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Best Places to Stop on a Bike Ride in Santa Monica

You just left Unlimited Biking with a freshly-tuned hybrid, and an unquenchable thirst for exploration. Now what? It’s time to fasten your helmet, feel the sea breeze, and take in some seriously scenic surroundings. Here are the best places to stop on a bike ride in Santa Monica.

Riding north on Ocean Avenue, the views are immediately jaw-dropping. With the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance, pastel-colored hotels on your right, and the Pacific Ocean on left, you’re off to a good start. Lock up near The Juice Market for some sweet hydration and explore the iconic Palisades Park. If the exposed bluffs and 30 species of plants weren’t enough, public art fixtures like The Redwood Pergola, Civil War Cannon, Totem Pole, and Statue of Santa Monica are sure to delight the senses.

Cruise eastward down the dedicated bike lane on Montana Avenue’s shopping district. If celebrity sightings don’t deter you, feast your eyes on the plethora of upscale boutiques, outdoor cafes, and the historic Aero Theatre. Soak up some SoCal serenity and views of high-end real estate as you head south down 14th street and onto Olympic Boulevard, where a stop at the internationally-renowned Bergamont Station Arts Center provides a generous dose of cultural enrichment. 

Make your way over to McCabe’s Guitar Shop, a visually-stunning acoustic instrument emporium whose performer’s list reads like a who’s who of Los Angeles music history. The bike lane on 28th Street is a great segue into Clover Park (for prime picnicking and people-watching) and The Santa Monica Airport, whose Barker Hangar has hosted a ton of award shows and Museum of Flying is a bucket list stop for any aviation lover. 

Head back westward down Ocean Park Boulevard for a laid-back local-centric slice of Santa Monica until reaching The California Heritage Museum, a regional art and history center housed in a charming 19th Century residence. If you’re here on a Sunday, be sure to stop by The Santa Monica Farmers Market for some of the freshest fruits and vegetables known to man. 

A ride up Main Street is a feast for the eyes with its eclectic blend of buzzing coffee shops, indie boutiques, public parklets, and trendy nightlife offerings. Stop off at Thai Vegan or Urth Caffe for some quintessential Californian flavors. Before returning to the downtown area, be sure to check out the rolling hills of the recently-constructed Tongva Park, whose sustainable plant palate changes with the seasons.

From there, you’d be remiss not to stop by the legendary Third Street Promenade, a street performance Mecca with a multitude of retail options. For more high-end shopping, be sure to visit Santa Monica Place

After all this biking under the warm California sun, it’s time to get a taste of the ocean. Head down Colorado Avenue until it becomes The Santa Monica Pier. One of the most photographed locations in the world, the pier features a wide variety of quirky restaurants, souvenir shops, public performances, a trapeze school, Playland Arcade, and the only solar-powered Ferris Wheel on the planet.

After all this, the real journey begins: 22 miles of coastal scenery known to locals as “The Strand.” Stretching from Pacific Palisades to Torrance, the Marvin Braude Bike Trail is The Golden State at its finest. Within Santa Monica city limits, the trail is a great jumping off point for surf spots, skate spots, volleyball courts, The Original Muscle Beach, and of course, endless acres of sparkling white sand absorbing the most gloriously awe-inspiring ocean waves America has to offer.

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