parking is plentiful here in nearby garages and is free for the first 1.5 hours. The Santa Monica Pier is nearby and is worth checking out day or night for views and entertainment.
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