Santa Monica Community Info
Located on the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica is most famous for its pier, carousel (seen in the movie “The Sting”, and a National Historic Landmark), and shopping on the Third Street Promenade. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, Santa Monica is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los Angeles — 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 is named for Saint Monica of Hippo because the area on which the city is now located was first visited by Spaniards on her feast day. Because of its agreeable weather, Santa Monica had become a famed resort town by the early 20th century. In the skateboard and surfing communities, Santa Monica’s Ocean Park neighborhood and adjacent parts of Venice are sometimes called Dogtown. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core, especially Third Street Promenade.
The Santa Monica Hippodrome (carousel) is a National Historic Landmark. It sits on the Santa Monica Pier, which was built in 1909. The La Monica Ballroom on the pier was once the largest ballroom in the US, and the source for many New Year’s Eve national network broadcasts. The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was an important music venue for several decades and hosted the Academy Awards in the 1960s. McCabe’s Guitar Shop is still a leading acoustic performance space, as well as retail outlet. Bergamot Station is a city-owned art gallery compound that includes the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The city is also home to the Santa Monica Heritage Museum.
Santa Monica is the home of the Third Street Promenade, a major outdoor pedestrian-oriented shopping district that stretches for three blocks between Wilshire Blvd. and Broadway. Third Street has been closed for those three blocks and converted to a pedestrians-only stretch to allow people to congregate, shop and enjoy street performers.
Santa Monica hosts the annual Santa Monica Film Festival. The oldest movie theater in the city is the Majestic. Also known as the Mayfair Theatre, the theater which opened in 1912 has been closed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Aero Theater and Criterion Theater were built in the 1930’s and still show movies. The Santa Monica Promenade alone supports more than a dozen movie screens.
Palisades Park stretches out along the crumbling bluffs overlooking the Pacific and is a favorite walking area to view the ocean. It features a camera obscura. For over 50 years local churches and the Police Association have assembled a 12-tableau story of Christmas in Palisades Park.
Natives and tourists alike have enjoyed the Santa Monica Rugby Club since 1972. They offer Men’s, Women’s and a thriving children’s programs. The club recently joined the Rugby Super League.
Every fall the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hosts The Taste of Santa Monica on the Santa Monica Pier. Visitors can sample food and drinks from Santa Monica restaurants.
Santa Monica is an international mecca for skateboarding culture.
Elementary and secondary schools:
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District provides public education at the elementary and secondary levels. Private schools in the city include the Crossroads School, New Roads School, Concord High School, Pacifica Christian High, St. Anne Catholic School, Lighthouse Christian Academy and Saint Monica Catholic High School. Notable primary schools include the Carlthorp School and Santa Monica Montessori School.
Santa Monica College is a community college founded in 1929. Many SMC graduates transfer to the University of California system. It occupies 35 acres (14 hectares) and enrolls 30,000 students annually. The Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, associated with the RAND Corporation, is the U.S.’s largest producer of public policy Ph.D.s. The Art Institute of California — Los Angeles is also located in Santa Monica near the Santa Monica Airport, though many are misled to believe the institute is in the city of Los Angeles because of its name.
Universities and colleges within a 15-mile radius from Santa Monica include Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Valley College, Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary’s College, Pepperdine University, California State University, Northridge, California State University, Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, West Los Angeles College and West Valley Occupational Center.