A Family-Friendly Santa Monica Staycation

Photo courtesy of Oceana Hotel/Facebook

Santa Monica’s Pier is a family vacation destination on its own, but chances are you’ve already been there, done that. Check out our top spots to keep kids—and parents—happy on a Santa Monica family staycation. 


Stay at Hotel Casa del Mar, a posh oceanfront beauty that provides free beach toys and umbrellas for a perfect day playing in the sand and the waves. Plus, there’s an outdoor swimming pool and a kid-friendly menu in its on-site restaurant that’ll make snacks a breeze.

Photo courtesy of Bergamot Station/Facebook

Bergamot Station Arts Center
This former train station now hosts a diverse collective of a couple dozen private art galleries, all set up within one compound. Take a stroll through the complexno need for hushed voicesto experience rotating contemporary and fine art, sculpture, photography, and more. 2525 Michigan Avenue

McCabe’s Guitar Shop
This half-a-century-old Santa Monica music store does double duty as a live music venue. Rock out with your kids and release that parenting angst by seeing a local band at one of its Sunday morning all-ages concerts. 3101 Pico Boulevard

Photo courtesy of Trapeze School New York (TSNY) Los Angeles/Facebook

Trapeze School New York
Set on the Pier among the picturesque views of coastal California, you can fly through the air on a trapeze here and let your kids feel like a superhero for a few hours (or join in with them!). This renowned aerial school teaches daily trapeze, aerial silks, and trampoline classes for all levels, ages 6 and up. 370 Santa Monica Pier


Photo courtesy of Back on the Beach Cafe/Facebook

Back on the Beach Cafe
Snag a seat outside on the beach with ocean views, where kids can play in the sand while the adults enjoy a beverage. As part of the Annenberg Beach House, the menu is solid, with classic sandwich and salad options, plus a hassle-free children’s menu. 445 Pacific Coast Highway

Sunday Main Street Farmers’ Market
A great place for an unconventional family breakfast, where vendors prepare easy on-the-go meals with ingredients sourced from California farmers. Choose from seasonal crepes, tamales, pastries, omelets, salads, and breads, or if you want to level up, make your own fruit and cheese plate from the farmers, bring a blanket, and have a picnic on the grass nearby. Heritage Square, 2640 Main Street

Photo courtesy of Jinya Ramen Bar via Yelp

Jinya Ramen Bar
Upon walking in, the smell of the slow, 10-hour simmered broth will immediately put the family stress at ease. Kids (and parents) appreciate the customizable ramen bowls so that you can all slurp it up your way, or get the kids’ meal complete with candy and a scoop of ice cream. 2400 Main Street


Dr. T House
A bubble tea spot that makes the layers beautiful and gets the sweetness levels exactly right, with honey-based tapioca boba that are the perfect consistency. For those just dipping their toe in, get the signature rich and creamy Tiramisu Boba Tea; more advanced boba drinkers will appreciate Dr. T’s more adventurous flavors, like watermelon green tea with cheese foam. 1709 Pico Boulevard

Photo courtesy of Sweet Rose Creamery/Facebook

Sweet Rose Creamery
Sweet Rose makes small batches of organic ice cream daily in its Santa Monica kitchen. Go full decadence and turn one of its seasonally inspired flavors—often based on the day’s finds at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market—into a milkshake. Definitely join the kids and top it with whipped cream. 2726 Main Street