With oceanfront vistas as pretty as a picture, it’s no surprise that Santa Monica has become a major art hub, with more than 120 museums, galleries, and public art installations within the city’s roughly 8 square miles/21 square kilometers. But don’t expect ho-hum paintings of sailboats cruising into an endless sunset—this pedestrian-friendly waterfront city includes multimedia installations that are at the cutting edge of today’s art scene. Worthy stops include Bergamot, housing Santa Monica’s single largest concentration of art galleries, and Broadway Gallery Complex for contemporary works by local and international artists.
Dance and the performing arts find strong support here too. In summer, the Santa Monica Pier becomes a stage for a series of outdoor concerts. The 3rd Street Promenade is a well-known place for catching quality street musicians and performers. Downtown venues for music, dance, and theater include state-of-the-art The Broad Stage, on the campus of Santa Monica City College, and Edgemar Center for the Arts.