Tourists continue to flock to the Pacific Ocean-side city of Santa Monica each year. With the Santa Monica Pier, amazing deep-sea fishing, surfing, and a variety of free public art in the nearby area, it is no wonder that this coastal town attracts so many visitors.
And, tourism is a great industry for Santa Monica, generating an estimated 13,345 jobs. So if you are looking for some fun in the sun and the opportunity to admire local artwork, then Santa Monica is the city for you.
The city of Santa Monica boasts over 150 sculptures and murals throughout the community. While we can’t possibly list every piece here, and since part of the joy of exploring the city includes accidentally happening upon these pieces, we’ll just share a few of our favorites.
Favorite Must-See Santa Monica Public Art
If some open-air shopping is on your to-do list, then make sure that a visit to Santa Monica Place is on the agenda. You’ll pleasantly encounter a riff on the Newton’s Cradle as there is a giant version hanging on the exterior wall of the parking garage adjacent to the mall. Visiting midday is recommended, as you will be delighted by the reflections from the polished steel orbs.
Wilshire Boulevard offers a bunch of mom and pop bakeries that are great for breakfast at the start of your day. Then, spend the next few hours popping in and out of the many designer and boutique shops. During your visit, be on the lookout for the Big Wave sculpture at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Franklin Avenue.
This piece is one of the earliest pieces of commissioned public art in the community. The wave is most striking in the evening when the blue silhouette is visible against the dark sky. But, you’ll get a great view in the morning too.
Along Wilshire and Lincoln Boulevards you will notice a variety of quirky paintings, including a visage of Abraham Lincoln. These paintings appear right on the exterior walls of the local businesses.
And, at 631 Wilshire Boulevard, you can enjoy local street art including a portrait of a bigger-than-life boy gazing longingly toward the sand. This piece is called Beach Day.
Other Recommended Santa Monica Public Art Pieces
If that wasn’t enough for you, be sure to locate these cool items:
- Wave and Shell Obelisks located at Ocean Park Boulevard and Barnard Way
- The Digital Divide located on Colorado Avenue between 6th Street and 7th Street
- The Oneness sculpture located at Mary Hotchins Park at the intersection of 4th Street and Strand
- The BIG Project playground at Santa Monica State Beach
Relax For A Fun Meal After A Day Exploring Santa Monica Public Art
After a long day of checking out the city or the beach, end your evening with dinner at Big Dean’s Ocean Front Café located on the Santa Monica Boardwalk, on the east side of the Boardwalk across from the Merry Go Round. We’ve got great food, beer, wine, music, sports TV, outdoor patios, and reasonable prices. Check out our menu and come on in.