An old mall made new: Santa Monica Place
The newly refurbished Santa Monica Place is to-die-for. After three years and half a billion dollars (yes, you read that correctly), this old mall feels like a new mall.
It's the only place in the Los Angeles area where you can shop by the beach (with the ocean breezes), dance to famous KCRW DJs under the stars at night, eat at rooftop restaurants helmed by famous chefs, and drink cocktails prepared by trained mixologists at any of the dozen bars. All this with a view of the Santa Monica Pier, too.
Not only will you find a Bloomingdales, Nordstroms and Barneys (CO-OP), but also boutiques and top designer stores. Even the bargain-hunter will be satisfied. Stop at Michael Kors or Burberry, or maybe Nike or Skechers. Tiffany's is here, too, as are jean companies 7 For All Mankind and True Religion. Kids will delight in the Disney store. And, for more shopping, the famous Third Street Promenade is just across the street.
For dining, you can take the family to Antica Pizza or choose from one of the many cafes in the Food Court. Or for a wonderful glass of California wine, go to Sonoma Wine Garden, overlooking the Pier. Chef Richard Sandoval has two restaurants here, Zengo and La Sandia, both with lively bar scenes and eclectic menus. Be sure to visit all the restaurants, check out the patios, and read the menus, before deciding on where to settle in for a meal. That, in itself, is fun.
When you visit Santa Monica Place, be sure to also visit the Santa Monica Pier -- and the Promenade -- and you'll have a full day (and night)! Some hotels -- The Georgian, Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Viceroy Santa Monica and Fairmont Miramar Hotel Santa Monica -- offer Stay and Shop packages, which include your stay, an American Express shopping gift card, breakfast, and more.
[Photo Credit: flickr/Kevin Labianco]