There are some places around this city that are just staples to Santa Monica culture and tourism like the Santa Monica Pier and Boardwalk, for instance. Then, there are other places that are a little “off the beaten path,” but still a big part of Santa Monica and what it represents. This seaside city is definitely full of pleasant surprises. Here are a few of the hidden gems in Santa Monica that are worth visiting.
Santa Monica Hidden Gem: Jadis
If antique, sci-fi menagerie is your thing, then you’ll love Jadis. This little shop of oddities is filled with antique science gadgets and movie props/paraphernalia collected over time by one Parke Meek who opened the shop some thirty years ago with his partner Susan. You can peruse the shop’s odd selections just for fun or purchase a weird item (like an antique medical device) that you have no use for. It even features a generator created by THE Nikola Tesla.
What’s even more interesting, is that some movie studios still visit Jadis for props for films. Some Jadis oddities have found their way into the X-Files and Batman. It’s definitely not one of the first places that come to mind when some people think of Santa Monica, but it’s still a very interesting part of this city’s history. One that is certainly worth checking out.
Santa Monica Hidden Gem: The Gehry House
Santa Monica is home to plenty of out of the box thinkers and artists, including the architect who thought up the Gehry House. It’s an architectural miracle/ work of art. Frank Gehry is responsible for a number of famous abstract structures, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim Museum in Spain. In typical Gehry fashion, he created this post-modern building as a home for him and his wife in 1978.
Santa Monica Hidden Gem: Route 66-End Of The Trail
There’s a sign at the end of the Santa Monica Pier that marks the end of the road (literally) for Route 66. The iconic highway that runs east to west across eight states comes to an end here only because the ocean puts an end to it. It’s pretty cool to think that thousands of miles of famous highway come to an end at this small sign at the end of the Santa Monica Pier.
Santa Monica Hidden Gem: Church Of Type
The Church of Type is the perfect cross between a WordPress art studio and a typography shop. It was founded by Kevin Bradley, whose studio/ sanctuary is where he provides people and businesses with his handprinted typographic art.
Not-So-Hidden Gem: Big Dean’s Ocean Front Café
Big Dean’s Ocean Front Café is not so much a hidden gem as it is a gem in this town, but it’s still worth including at the end of this list. Big Dean’s offers some of the best burgers and beer in Santa Monica. You can find us on the east side of the Boardwalk across from the Merry-Go-Round. To keep up with Big Dean news, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and read more about Santa Monica on our blog.