Santa Monica Neighborhoods

Santa Monica is situated on Santa Monica Bay of the Pacific Ocean and is surrounded by the City of Los Angeles on its inland borders — Pacific Palisades on the northwest, Brentwood on the north, West Los Angeles on the northeast, Mar Vista on the east, and Venice on the southeast.  Santa Monica offers fantastic beaches and a moderate climate, due to its oceanfront location. Its proximity to the greater Los Angeles and to LAX makes it a desirable destination for vacationers and business travelers alike.

Each of the eight Santa Monica neighborhoods offers a diverse mix of shopping, dining, entertainment, outdoor recreation.

North of San Vicente
San Vicente Boulevard is the northernmost major street in Santa Monica. Homes north of San Vicente Blvd are among the most exclusive in Los Angeles County. Many offer views of the Pacific Ocean or the picturesque Santa Monica Canyon, overlooking the Riviera Country Club. Lot sizes vary between 15,000 sq feet up to 60,000 sq feet.  La Mesa Drive is one of the most exclusive and least-known streets in the city.  Planted with a dense canopy of rare Moreton Bay fig trees the street makes a picturesque walking location.

North of Montana
This area of mostly larger, single-family homes contains many of Santa Monica’s historically significant properties, some of which are designated as such in National Registry.  North of Montana is served by 2 highly regarded public elementary schools – Franklin School for the residents from 15th Street through the west side of 26th Street, and Roosevelt School for the families on 14th Street and west to Ocean Ave.  Both Schools are located on Montana Avenue, a street that is also home to a public library, and hundreds of upscale stores and restaurants. The businesses on this street are generally boutiques with a few national markets and banks. Montana Ave. is also home to The Aero Theater which is a repertory theater operated by The American Cinematheque.

Ocean Park
Located in the southwest corner of Santa Monica is the Ocean Park neighborhood. This neighborhood has a mix of charming older homes, contemporary homes, condominiums, and apartment buildings. Several condo towers are located along the beach. The area has a beachy, artsy feel similar in manner to its neighbor Venice Beach.  Ocean Park also contains the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District, consisting of 38 buildings constructed between 1875 and 1930. Architecturally, the buildings chronicle the evolution of design from the Victorian era through the revival styles of the 1920s and 1930s. The area displays a variety of architectural styles, from Victorian to Gothic, to American Colonial Revival, to California Craftsman, to Spanish Colonial Revival. Historically, the neighborhood has ties to some of Santa Monica’s most prominent early residents.  Many Santa Monica residents come to shop on Main Street, home of many boutiques and restaurants. Main Street also hosts a weekly farmer’s market on Sundays. SMASH (an alternative school) and John Muir elementary schools are located in the neighborhood. Olympic High, an alternative high school, and Santa Monica High School.

Sunset Park
Sunset Park is a residential neighborhood located between Pico Boulevard and the southern city limits and Lincoln Boulevard and eastern city limits. It is composed primarily of single-family homes. Many of the original homes are small one-story houses built in the 1920s through the1940s for workers at the Douglas Aircraft Factory. Remodeled or rebuilt homes are upscale.  Will Rogers and Grant elementary schools and John Adams Middle School are located in the neighborhood. Santa Monica College, a two-year community college, is also located in Sunset Park.  Santa Monica Airport, one of the busiest single-runway airports in the nation, is located along the southern borders of the neighborhood.

Clover Park is a large park in the area with recreation facilities.

North of Wilshire
North of Wilshire is a primarily residential neighborhood. Laid out on a consistent grid of numbered streets, there are many mid-sized homes and condominiums. On its westernmost end this neighborhood includes a number of well preserved Victorian duplexes, otherwise unique in the city. Smaller Craftsman-era bungalows line some of the east-west avenues like Idaho, Washington, and California. Lincoln Middle School is on 14th Street and California Ave. At the corner of Washington Avenue and 22nd is the original Gehry House, a deconstructivist masterpiece that signaled a dramatic shift in Frank Gehry’s architectural style.

Ocean Avenue
Is a major thoroughfare in Santa Monica that runs along Palisades Park, with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Many Ocean Avenue residences are highly-prized for their full views of the beach and Pacific Ocean, some from Palos Verdes all the way to Malibu. Ocean Avenue also houses several luxury hotels such as Shutters, Casa del Mar, The Shangri-La, The Huntley, The Fairmont Miramar, The Shore Hotel, Hotel Oceana, The Viceroy and Loews.  The Santa Monica Pier is located at Ocean Ave and Colorado Ave.

Downtown Santa Monica
Downtown Santa Monica is located south of Wilshire Blvd. The streets that make up downtown Santa Monica are Wilshire Boulevard, Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, Broadway, and Colorado Avenue from 2nd street to 14th street. The Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place are located in the heart of downtown. Many restaurants, tourist sites, and hotels are in downtown Santa Monica.

Midtown Santa Monica
Midtown Santa Monica stretches from 14th street to Centinela at its westernmost and easternmost extremities, and Wilshire Boulevard to Olympic Boulevard in its north and south. Alternating between major thoroughfares and quieter residential lanes, Midtown was once home to a number of picturesque Craftsman houses and brightly painted Victorians, though only occasional examples of these can still be found. In the early 1940s the first wave of suburbanization overtook this part of the city and many preexisting structures were razed and replaced with tiny square California Bungalows with green lawns and small, private backyards. In the 1960s a large number of these were demolished in favor of four and five unit condominium complexes and apartments. The easternmost edge of Midtown Santa Monica, often referred to as the “college streets” where Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley intersect with Wilshire Boulevard, represents one of the city’s primary gateways. Commemorating the spot where the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles (Brentwood neighborhood) share a border is the “Wave” a sculpture by Tony De Lap arching over Wilshire Boulevard near Franklin.

Pico District
Before the 1960s, the neighborhood was much larger, but when the Santa Monica Freeway opened in the 1960s, it resulted in the destruction of many residences and the relocation of a large number of families. Its boundaries are Lincoln Blvd to the west, Centinela Ave to the east, Olympic Ave to the north and Pico Blvd to the south. The Santa Monica Freeway runs through the area with access near both Lincoln Boulevard and Cloverfield Blvd. Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica College are both on Pico.