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View Full Version : Venice Beach/Santa Monica Pier/Santee Alley info please


aussiemickeys
03-02-2010, 01:40 PM
Would love to hear from anyone who has spent time at either Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier or Santee Alley (shopping area in downtown LA). The more detail the better thanks! Also how much time would you allow for each place roughly?

Ms. Shuttergirl
03-02-2010, 04:06 PM
We did Santa Monica and Venice beach in one day, finished up mid afternoon. I'll be honest and say I thought both places were a bit of a let down. Santa Monica had the largest number of homeless people we saw on the whole trip and whilst I thought it was probably good for my children to see that not everyone has the wonderful lives they do and that they should be more aware of other's hardships, it really was quite alarming at the same time. I enjoyed walking along the pier though, and Bubba Gumps was a yummy lunch.

Venice Beach, I think you need to be there on a weekend. It just had lots of shops with tacky t-shirts and that was about it. I know it is so cliche to think that there would be people roller skating along with a stereo on their shoulder and knee high flouro socks and would it have hurt some people to have big 70's afros :lmao::lmao::lmao:. It was nothing like I imagined. I thought there would be buskers and I don't exactly know but it wasn't that interesting, dead is the word that comes to mind. I definitely think going over the weekend would be the better idea.

I'm glad i went I guess, but I never have the need to go there again.

aussiegirls
03-02-2010, 04:59 PM
We went to Santa Monica and to Santee Alley.

Santa Monica was ok. We loved it because we saw Cirque De Soleil there. Completely agree with Ms. Shuttergirl about the homelessness. There were sooooo many beggars there that it actually became quite disturbing and scary. We also went to Bubba Gumps on Santa Monica pier, but then again we went to every Bubba Gumps we saw (I think 3 different ones :rotfl: ). I think that it is a nice place to go and see but I don't think that you would need to be there for an entire day.

What to say about Santee Alley except ....... don't do it!!!!!! We went there as part of a shopping tour and if I had known what it was actually like I would never have gone. Think Parklea markets (or whichever dodgy markets is near you) on steroids with 100 times more people. Everything there is a knock off, it is sooooooo dirty, it is beyond crowded and most of the people/shops only spoke spanish. I could not wait to get on my bus and move on to a more civilised shopping centre.

Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear :confused3

xxx

Willow25
03-02-2010, 05:43 PM
Totally agree with Mrs Shutterfly and Aussiegirls, Venice beach, Santa Monica and Santee Valley are disappointing. I would recommend the Grove and the farmers market instead. As for beaches I actually really like Laguna Beach.

aussiegirls
03-02-2010, 06:39 PM
Yep, I second The Grove and the farmers markets. Also if you have little girls you absolutely can not miss American Girl Place at the Grove, I think I spent the equivalent of an entire weeks salary at that shop - but it was well worth it :cloud9:

xxx

Mellby
03-02-2010, 07:40 PM
The Grove/Farmers market is great - you've gotta try one of the cinnamon buns at Bob's donuts - TO DIE FOR and so cheap ($1.20) for the biggest bun you've ever seen (that sounds weird ;) )

I actually loved Santa Monica, however I got there in the late afternoon/evening and did the whole pier thing. Went on the roller coaster and ferris wheel. I heard that the Mexican restaurant at the end of the pier is fantastic (I will definately head there when I'm back in a couple of months)

The shops in Santa Monica are great and there's a Kitson outlet for those who love Kitson stuff.

Maybe the beggars were all asleep while I was there. :D

Beverly Center is also great if you like Macy's and big department stores.

Ms. Shuttergirl
03-02-2010, 08:41 PM
Another vote for Farmers Market/Grove. We had no plans to go there but when we did our amazing limo Hollywood guided tour he insisted on dropping us there for 1 1/2 hours. We had no idea what it was before we got there but I have to say we had a lovely time there. And I am still dreaming about the American Girl shop. It was divine. Ever since being their every gossip mag I pick up has a picture with a caption that says "famous person" shopping at Farmers Market :rotfl2:

Mellby
03-02-2010, 08:47 PM
A limo tour!!!! Lucky you. I just drove there. :)

I loved Anthropologie. Never went to American Girl as I assumed it was for kids?????

aussiegirls
03-02-2010, 09:00 PM
American Girl kinda is for kids but I say go in there anyway :goodvibes . We had lunch in their cafe and it was just divine. The place was beautiful, the food was nice, the servers were excellent. I would def go back again, even without kids :lmao:

xxxx

Ms. Shuttergirl
03-02-2010, 09:18 PM
A limo tour!!!! Lucky you. I just drove there. :)

I loved Anthropologie. Never went to American Girl as I assumed it was for kids?????

Ummmm just call me a "kid at heart" :lmao:

PrincessInOz
03-03-2010, 04:55 AM
Agree with Farmers Market/Grove.

If you do Venice Beach, you need to go at the weekend. We've been mid week (what a waste of time) and at the weekend - much more action; but still tacky. If you decide to go, it's also worth a little trip to find the Venice Canals; which are about 3 blocks back from the beach. Walk a little way along the canals (it is safe'ish) and you'll get to see into people's backyards and houses.

If you're into malls, try going to South Coast Plaza as an alternative.

aussiemickeys
03-03-2010, 07:23 AM
Thanks for all the info! From the feedback, we have immediately discounted going to Santee Alley (we are probably going to Malaysia at the end of the year - so we can go to some good markets there).
The Farmers Market seems to get good raves from everyone, so I will do a bit more research into that.
We feel like we should spend a day away from Anaheim exploring something new to us. Previously we have done Universal, Hollywood & Beverly Hills, Catalina Island, Legoland, Magic Mountain, Ontario Mills Outlet Centre.
Still tossing up about Venice Beach & Santa Monica Pier. People here don't seem too rapt in them. In all honesty, it wouldn't take much for us to say "forget it - let's just enjoy another day at Disney".

Kalice
03-03-2010, 09:46 PM
We went to Venice beach for our second time this year. Last time we went it was just okay. This time we all hired bikes and rode from Venice Beach to Santa Monica, for lunch. We had a great day, and it was one of the highlights of trip. Yes we saw a few 'wierdos' and some homeless people, the good thing about the bikes is it keeps you moving past it all. Overall a great day. The bikes only cost $5 each for one and half hours, and they were really cool bikes, we even got a trailer for our 2 year old.

queenie82
03-03-2010, 10:43 PM
It's been many years but I quite liked Newport Beach
And I love visiting the original Getty Museum (Villa) in Malibu.

You pay for parking but admission is free
http://www.getty.edu/visit/index.html

And the view from the newer Getty Museum is beautiful

kylieh
03-04-2010, 01:08 AM
We loved Farmers Market/The Grove. Oooh, American Girl. DD got a doll when we were there, and we're returning on this trip for another. I've also booked American Girl Cafe lunch for the 4 of us (plus doll), but DH is thinking he'll go for a walk while DD, MIL and I lunch :lmao: Bit too girly for him.

I thought it was good to see Santa Monica but don't feel a need to rush back. I felt kind of let down. Don't think we'll be going there on the upcoming trip unless we end up with unexpected time.

ehsmum
03-05-2010, 04:21 AM
We went to Venice beach for our second time this year. Last time we went it was just okay. This time we all hired bikes and rode from Venice Beach to Santa Monica, for lunch. We had a great day, and it was one of the highlights of trip. Yes we saw a few 'wierdos' and some homeless people, the good thing about the bikes is it keeps you moving past it all. Overall a great day. The bikes only cost $5 each for one and half hours, and they were really cool bikes, we even got a trailer for our 2 year old.

Was the bike hire easy to find? We were planning on walking from Santa Monica down to Venice Beach and back, but cycling sounds like a much better idea!

Kalice
03-05-2010, 09:02 AM
I'm sure there would be some hire places up the Santa Monica end too. It took around 15 minutes or so to cycle one-way, so it would be quite a walk. My kids still talk about the 'cool' bikes they rode, they really were like something from a movie.

GrazingGoat1966
03-13-2010, 03:02 AM
We booked three nights at the Cadillac "Hotel" in Venice in 06. We stayed one. There were 4 people all aged around 40 in our party, including a couple of pretty large lads, and in half a dozen trips to the states we have never felt more unsafe. Venice was (at that time at least) FULL of homeless sorts, beggars (panhandlers) and associated weird types including one clown whose idea of humour was screaming at the top of his lungs at 2am on the boardwalk outside our hotel. Idiot.

We moved 5 mile up the road to the Holiday Inn in Santa Monica the next day and felt like Venice was a million miles away.

If you like pushing the envelope and seeing how the other half live (ie the nut jobs and whackos), then you'll have a great time at Venice. But if you want a NORMAL, enjoyable couple of days in that North Western part of LA, then spend a little extra and stay at Santa Monica. You wont regret it.

ehsmum
03-13-2010, 03:18 AM
We booked three nights at the Cadillac "Hotel" in Venice in 06. We stayed one. There were 4 people all aged around 40 in our party, including a couple of pretty large lads, and in half a dozen trips to the states we have never felt more unsafe. Venice was (at that time at least) FULL of homeless sorts, beggars (panhandlers) and associated weird types including one clown whose idea of humour was screaming at the top of his lungs at 2am on the boardwalk outside our hotel. Idiot.

We moved 5 mile up the road to the Holiday Inn in Santa Monica the next day and felt like Venice was a million miles away.

If you like pushing the envelope and seeing how the other half live (ie the nut jobs and whackos), then you'll have a great time at Venice. But if you want a NORMAL, enjoyable couple of days in that North Western part of LA, then spend a little extra and stay at Santa Monica. You wont regret it.

We stayed at the Cadillac Hotel at Venice Beach back in 1996 at my husband's insistence. He had stayed there a few years prior with a bunch of backpackers and they loved it. It was awful! So run down and grotty and I totally agree about the area. My husband reluctantly admitted that he was wrong and won't ever suggest a hotel again :lol:. I choose and book everything now! We will visit Venice Beach during the day for a look, but we definitely won't be hanging out there with kids.

GrazingGoat1966
03-13-2010, 03:40 AM
It would obviously be a waste of money for the Cadillac Hotel to promote themselves over here in the West then.....hey ehsmum!!!!! :-)

kazbar
03-15-2010, 08:42 PM
We have been to Venice Beach a couple of times.

You need to go on the weekend and only for a few hours. I certainly wouldn't want to over night there.

If you don't like alternative lifestyles or being a little out of your comfort zone then possibly give it a miss. It is not the commercial touristy type of place, more offbeat.