A Weekender’s Guide to Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica is one of my favorite places in the world so naturally, when I found out that I’d be speaking at Abilities Expo in Los Angeles, I knew that I had to pop over to Santa Monica for at least a day. Well, that actually turned into 3 days of fun in the sun and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’ve been to Santa Monica a couple times before, but only for a few hours each time because I was staying in LA. It always felt very rushed so I was psyched to get to truly experience Santa Monica in all of its glory during this weekend getaway. This time, we (my mom and I) decided to get a hotel in Santa Monica for a couple nights so that we could really see everything that Santa Monica had to offer. So, what is there to do in Santa Monica during a long weekend?? Here are some of my favorites:


santa monica weekend guide



Any visit should start out by strolling to the end of the Santa Monica Pier. The pier is about 1,600 feet long and even has an amusement park, Pacific Park, at the end of it. This park has a roller coaster and ferris wheel, but no wheelchair accessible rides unfortunately. But no worries, the amusement park is just one small part of the pier. You can also shop at the various stores, have a caricature drawn of yourself, or eat some delicious food. Some of the restaurants at the pier include Bubba Gump’s, The Lobster, and if you’re looking for something a bit cheaper there is also Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and my newest obsession The Coffee Bean.


santa monica weekend guide



This area is a huge shopping district within walking distance of the Pier. It takes up a few blocks, where no cars are allowed, so you can walk down the middle of the street. There are TONS of stores, but there are also many restaurants and a movie theater. While it was nice to shop for a while, my favorite thing about this area was all of the street performers. They were incredibly talented and it was awesome to watch.


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One of my favorite things about Santa Monica is the fact that I can stroll right along the beach in my wheelchair. There is a 26-mile bike path that goes up the coast, which is perfect for both bikes and wheelchairs alike. There are quite a few bike rental companies in Santa Monica if you’d like to rent one. Otherwise, just enjoy walking (or rolling in my case) along the beach.


santa monica weekend guide



Santa Monica is great, but Malibu is only a short drive away so it’s worth heading over there to experience more of the best of California even if just for dinner. Malibu has some beautiful houses, beautiful cars, beautiful people, and beautiful beaches. So I guess you could say that it’s just truly beautiful. Haha! We drove over to Malibu and it was less than 10 miles from Santa Monica. We visited Paradise Cove and ate at the Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. This was a fun restaurant, but was extremely crowded and had a 2 hour wait. Luckily, the beach is right outside the cafe so we hung out there while we waited. I’d still suggest making a reservation though.


santa monica weekend guide

santa monica weekend guide



I stayed at the Shore Hotel and can highly recommend it. It’s right across from the Santa Monica Pier and is within walking distance of soooo much that we never even drove anywhere all weekend. I should probably mention that Shore Hotel is the #1 ranked hotel on TripAdvisor, so I’m not the only person who thinks it’s great. Read about my experience at Santa Monica’s swankiest hotel by clicking here.


santa monica weekend guide

View from my room at Shore Hotel


As you can see, Santa Monica really does have a lot to offer, whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a full week. Enjoy your time in this Californian paradise!



*A Note from Curb Free with Cory Lee: This post includes affiliate links. When you click on a link, I may receive a small compensation, which will help this blog grow into a better resource for disabled travelers.