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Santa Monica is a coastal city west of downtown Los Angeles. Santa Monica Beach is fringed by Palisades Park, with views over the Pacific Ocean. Santa Monica Pier is home to the Pacific Park amusement park, historic Looff Hippodrome Carousel and Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Next to the pier is Muscle Beach, an outdoor gym established in the 1930s. In the city center, Bergamot Station houses several art galleries.

Santa Monica (Spanish for 'Saint Monica') is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on five sides by different neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles: Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south. The 2010 U.S. Census population of Santa Monica was 89,736. Due to its favorable climate and proximity to Los Angeles, Santa Monica became a famed resort town by the early 20th century, attracting celebrities such as Marion Davies to build magnificent beach front homes on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).

The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s, through the revitalization of its downtown core, significant job growth, and increased tourism. Popular tourists sites include Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park atop a bluff over the Pacific Ocean.

As in other coastal beach communities, coastal erosion, due to coastal infrastructure and high human usage, is an increasing challenge, and will become worse due to sea level rise. Santa Monica has a history of developing environmental and sustainability strategies, with the most recent focus on community-wide carbon neutrality by 2050 or sooner.

Santa Monica is home to the headquarters of many notable businesses, such as Beachbody, Fatburger, Hulu, Illumination, Otter Media, Lionsgate Films, Macerich, Miramax, the RAND Corporation, Saban Capital Group, The Recording Academy (which presents the annual Grammy Awards), TOMS Shoes, and Universal Music Group. Atlantic Aviation is at the Santa Monica Airport. The National Public Radio member station KCRW is on the Santa Monica College campus. VCA Animal Hospitals is just outside the eastern city limit.

A number of game development studios are based in Santa Monica, making it a major location for the industry. These include:

  • Activision Blizzard (which includes Activision)

  • Cloud Imperium Games (Creators of Star Citizen)

  • Naughty Dog (Creators of Crash Bandicoot (1996–1999), Jak & Daxter, Uncharted and The Last of Us franchises)

  • PUBG Corporation (North American station, developed Miramar map in PUBG)

  • Riot Games, the creator of League of Legends, is just outside the eastern city limit.

  • Treyarch

Recently, Santa Monica has emerged as the center of the Los Angeles region called Silicon Beach, and serves as the home of hundreds of venture capital funded startup companies.


Former Santa Monica businesses include Douglas Aircraft (now merged with Boeing), GeoCities (which in December 1996 was headquartered on the third floor of 1918 Main Street in Santa Monica), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and MySpace (now headquartered in Beverly Hills).

Music and arts venues
The Santa Monica Looff 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 a leading acoustic performance space as well as retail outlet. The Santa Monica Playhouse is a popular theater in the city.


Bergamot Station is a city-owned art gallery compound that includes the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The city is also home to the California Heritage Museum and the Angels Attic dollhouse and toy museum.


The New West Symphony is the resident orchestra of Barnum Hall. They are also resident orchestra of the Oxnard Performing Arts Center and the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.

Shopping districts
Santa Monica has three main shopping districts: Montana Avenue on the north side, the Downtown District in the city's core, and Main Street on the south end. Each has its own unique feel and personality. Montana Avenue is a stretch of luxury boutique stores, restaurants, and small offices that generally features more upscale shopping. The Main Street district offers an eclectic mix of clothing, restaurants, and other specialty retail.


Third Street Promenade

The Downtown District is the home of the Third Street Promenade, a major outdoor pedestrian-only shopping district that stretches for three blocks between Wilshire Blvd. and Broadway (not the same Broadway in downtown and south Los Angeles). Third Street is closed to vehicles for those three blocks to allow people to stroll, congregate, shop and enjoy street performers.


Santa Monica Place

The Santa Monica Place, featuring Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom in a three-level outdoor environment, is at the Promenade's southern end. After a period of redevelopment, the mall reopened in the fall of 2010 as a modern shopping, entertainment and dining complex with more outdoor space.


Santa Monica hosts the annual Santa Monica Film Festival.


The city's oldest movie theater is the Majestic. Opened in 1912 and also known as the Mayfair Theatre, the theater, it has been closed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Aero Theater (now operated by the American Cinematheque) and Criterion Theater were built in the 1930s and still show movies. The Santa Monica Promenade alone supports more than a dozen movie screens.


Public library system
The Santa Monica Public Library consists of a Main Library in the downtown area, plus four neighborhood branches: Fairview, Montana Avenue, Ocean Park, and Pico Boulevard.

One of the oldest exterior shots in Santa Monica is Buster Keaton's Spite Marriage (1929) which shows much of 2nd Street. The comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) included several scenes shot in Santa Monica, including those along the California Incline, which led to the movie's treasure spot, "The Big W". The Sylvester Stallone film Rocky III (1982) shows Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed training to fight Clubber Lang by running on the Santa Monica Beach, and Stallone's Demolition Man (1993) includes Santa Monica settings. In Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), the theft of Pee-wee's bike occurs on the Third Street Promenade. Henry Jaglom's indie Someone to Love (1987), the last film in which Orson Welles appeared, takes place in Santa Monica's venerable Mayfair Theatre. Heathers (1989) used Santa Monica's John Adams Middle School for many exterior shots. The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996) is set entirely in Santa Monica, particularly the Palisades Park area, and features a radio station that resembles KCRW at Santa Monica College. 17 Again (2009) was shot at Samohi. Other films that show significant exterior shots of Santa Monica include Fletch (1985), Species (1995), Get Shorty (1995), and Ocean's Eleven (2001). Richard Rossi's biopic Aimee Semple McPherson opens and closes at the beach in Santa Monica. Iron Man features the Santa Monica pier and surrounding communities as Tony Stark tests his experimental flight suit.


The documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001) and the related dramatic film Lords of Dogtown (2005) are both about the influential skateboarding culture of Santa Monica's Ocean Park neighborhood in the 1970s.


The Santa Monica Pier is shown in many films, including They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969), The Sting (1973), Ruthless People (1986), Beverly Hills Cop III (1994), Clean Slate (1994), Forrest Gump (1994), The Net (1995), Love Stinks (1999), Cellular (2004), The Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold (2006), Iron Man (2008) and Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009).


The films The Doors (1991) and Speed (1994) featured vehicles from Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus line, relative to the eras depicted in the films.


Santa Monica (and in particular the Santa Monica Airport) was featured in Roland Emmerich's disaster film 2012 (2009). A magnitude 10.9 earthquake destroys the airport and the surrounding area as a group of survivors escape in a personal plane. The Santa Monica Pier and the whole city sinks into the Pacific Ocean after the earthquake.

A number of television series have been set in Santa Monica, including Baywatch, Goliath, Pacific Blue, Private Practice, and Three's Company. The Santa Monica pier is shown in the main theme of CBS series NCIS: Los Angeles. In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the main exterior set of the town of Sunnydale, including the infamous "sun sign", was in Santa Monica in a lot on Olympic Boulevard.


Notable People:

  • Amy Alcott (born 1956), LPGA golfer

  • Walter Arlen (born 1920), music critic for LA Times, composer

  • Jack Black, actor and musician

  • Judy Blumberg (born 1957), competitive ice dancer

  • Carly Chaikin, actress

  • Cody Decker (born 1987), Major League Baseball player

  • Pat Doyle (born 1944), baseball coach

  • Zack Fleishman (born 1980), tennis player

  • Max Fried (born 1994), Major League Baseball pitcher (Atlanta Braves)

  • Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, former Charles Manson follower who attempted to murder U.S. President Gerald Ford

  • Robert Gsellman (born 1993), baseball pitcher (New York Mets)

  • Justin Gimelstob (born 1977), tennis player

  • Helen Golay, committed the Black Widow murders from 1999 to 2005

  • Ashley Grossman (born 1993), water polo player

  • Julie Heldman (born 1945), tennis player

  • Brian Horwitz (born 1982), Major League Baseball player

  • Anita Kanter (born 1933), tennis player

  • Perry Klein (born 1971), American football quarterback in the National Football League; played for the Atlanta Falcons

  • Louise Lieberman (born 1977), soccer coach and former player

  • Chris Long (born 1985), NFL defensive end

  • Hannah Marks (born 1993), actress, writer, and director of cinema

  • Stephen Miller, Senior Advisor for policy for President Donald Trump

  • Jon Moscot (born 1991), Major League Baseball pitcher

  • Sheree North, dancer and actress

  • David Ossman, actor and comedian, Firesign Theatre

  • Neil Peart (born 1952), drummer, songwriter, author, Rush (band)

  • ppcocaine, rapper

  • Robert Redford, actor, director, and environmentalist

  • Christina Ricci (born 1980), actress

  • Randy Rhoads, guitarist

  • Samantha Shapiro (born 1993), gymnast

  • Frank Spellman (1922–2017), Olympic champion weightlifter

  • Tony Vazquez, former mayor of Santa Monica


Elementary and secondary schools
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District provides public education at the elementary and secondary levels. In addition to the traditional model of early education school houses, SMASH (Santa Monica Alternative School House) is "a K-8 public school of choice with team teachers and multi-aged classrooms".

Elementary schools
The district maintains eight public elementary schools in Santa Monica:

  • Edison Language Academy

  • Franklin Elementary School

  • Grant Elementary School

  • John Muir Elementary School

  • McKinley Elementary School

  • Santa Monica Alternative School House [SMASH]

  • Roosevelt Elementary School

  • Will Rogers Learning Community

Middle schools
The district maintains three public middle schools in Santa Monica: John Adams Middle School, Lincoln Middle School and SMASH.

High schools
The district maintains three high schools in Santa Monica: Olympic High School, Malibu High School and Santa Monica High School.

Private schools
Private schools in the city include:

  • Carlthorp School

  • Crossroads School

  • Garden of Angels School

  • Lighthouse Christian Academy

  • Lighthouse Church School

  • New Roads School

  • Pacifica Christian High School

  • PS1 Pluralistic School

  • St. Anne Elementary

  • Saint Monica Catholic Elementary School

  • Saint Monica Catholic High School

  • Santa Monica Montessori School

  • Waldorf Early Childhood Center

Miscellaneous education
Asahi Gakuen, a weekend Japanese supplementary school system, operates its Santa Monica campus (サンタモニカ校・高等部 Santamonika-kō kōtōbu) at Webster Middle in the Sawtelle neighborhood of Los Angeles. All high school classes in the Asahi Gakuen system are held at the Santa Monica campus.[103][104] As of 1986, students take buses from as far away as Orange County to go to the high school classes of the Santa Monica campus.

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 PhDs. The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles is also in Santa Monica near the Santa Monica Airport. Universities and colleges within a 22-mile (35 km) radius from Santa Monica include Santa Monica College, Antioch University Los Angeles, Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary's University, Pepperdine University, California State University, Northridge, California State University, Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, West Los Angeles College, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Occidental College (Oxy), Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Valley College, and Emperor's College of Traditional Oriental Medicine.

View the school ratings and reviews here.


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