Main Street in Santa Monica can be a great place to spend a day and night, since it’s nestled right up against the ocean for daytime beauty, and has a lot of spots within walking distance that make a good nightlife. It’s also quite safe and well lit compared to many other neighborhoods, leaving you free to explore the many happy hours, music, and mojito stands Main St. has to offer.
Food and Drinks:
Sunny Blue– Omusubi and Organic Frozen Yogurt
This place is quite new, and I was immediately in love at first bite. Omusubi is one of my favorite Japanese foods, and rare to find on the west side. (The website says it’s the first Omusubi shop in Southern California.) So what are they? Omusubi are rice balls filled with different ingredients, then sprinkled with different seasonings or toppings (like sesame seeds), and wrapped in a sheet of Nori seaweed. (The seaweed being optional). Traditionally made with fish or meat on the inside, but this shop always has several vegetarian/vegan options! (Which is so refreshing for Japanese food, because they sneak fish into everything.) Made fresh, try the miso-mushroom or the really traditional umeboshi plum, a slightly sour treat with a fresh umeboshi leave on the outside. And two of these treats can fill you up, and that’s an awesome deal since they range between $1.75-$3.00. And if you’re still hungry, they also serve frozen yogurt and Japanese side dishes.
2728 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 399-9030
Hours: Mon-Thu 11 am – 8 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am – 9 pm
Sun 11 am – 7 pm
The Library Alehouse is great for many reasons…it has a HUGE beer and wine selection, which should please the most picky connoisseur. They also have great food, made even better by their happy-hour prices. You can get appetizers for half-off, so I love the Papaya Goat-Cheese Quesidilla for $5. They also have deals on their beer and wine, so make sure to ask if you want to save some money on drinks. The only downside is that it can get a little cramped, which is another bonus for happy hour, since it’s usually not as crowded.
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30 am – 12 am
Happy Hour: 4-6pm Monday-Friday
One Life-Juice Bar
One Life is a little health-food grocery store, with a large vitamin department downstairs. But the best part of this place has to be the juice bar. They have a couple large, old school juicers that crank out any vegetable you put in them. You can pick exactly what items you want off their list, and make your own crazy concoction. You can have all vegetables, all fruit, or a combo of both. (I like mine with parsley and ginger.) And you can’t beat the price…the 12 ounce of your choices is only $3.50, and they also have larger sizes and smoothies. Get a dose of greens or apples while you walk around Main St.
3001 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Store Hours: Mon-Sun 8 am – 9 pm
If you’re going to go Mexican, I definitely suggest Holy Guacamole. The prices are great, and it’s more fresh and flavorful than your usual chain. They have a serious selection of hot sauces (be careful, I’ve not headed the warning labels of spiciness and paid dearly for it), and their veggie tacos are full of good ingredients (and easy to make vegan.) Plus, they are open really late, so it’s a price-effective way to quell late-night munchies.
2906 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90405
This may seem like an odd suggestion, since Peet’s is a chain after all. But after careful inspection and many samplings, I have realized that Peet’s has some of the best coffee. Their loose-leaf tea selection is large and of great quality, and I even like their milk alternatives. It is one of the only cafes I know that uses unsweetened soymilk for their drinks, which gives me the freedom to sweeten it to my taste, instead of being attacked by pre-sweetened overload. There are other great cafe’s on Main St. (like Urth Cafe, of course, which also has great desserts) but Peet’s is a more quiet, and usually less-crowded alternative. And I’ve had consistently great service, which adds to my love of this place.
2439 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Phone: (310) 399-8117
Hours: Mon-Sun 5 am – 8 pm
A decently new spot, but I didn’t want to skim it over, since they are unique. It’s a small place, and their drinks menu is more limited than Peet’s. But they have consistently great coffee, and they even siphon-brew, which not only makes good coffee but is fun to watch. They also have agave at their sweetener counter, and a mellow crowd.
3101 Main St # D, Santa Monica, CA 90405-6411
I’m pretty picky about my bar scene (there are many on Main St. that I don’t like.) But if you want to expand your horizons, here is a great site that lists all the main street happy hours:
California Heritage Museum
If it’s too cold to hit the beach or ride on the bike path, you can always check out the art at the California Heritage Art Museum. It’s a converted two-story Victorian home. They have visiting art selections that are always changing, and there’s often some food trucks milling around on the weekends.
Hours: Wednesday through Sunday
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you happen to be on Main Street on the last Friday of the month, then walk around and enjoy Last Fridays. Some shops stay open late, food trucks abound, and there’s often live music or other activities. Just don’t get stuck driving down Main St. this day…you probably won’t go very fast.