7 Spectacular Sunset Activities in Santa Monica & Venice, California
Sunny Santa Monica and Venice, California, are excellent places to seek out beach moments and sunsets. Every time we go, we struggle to leave; loitering by the ocean until the very last moment.
We plan our Santa Monica days so we can linger near the water while the sun begins to fade. Sunset always feels like an event. Always stops us in our tracks. It almost seems like the World slows down with us; as people who were bustling about stop to take in the show. We always stop. To look. And think.
So! Here’s a little list of our Top Seven Santa Monica and Venice Beach activities to schedule for sunset. A whole week’s worth of sunset fun! (Or choose your very favourite for a special evening with the sun). (Or cram them all into one insanely action-packed but very special 20 minutes).
In no particular order…
NUMBER ONE – SUNSET AT SEA
Hire a boat! Always get a boat! That’s our motto!
If someone will let you drive a boat, on your own, it is our sincere advice to always do that. A private boat trip where you get to navigate your own vessel around the water of the world is one of our very favourite things to do.
Just pack your picnic and wander yourself into Fisherman’s Village, Marina Del Rey, down to the dock of the bay where you’ll find a magical little hut where you can exchange dollar bills to hire your very own private boat to take out on the ocean for a couple of hours. On your own. You’re the captain. Sailing out to sea. Captain. Of a boat.
We had one of the best, most enjoyable, most love-filled sunsets on our little boat out on the Pacific Ocean. There were “full speed ahead!” moments, magical moments, tranquil bobbing about on the ocean moments. Oh yeah and flippin’ wild dolphin moments!
Needless to say, motoring full thro’ back to base at sunset that evening was something we will never forget.
If there was only one way to enjoy sunset, this would be it.
NUMBER TWO – Sunset Cycle
Hire bikes and cycle “The Strand”
‘The Strand’ (one of it’s many titles) is a 22 mile long beach bike path that runs from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades to Torrance Beach in Torrance County. Also known as the South Bay Bicycle Trail, this is the World’s longest oceanfront bike path!
We excitedly set off from our super cool rented studio down in Venice Beach, near 26th Place. It took us 45 fun-filled minutes to leisurely cycle along the lovely smooth beach bike path, with a touch of messing around and photo-taking, to sunset at Santa Monica State Beach.
We felt like part of the Venice Beach lifestyle AND a bit like we could be in a movie as we glided alongside (only occasionally at odds with) the roller skaters and bladers and skateboarders, with the sea breeze styling our hair, along “the most popular bike path in Los Angeles.”
Number Three – Sunset Dining at Shutters on the Beach
We fancied a sunset sheltered from the sea breeze, where we could dress up a little bit nice and be treated to some delicious, local and seasonal food. So we headed for Shutters on the Beach.
The seafood chowder was the best I’ve had and the sunset view from our table looked like this:
Who could ask for anything more?
If it’s a glorious evening and you do want to feel the breeze, you can enjoy yourself outside at Shutters Living Room and Terrace, just upstairs. They have a lovely little balcony.
Shutters is right on the beach (hence the name) so we couldn’t resist getting some post dinner sand in our toes, in the moonlight, before heading home. Lovely stuff.
NUMBER FOUR – A sunset dance in the sea!
(It’s totally free!) (And maximum eco-friendly!)
We may not always feel like it, or might feel a bit silly, but whenever we dance, anywhere, we feel good. And sometimes silly. But silly is fun and fun is good.
Dancing anywhere is a great way to bring your body into the present to feel connected and joyful.
We ventured into the sea for a paddle as the sun danced it’s way under the covers. The sun inspired us to dance and in conclusion:
Dance + ocean + sunset = win win win!
Highly recommended. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
NUMBER FIVE – Sunset at the Pier!
Santa Monica Pier of course! Co-star of numerous movie scenes and TV escapades.
Originally built in 1909 and now a National Historic Landmark, The Santa Monica Pier is a classic with, in our opinion, the perfect amount of pier-esque attractions to keep you entertained.
We enjoyed the sunset from Santa Monica Pier on the scariest of all days; All Hallows Eve! Haaaaaalloooooooooweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen! So, of course, the sunset dressed up a little more ominously for this special spooky night. This enhanced our thorough enjoyment of almost everything the pier has to offer.
NUMBER SIX – Sunset (popcorn & pizza) picnic
If you’ve had enough activity for one day, then we recommend laying out that picnic blanket and having a nice sit, while the sun puts on a little leaving show.
If you’re comfy enough, you can settle in, have a lie down and wait for the stars to reveal themselves.
Our favourite accompaniments to a sitting sunset:
We often enjoy a taste of local gourmet popcorn Popcornopolis, made in LA and purchased from Gelson’s. It’s available all over the place but it’s always a pleasure to peruse the miraculous neatness of a Gelson’s supermarket; only available in Southern California.
Red Wine (if you are sitting somewhere appropriate)
Popcorn and red wine make a delicious mix to bring to a sunset sit down (or a movie of course).
The red wine shelves in Santa Monica usually have a plentiful supply of tasty Hollywood names to choose from. We recommend seeking out a Hollywood icon to take on a picnic, something from the Francis Ford Copolla Winery, for example, would work nicely.
TIP TOP TIP
Beware the gulls – We decided to stand up from our sit-down sunset and have a little go on the ocean. When we turned around, there was a seagull flying off with our popcorn! Fecking flockers!
Then the hills turned into birds
to escape the encroaching mist
the ocean ushered in for evening
to blur the edges and fade out the sun
wrap us thickly
bring our focus to the intimate and
send us off for pizza…
Oh yeah! If you haven’t had your din-dins yet or you’re hungry for more than popcorn, a pizza pie can always be enjoyed on your picnic blanket, whilst you await the moon in the sky. We thoroughly recommend:
Joe’s Pizza 111 Broadway 90401 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
One of the biggest and best pizzas we have ever eaten. And we eat a lot of pizza.
The sun was down by the time we had almost devoured the entire pizza. This was the very last slice! It was just as nice in the dark!
NUMBER SEVEN – Sunset rowing on the canals
Remember what we said about boats. Always get the boat…
One of the most spectacular sunsets we have ever seen occurred as we were rowing ourselves around the canals of the Venice Canal Historic District.
For a few days, our home was right on a canal, and it came with a rowing boat. (See below for boat hire info). Splashing about, reminding ourselves how to row, choosing which house we would buy and enjoying the spectacular sky display was a beautiful, awe-inspiring and relaxed way to end our day.
If boating ain’t your thing, you can wander alongside these pretty little waterways and over the sweet little bridges.
TIP TOP TIP
You can do all these things not at sunset but why would you.
When the sun has gone to bed,
up above the Pacific Coast Highway,
adjacent to Santa Monica State Beach,
nestled in your dreamiest dreams;
a twinkling sign reminds you of where you really are;
Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California.
A beacon of good times.
If you like the photographs in this article, a select few are available as fine art prints from our eco-friendly boutique, which is called kuchiku.
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