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Santa Monica is a city in western Los Angeles County, Californiamarker, USAmarker. Situated on Santa Monica Baymarker, it is surrounded on three sides by the city of Los AngelesmarkerPacific Palisadesmarker on the northwest, Brentwoodmarker on the north, West Los Angelesmarker on the northeast, Mar Vistamarker on the east, and Venicemarker on the southeast.

The Census Bureau 2006 population estimate for Santa Monica is 88,050, while a 2007 estimate from the California State Department of Finance places the population at 91,124. Santa Monica is named for Saint Monica of Hippo because the area on which the city is now located was first visited by Spaniards on her feast day. In the skateboard and surfing communities, Santa Monica's Ocean Park neighborhood and adjacent parts of Venice are sometimes called Dogtown.

Because of its agreeable climate, Santa Monica had become a famed resort town by the early 20th century. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core with significant job growth and increased tourism.


Attractions and cultural resources

The Monica, on 2nd Street, remains a highly popular art house/independent film theater.

The Santa Monica Hippodrome (carousel) is a National Historic Landmark. It sits on the Santa Monica Piermarker, which was built in 1909. The La Monica Ballroom on the pier was once the largest ballroom in the US, and the source for many New Year's Eve national network broadcasts.The Santa Monica Civic Auditoriummarker was an important music venue for several decades and hosted the Academy Awards in the 1960s. McCabe's Guitar Shop is still a leading acoustic performance space, as well as retail outlet. Bergamot Stationmarker is a city-owned art gallery compound that includes the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The city is also home to the Santa Monica Heritage Museum.

Santa Monica is the home of the Third Street Promenademarker, a major outdoor pedestrian-oriented shopping district that stretches for three blocks between Wilshire Blvd. and Broadway (not the same Broadway in downtown and south Los Angeles).Third Street has been closed for those three blocks and converted to a pedestrians-only stretch to allow people to congregate, shop and enjoy street performers.

Santa Monica hosts the annual Santa Monica Film Festival.

The oldest movie theater in the city is the Majestic. Also known as the Mayfair Theatre, the theater which opened in 1912 has been closed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Aero Theater (now operated by the American Cinematheque) and Criterion Theater were built in the 1930s and still show movies. The Santa Monica Promenademarker alone supports more than a dozen movie screens.

Palisades Park stretches out along the crumbling bluffs overlooking the Pacific and is a favorite walking area to view the ocean. It features a camera obscura. For 48 years local churches and the Police Association assembled a 12-tableau story of Christmas in Palisades Park. The sheds were open on the street side, protected by chain-link fencing (for years there was no fencing because vandalism was not yet a large problem). Inside were dioramas of the Holy Family made from store mannequins; critics argued that many of them did not resemble real people, were damaged, or were otherwise inappropriate. In 2001 the city decided to temporarily end the practice of allowing private groups to place displays in city parks, but in 2004 the Christmas displays returned.

Natives and tourists alike have enjoyed the Santa Monica Rugby Club since 1972. The club has been very successful since its conception, most recently winning back-to-back national championships in 2005 and 2006. Santa Monica defeated the Boston Irish Wolfhounds 57-19 in the Division 1 final, convincingly claiming its second consecutive American title on June 4, 2006, in San Diegomarker. They offer Men's, Women's and a thriving children's programs. The club recently joined the Rugby Super League.

Every fall the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce hosts The Taste of Santa Monica on the Santa Monica Pier. Visitors can sample food and drinks from Santa Monica restaurants.

Santa Monica is an international mecca for skateboarding culture.

Santa Monica has two hospitals: Saint John's Health Center and Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center. Its cemetery is Woodlawn Memorial.

Santa Monica has several newspapers and magazines, including the: Santa Monica Daily Press, the Santa Monica Mirror, the Santa Monica Observer Newspaper, Santa Monica Magazine, and the Santa Monica Sun.


Elementary and secondary schools

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District provides public education at the elementary and secondary levels. Private schools in the city include the Crossroads School, New Roads School, Concord High School, Pacifica Christian High, St. Anne Catholic School, Lighthouse Christian Academy and Saint Monica Catholic High Schoolmarker. Notable primary schools include the Carlthorp School and Santa Monica Montessori School.


Santa Monica Collegemarker is a community college founded in 1929. Many SMC graduates transfer to the University of California system. It occupies 35 acres (14 hectares) and enrolls 30,000 students annually. The Frederick S. Pardee RAND Graduate School, associated with the RAND Corporation, is the U.S.'s largest producer of public policy Ph.D.s. The Art Institute of California — Los Angeles is also located in Santa Monica near the Santa Monica Airport, though many are misled to believe the institute is in the city of Los Angeles because of its name.

Universities and colleges within a radius from Santa Monica include Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Valley Collegemarker, Loyola Marymount Universitymarker, Mount St. Mary's College, Pepperdine Universitymarker, California State University, Northridgemarker, California State University, Los Angelesmarker, UCLAmarker, USCmarker, West Los Angeles Collegemarker and West Valley Occupational Center.


The Santa Monica Freeway (Interstate 10) begins in Santa Monica near the Pacific Ocean and heads east. The Santa Monica Freeway between Santa Monica and downtown Los Angeles has the distinction of being one of the busiest highways in all of North America. After traversing Los Angeles County, I-10 crosses seven more states, terminating at Jacksonville, Floridamarker. In Santa Monica, there is a road sign designating this route as the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway . State Route 2 (Santa Monica Boulevard) begins in Santa Monica, barely grazing State Route 1 at Lincoln Boulevard, and continues northeast across Los Angeles County, through the Angeles National Forestmarker, crossing the San Gabriel Mountainsmarker as the Angeles Crest Highway, ending in Wrightwoodmarker. Santa Monica is also the western (Pacific) terminus of historic U.S. Route 66. Close to the eastern boundary of Santa Monica, Sepulveda Boulevard reaches from Long Beachmarker at the south, to the northern end of the San Fernando Valleymarker. Just east of Santa Monica is Interstate 405, the San Diego Freeway, a major north-south route in Los Angeles County and Orange County, Californiamarker.

On the other hand, City of Santa Monicamarker has purchased the first ZeroTruck all-electric medium duty truck. The vehicle will be equipped with a Scelzi utility body, it is based on the Isuzu N series chassis, a UQM PowerPhase 100 advanced electric motor and is the only US built electric truck offered for sale in the United States in 2009.


The city of Santa Monica runs its own bus service, the Big Blue Bus, which also serves much of West Los Angeles and the University of California at Los Angelesmarker (UCLA). A Big Blue Bus was featured prominently in the action movie Speed.

The city of Santa Monica is also served by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's bus lines. Metro also complements Big Blue service, as when Big Blue routes are not operational overnight, Metro buses make many Big Blue Bus stops, in addition to MTA stops. It currently has no rail service but Metro is working on bringing light rail to Santa Monica in the form of the Exposition Line. Since the mid-1980s, various proposals have been made to extend the Purple Line subway to Santa Monica under Wilshire Boulevard. However, to this day, no plans to complete the "subway to the sea" are imminent, owing to the difficulty of funding the estimated $5 billion project. In the past, Santa Monica had rail service operated by the Pacific Electric Railway, until it was dismantled in the 1960s.

Airport and ports

The city owns and operates a general aviation airport, Santa Monica Airportmarker, which has been the site of several important aviation achievements. Commercial flights are available for residents at Los Angeles International Airportmarker, a few miles south of Santa Monica.

Like other cities in Los Angeles County, Santa Monica is dependent upon the Port of Long Beachmarker and the Port of Los Angelesmarker for international ship cargo. In the 1890s, Santa Monica was once in competition with Wilmington, Calif.marker, and San Pedro for recognition as the "Port of Los Angeles" (see History of Santa Monica, California).

Medical services

Two major hospitals are within the Santa Monica city limits, UCLA Santa Monica Hospital and St. John's Hospital. There are five fire stations providing medical and fire response- Fire Units 121-125. Santa Monica Fire used to be dispatched from within the city. However, SMFD is now incorporated into the Operation Command Dispatch (OCD) system for Los Angeles City Fire Department. Ambulance transportation is provided by Gerber Ambulance Services.


Santa Monica is situated at 34°1'19" North, 118°28'53" West (34.022059, -118.481336).

The city rests on a mostly flat slope that angles down towards Ocean Avenue and towards the south. High bluffs separate the north side of the city from the beaches.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 41.2 km² (15.9 mi²); 21.4 km² (8.3 mi²) of land. Its borders extend three nautical miles (5.6 km) out to sea, and so 19.8 km² (7.7 mi²) of it is water for a total area that is 48.08% water.


Palm trees line Ocean Avenue
Santa Monica Downtown at twilight

Santa Monica enjoys an average of 310 days of sunshine a year. Because of its location, nestled on the vast and open Santa Monica Bay, morning fog is a common phenomenon in May, June and early July (caused by ocean temperature variations and currents). Locals have a particular terminology for this phenomenon: the "May Gray" and the "June Gloom". Overcast skies are common for June mornings, but usually the strong sun burns the fog off by noon. Nonetheless, it will sometimes stay cloudy and cool all day during June, even as other parts of the Los Angeles area enjoy sunny skies and warmer temperatures. At times, the sun shines east of 20th St., while the beach area is overcast.

As a general rule, the beach temperature is from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 5.5 degrees Celsius) cooler than it is inland. A typical spring day (Mid-April) is sunny, pleasant and about 68 °F (20 °C). In the summer, which stretches from May to late October, temperatures can reach the mid-80's Fahrenheit (about 30 °C) at the beach. The average temperature for August is 71 °F (21 °C). September is the warmest month of the year in Santa Monica, with an average of 73.2 °F (22 °C). It is also in September that high temperature records tend to be broken. In early September 2004, to 98 °F (33 °C to 37 °C) were recorded.

In early November, it is about 68 °F (20 °C). In late January, temperatures are around 63 °F (17 °C). It is winter, however, when the hot, dry winds of the Santa Anas are most common. In mid-December 2004, temperatures soared to 84 °F (28 °C) in Santa Monica, for a few straight days, with perfectly sunny skies. In contrast, temperatures exceeding 10 degrees below average are rare.

The rainy season is from late October through late March. Winter storms usually approach from the northwest and pass quickly through the Southland. There is very little rain during the rest of the year. Yearly rainfall totals are unpredictable as rainy years are occasionally followed by droughts.

Santa Monica usually enjoys a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean, keeping the air fresh and clean. Therefore, smog is less of a problem for Santa Monica than elsewhere around Los Angeles. However, in the autumn months of September through November, the Santa Ana winds will sometimes blow from the east, bringing smoggy inland air to the beaches.


The city is well known as one of the leading sustainable cities in all of the US. Three of every four of the city’s public works vehicles run on alternative fuel, making it among the largest such fleets in the country. All public buildings use renewable energy. In the last 15 years, the city has cut greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 10 per cent, a feat in car-crazy Southern California. City officials and residents have made the ongoing cleanup of the Santa Monica Bay a priority – an urban runoff facility catches 3.5 million gallons of water each week that would otherwise flow into the bay. Other environmental features include miles of beaches, extensive curbside recycling, farmer’s markets, community gardens, and the city’s bus system.


Santa Monica's population has grown from 417 in 1880 to 84,084 in 2000. For population statistics by decade, see History of Santa Monica, California.

As of the census of 2000, there are 84,084 people, 44,497 households, and 16,775 families in the city. The population density is 3,930.4/km² (10,178.7/mi²). There are 47,863 housing units at an average density of 2,237.3/km² (5,794.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.29% White, 7.25% Asian, 3.78% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.97% from other races, and 4.13% from two or more races. 13.44% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.There are 44,497 households, out of which 15.8% have children under the age of 18, 27.5% are married couples living together, 7.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 62.3% are non-families. 51.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 1.83 and the average family size is 2.80.

The city of Santa Monica is consistently among the most educated cities in the United States, as measured by the percentage of residents with graduate degrees.

The population is diverse in age, with 14.6% under 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 40.1% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% 65 years or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females, there are 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.3 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city is $71,796, and the median income for a family is $100,657. Males have a median income of $55,689 versus $42,948 for females. The per capita income for the city is $42,874. 10.4% of the population and 5.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 9.9% of those under the age of 18 and 10.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Government and infrastructure

The Santa Monica City Council, a Council-Manager form of government, with seven Council members elected at-large, is the current governing body of the city. In the state legislature Santa Monica is located in the 23rd California State Senate District, represented by Democrat Fran Pavley, and in the 41st California State Assembly district District, represented by Democrat Julia Brownley. Federally, Santa Monica is located in California's 30th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +20 and is represented by Democrat Henry Waxman.


Santa Monica is home to the headquarters of many notable businesses, including Lions Gate Films, Experian subsidiary,the RAND Corporation,investment firm Dimensional Fund Advisors, search engine company, and film / television production company and record label The Playtone Company, headed by actor Tom Hanks and producer Gary Goetzman.Major companies with branch offices in Santa Monica include: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Universal, MTV and Design Center California for Volkswagen, formerly located in Simi Valley,moved to the former site of the Museum Of Flying at the Santa Monica Airportmarker in 2006.Volkswagen's only styling studio in North America has been responsible for many notable automotive designs, including The New Beetle and The Audi Road Jet concept seen at the Detroit Car Show.The offices for the Comedy Central show South Park are located in Santa Monica.Supermarine, now Atlantic Aviation, is at the Santa Monica Airportmarker.

A number of game development studios are based in Santa Monica, making it a major location for the industry. These include:
  • Activision
  • High Impact Games (Work with the PSP system and creators of Ratchet: Size Matters)
  • Insomniac Games (Creators of Spyro the Dragon (1998-2000), Ratchet & Clank and Resistance franchises)
  • Naughty Dog (Creators of Crash Bandicoot (1996-1999), Jak & Daxter and Uncharted franchises)
  • SCE Studios Santa Monica
  • Studio Santa Monica (An in-house studio of SCE and creators of God of War)

Former Santa Monica businesses include Douglas Aircraft (now merged with Boeing) and MySpace (now headquartered in Beverly Hillsmarker). In December 1996, GeoCities was headquartered on the third floor of 1918 Main Street in Santa Monica.


In 2006, crime in Santa Monica affected 4.41% of the population, slightly lower than the national average crime rate that year of 4.48%.The majority of this was property crime,which affected 3.74% of Santa Monica's population in 2006;this was higher thanthe rates for Los Angeles County (2.76%)and California (3.17%),but lower than the national average (3.91%).These per-capita crime rates are computed based on Santa Monica's full-time population of about 85,000.However,the Santa Monica Police Department has suggested the actual per-capita crime rate is much lower,as tourists, workers, and beachgoers can increase the city's daytime population to between 250,000 and450,000 people.

Violent crimes affected 0.67% of the population in Santa Monica in 2006,in line with Los Angeles County (0.65%),but higher than the averages for California (0.53%)and the nation (0.55%).

Hate crime has typically been minimal in Santa Monica, with only one reported incident in 2007.However, the city experienced a spike of anti-Islamic hate crime in 2001, following the attacks of September 11.Hate crime levels returned to their minimal 2000 levels by 2002.

In 2006, Santa Monica voters passed "Measure Y" with a 65% majority,which moved the issuance of citations formarijuana smoking to the bottom of the police priority list.A 2009 study by the Santa Monica Daily Press showed that since the law took effect in 2007,the Santa Monica Police had"not issued any citations for offenses involving the adult, personal use of marijuana inside private residences."

Gang activity

While gentrification has transformed much of the city, some areas of Santa Monica experience gang activity.The city estimates that there are fewer than 50 gang members in Santa Monica, although some community organizers dispute this claim. Gang activity has been prevalent for decades in the Pico neighborhood, particularly the portion of the area running roughly from 14th Street to just east of Cloverfield, and between Pico Boulevard and Colorado Ave. This war has sporadically spilled into the halls of Santa Monica High School and impacts daily life for students at Olympic High School (at the corner of Ocean Park Blvd and Lincoln Blvd). These various feuds have claimed dozens of lives over more than two decades.

Culver/Pico feud
One of the most violent feuds was between Latino Santa Monica 13 gangs and the rival Culver City 13 gang. In 1998, five shooting deaths occurred in a two week period between these two gangs.

In October 1998, alleged Culver City 13 gang member Omar Sevilla, 21, of Culver City was killed. A couple of hours after the shooting of Sevilla, German tourist Horst Fietze was killed. Several days later Juan Martin Campos, age 23, a Santa Monica City employer and former gang member was shot and killed. Police believe this was a retaliatory killing in response to the death of Omar Sevilla. Less than twenty-four hours later, Javier Cruz was wounded outside his home on 17th and Michigan, a violence riddled pocket of the Pico area.

In 2006, there was a double homicide in the Westside Clothing store on Lincoln Boulevard. During the incident, Culver City gang members David "Puppet" Robles and Jesse "Psycho" Garcia entered the store masked and began opening fire, killing Anthony and Michael Juarez. They then ran outside to a getaway vehicle driven by a third Culver City gang member, who is now also in custody. The clothing store was believed to be a local hang out for Santa Monica gang members. The dead included two men from Northern California who had merely been visiting the store's owner, their cousin, to see if they could open a similar store in their area. Police say the incident was in retaliation for a shooting committed by the Santa Monica 13 gang days before the Juarez brothers were gunned down.

Aside from the rivalry with the Culver City gang, Black and Latino Pico gang members also feud with the Venice and West Los Angeles gangs. The main rivals in these regions include Venice 13, and Venice Shoreline Crips gangs located in the Oakwood area of Venice, CAmarker. The Sotel 13 gang located in West Los Angeles has long been the main rival of Santa Monica's Latino gangs.

Notable residents

In popular culture

Film and television

Hundreds of movies have been shot or set in part within the city of Santa Monica. One of the oldest exterior shots in Santa Monica is Buster Keaton’s Spite Marriage (1929) which shows much of 2nd Street.The comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) included several scenes shot in Santa Monica, including those along the California Street incline, which led to the movie's treasure spot, "The Big W". Heathers (1989) used Santa Monica's John Adams Middle School for many exterior shots. The Sylvester Stallone movies Rocky III (1982) shows Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed training to fight Clubber Lang by running on the Santa Monica Beachmarker and Demolition Man (1993). 17 Again (2009) was shot at Samo High. Other movies that show significant exterior shots Santa Monica include Fletch (1985), Get Shorty (1995), Dogtown and Z-Boys (2001), and Ocean's Eleven (2001).

The Santa Monica Piermarker is shown in many movies, includingThey Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969),The Sting (1973),Ruthless People (1986),Beverly Hills Cop III (1994),Clean Slate (1994),Forrest Gump (1994),The Net (1995),Love Stinks (1999),Cellular (2004)andHannah Montana: The Movie (2009).

A number of television series have been set in Santa Monica, including Baywatch, Three's Company, Pacific Blue, and Private Practice.In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the main exterior set of the town of Sunnydale, including the infamous "sun sign", was located in Santa Monica in a lot on Olympic Boulevard.

The movies The Doors (1991) and Speed (1994) featured Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus.

The city of Santa Monica (and in particular the Santa Monica airport) was featured in Roland Emmerich's disaster film 2012 (2009). An earthquake destroys the airport and the surrounding area as a group of survivors escape in a personal plane.


Raymond Chandler's most famous character, private detective Philip Marlowe, frequently has a portion of his adventures in a place called "Bay City", which is modeled on depression-era Santa Monica. In Marlowe's world, Bay City is "a wide-open town", where gambling and other crimes thrive due to a massively corrupt and ineffective police force.

The setting on a certain portion of Mitch Albom's book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, has similarities to the Pacific Pier located along the Santa Monicamarker beach. In the book, it is named Ruby Pier. Mitch Albom even acknowledged the Pacific Pier for its cooperation.


  • The name of the band Linkin Park is a homage to Santa Monica's former Lincoln Park which was near a recording studio they were using. (The park has since been renamed "Reed Park" in honor of longtime city councilmember Christine Reed.)
  • The modern rock band Theory of a Deadman's song titled "Santa Monica", is a first-person account about a girl leaving her significant other to start a new life in Santa Monica.
  • The band Everclear released a song titled "Santa Monica" in 1995, which became their first mainstream hit.
  • The band Savage Garden also released a song titled "Santa Monica" off their #3 US album Savage Garden (1997).
  • The ska/reggae band, Bedouin Soundclash has a song entitled "Santa Monica".
  • One of the few songs that musical satirist Tom Lehrer has recorded since the 1970s is a tribute to the holidays of the Jewish calendar entitled "I'm Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica".
  • Santa Monica is referenced throughout Jack's Mannequin's debut album Everything In Transit.


Santa Monica is featured in the video gamesTrue Crime: Streets of LA (2003),Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines (2004),Tony Hawk's American Wasteland (2005),andMidnight Club: Los Angeles (2008).

See also


External links

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