The City of Santa Monica
The city of Santa Monica is a pristine, ideal California beach town. From humble beginnings, it has become a marvelous mix of the best that Californian life and vacation has to offer. From its beautiful beach and historic Pier, to a thriving and diverse business and economic profile, a mix of yearlong residents and relaxing vacationers, and much more, Santa Monica is unique and brings something to the table for everyone.
Santa Monica History
The history of Santa Monica dates back hundreds of years, with the first recorded population of a tiny, developing western oceanfront town being 417 residents in 1880. The area had been inhabited for hundreds of years prior, at least, and had been explored by the Spanish dating at least as far back as the mid 1500s. The name Santa Monica comes from the feast day of Saint Monica, which is the day the area was first visited by the Spanish.
Mexico divided the area of Santa Monica into three distinct land grants, which changed hands and were purchased several times over. In 1874, John Percival Jones, a Nevada Senator, purchased Rancho Santa Monica, and became known as the founder of Santa Monica as hotels and resorts began to open in the years following.
By this time, the famous Third Street Promenade was already coming into existence, and the city began to develop a thriving business, economic and tourist scene. The railroads started to bring even more people around, and attractions such as the Santa Monica Pier were built to get them going to the city.
By 1910, there was a population of nearly 8,000, and that would explode another 10 times over by 1960. In the 60s and 70s Santa Monica was one of the focal points of the nation’s burgeoning interests in fitness and health, and by the end of the 20th century, the city had managed to rejuvenate most of its glorious past while combining it all with a modern, thriving city.
Santa Monica Economy
When most people think about Santa Monica, they think about the beach, the weather, the proximity to Los Angeles, the pier, and so forth. Few think about the economy and the businesses located within the city. However, Santa Monica has a thriving business scene which add to its current culture and feel.
The largest employer in the city is Santa Monica College, with over 2,000 employees, followed by the city itself, which nearly matches that figure. Then there are hospitals and health centers, and the school district.
But what you may not have known, is that many of the world’s largest video game studios and game developers are located in Santa Monica. It’s actually a hotbed for the industry, housing Naughty Dog, Activision, High Impact Games, SCE Studios Santa Monica, and more.
There are many other entertainment and technology companies that either are headquartered in Santa Monica, or have offices there. The list includes Lions Gate Films, MTV Networks, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Universal Music Group and more. Still more prominent businesses include RAND Corporation, Edmunds.com, NPR and the Design Center California of Volkswagen.
Santa Monica Real Estate
Santa Monica Real Estate offers interested individuals an opportunity to join the fabric of one of the most sought after California communities. The economic hardships of recent years has brought prices down from their high points, but make no mistake, real estate and property in Santa Monica is still extremely valuable.
At any given time, you are likely to find a good inventory of homes for sale on the market in Santa Monica. There are also prime business locations of all sizes and shapes available in the thriving downtown area.
There are roughly 10 different neighborhoods that you can divvy up the city of Santa Monica into. With its small size, neighborhoods are close to one another and blend in with one another. They include the Santa Monica Canyon, North of San Vicente, North of Montana, Montana Avenue, North of Wilshire, Ocean Avenue, Downtown and Midtown, the Pico District, Ocean Park and Sunset Park.
Santa Monica Beaches
The Santa Monica beach offers you everything that you’d like to have in your ideal beach getaway, whether it’s for a quick day trip, a weekend away, or a lifetime of surfing and ideal weather. The beach is 3.5 miles in length and is supremely maintained, with sand cleaning and raking every day, trash pickups and more. There are also lifeguard stations and 24 hour lifeguard assistance available.
The weather couldn’t be better, with an average of 340 days of sunshine, that great, gentle ocean breeze, and more. There are plenty of activities to choose from, including world class surfing, great swimming, fishing, volleyball, biking with access to dozens of miles of trails, and of course, good old fashioned sunbathing and relaxing.
Of course, the famous Original Muscle Beach is right next to the Santa Monica Pier. It has been a popular destination since the 1930s, and is the authentic first location, predating “Muscle Beach Venice”.
Santa Monica Pier
Even if you didn’t realize it before, you are probably well acquainted with the Santa Monica pier. The pier is world famous, and has been featured in myriad movies and television shows, with its iconic scenery, Ferris wheel and more.
The Santa Monica Pier first opened over 100 years ago, in September of 1909. Attractions and more activities were continually added to the pier, including adding roller coasters and rides in the 1920s and a yacht club in 1933. In the 1970s the pier almost was torn down, but the residents of Santa Monica wouldn’t have it, and it was protected, although a series of storms in the 80s did just that. In 1996 Pacific Park opened up, with world class entertainment and thrill rides.
The pier is open 24 hours per day and does not cost anything to enter, although the Pacific Park portion of the pier does have an entrance fee. Other attractions on the pier include the Pier Aquarium, the Trapeze School, the famous, vintage pier carousal, the Playland Arcade, in addition to a number of shops and restaurants.
3rd Street Promenade
The 3rd Street Promenade is located in downtown Santa Monica, and really represents the pulse of the city and the region. It manages to combine both small town feel with bustling big city entertainment, activity and vibes.
It is the most popular shopping and dining district in Santa Monica, and the promenade is an entirely pedestrian-open walkway. There are dozens of shops and storefronts, including still some local originals, as well as more popular and well known chains.
It’s another world famous Santa Monica institution, and whether you want to relax in the sun with a beverage and a snack, do some fine shopping, take in some entertainment or simply people watch, it will be worth the visit and is a must see attraction and destination. The 3rd Street Promenade has been a piece of downtown Santa Monica for over 125 years.
Santa Monica City Info and Stats
Santa Monica is located in Los Angeles County, and is surrounded on three sides by various neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles. The fourth side, of course, is the beach and ocean. The city itself is actually rather small, with a total size of just 15.9 square miles. This includes water, so the land portion of the city of Santa Monica is even tinier, just 8.3 square miles.
According to the most recent census figures from 2008, there are over 87,000 residents of Santa Monica. The city had been growing dramatically and rapidly up through the 60s and 70s before topping at a population of more than 88,000 in 1980, dropping to 84,000 by 2000, and then slightly growing in size once again.
By now you should know just about everything you need to know about the city of Santa Monica! From the world famous pier, to the strong economy which is home to some huge and notable businesses and much more, Santa Monica has an appeal that stretches across generations and backgrounds, and makes for a wonderful residential city or tourist destination.