1-20130330_155741-001Life in LA revolves around traffic. Where you live, where you work and where you wanderlust all depends on traffic. Small wonder then that I had been putting off a traffic-choked 50mile trip North to the famous Santa Monica Pier. Finally, on my birthday, more importantly, at my wife’s ultimatum, I summoned the courage in March of 2013. Of course we had a great time! There’s a reason for all that traffic.

SONY DSCAfter miles of bumper-to-bumper, it was nice to stretch our legs at Muscle Beach, which spreads beneath the Santa Monica Pier. The beach has gymnastic equipment planted along a large section of the beach; this beach must have started health revolution in America (also there is a large sign claiming this). The health conscious can choose from any level of physical activity to suit their style: running, cycling, skating, surfing and gymnastics. We started at the easy level – a leisurely stroll on the boardwalk. The beach has something for all ages; my son had a great time in the kids play area, he got his workout.

1-20130330_143058If you watch enough TV, one might argue Hollywood need to exercise their brains more than their muscles. Well Hollywood, Muscle beach has you covered: a ‘Chess Park’. There’s tables with embedded chessboard surrounding a cool large chess board about 10’x 10’ in size. You can play with large 2 feet chess pieces. Some really committed chess players gather there.

SONY DSCTraffic always makes me hungry; naturally I had appetite and there are plenty of overpriced options with a view of the ocean, along the beach and on the Santa Monica pier itself. We burned our money on the later. The Pier doesn’t seem like a pier at all; rather it’s like a giant fair set over the ocean – there are arcades, games, concerts, shopping, roller-coasters and of course the famous Ferris Wheel. And on a typical LA-style beautiful spring afternoon, it’s packed – THIS is where the traffic is going! The pier is also the end of famous 66-Highway. You can’t miss it; there are always a lot of people taking pictures under the sign.

1-20130330_163942We watched sunset from the Pier and then for the evening head over to Santa Monica’s premier shopping street, home of all things high-end – the Third Street Promenade. The street is closed to traffic and full of shoppers: Great place for people watching and window-shopping. My son had a good time too. He ran over and hugged a giant ice-cream cone in the middle of the street. I thought it was cute and took a picture. Turns out it was a giant trashcan! We had a tough time pulling him away from it.

1-20130330_162541(0)To top-off an excellent day, we celebrated my birthday dinner at the La Sandia restaurant at the end of Third Street. Lucky for us they had a food festival going on, which features enchiladas from different parts of Mexico. The mouth-watering food, soothing ambiance and birds eye view of the street, made it an evening to remember!

1-20130330_231408Santa Monica is a neat place to spend a day. It has something for every interest, taste and age. Don’t expect much quite though, as all that awesomeness, obviously, attracts traffic!

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