The Third Street Promenade by Day

Apr 23, 2009 by Lisa Newton


Third Street Promenade is an all pedestrian street in Santa Monica, and is considered one of the premier shopping destinations in Los Angeles.

Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean–coupled with Los Angeles’s Mediterranean climate—the Third Street Promenade draws crowds from all over the Los Angeles basin.

The Third Street Promenade is a great example of what government, business, and a community can accomplish while working together. Until recently, the Promenade was a rather shabby part of town, filled with vacant, dilapidated storefronts.

Third Street has been a center of business in Santa Monica since the town’s inception in the late 1800s. The Promenade’s roots date back to the 1960s, when the Santa Monica Mall was developed as an outdoor shopping promenade similar to the one known today, though less upscale in nature. By the late 1970s, it was in serious decline.

But that all changed, in the late 80s into the 90s, when the area went through a rejuvenation that’s continuing until the present.

After a two-year planning process to develop a new approach to the area, a 1986 bond issue to fund the project and a 1988 groundbreaking, a new and revitalized Third Street Promenade launched in September, 1989. A key driver for the economic vitality of Santa Monica, the Third Street Promenade continues to thrive 20 years after its redevelopment.

Look Mom

The former asphalt of old Third Street has been overlaid with hexagon-shaped tile and both ends of the avenue are now guarded by large, topiary dinosaur fountains.

The Third Street Promenade

Here on The Promenade you can always find a crowd of people enjoying the sunshine while visiting its upscale boutiques, trendy sidewalk cafés, and shops.

Let's park here

Although biking on the Promenade isn’t allowed, biking to the Promenade is the perfect way to get there. In fact, to help increase the ease of biking to and in Santa Monica, new bike racks have been installed on Second Street and the Promenade.

Pink Ice

Although we’re spoiled in Los Angeles because of our temperate and bountiful sunny weather, not everything in life is free—so with April’s spring showers and cleaning almost over, if you need to purchase a few items to enhance your summer, the Third Street Promenade is the perfect place to get ready and prepared to enjoy the soon upcoming summer season.

Along with stores and restaurants including Starbucks, Pink Ice, the Gap, and several movie theaters, here’s a complete list of all the stores, eateries, and business’.

Great Street Performers

What I found—and everybody else–interesting and alluring about the Promenade, is that not only can I enjoy a day of shopping and walking, but on any given weekend, the streets are lined with performers; singers, musicians, dancers, and acrobats.

After a day of walking, window shopping, and taking pictures, I’m feeling good knowing that I’m saving money, time, energy and being green, by both shopping and having a chill day vacation by Travelin’ Local.

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Santa Monica, Shopping, SoCal

8 Responses to “The Third Street Promenade by Day”

  1. David says:

    Lisa, nice reporting about the 3rd Street Promenade. This walking mall was very well thought out, and many cities copied its outdoor based theme with great success.

    You’ve captured its aesthetic perfectly.


  2. Lisa's Chaos says:

    Cool! Cool! Cool! So, I can suck on a Starbucks and watch street performers AND see that cool fountain! That has to be the coolest fountain I have ever seen! And I think I just used my yearly quota of the word cool!


  3. Kevin says:

    I remember going to Long Beach in 1975 for the Long Beach Grand Prix car race. The town was very seedy at the time but everyone involved had a vision. Last week I watched the Long Beach Grand Prix on television, still running strong after 35 years. What a difference. These days Long Beach looks like a city where you might allow your kids to go and maybe would even stay after dark. It was very cool to see!

    It looks like Santa Monica has done the same, not the seedy old city I remember as I was growing up but a sophisticated safe city that one would want to visit. Good for them!

    Kevin’s last blog post..Aerial Art


  4. LisaNewton says:

    @ David Thank you. I’m glad other cities copied the design. It’s a winner.

    @ Lisa’s Chaos Hey, the 3rd Street Promenade is very cool. You do all that and more, even take your Starbucks coffee and walk from one end of the Promenade to the other. In fact, there are two Starbucks, one right on the Promenade, plus another one at the corner of 3rd and Wilshire, in a Barnes and Nobles. No shortage of coffee here…………..:)

    @ Kevin A few weeks ago, I was going to go to Long Beach for a bike festival, but I wasn’t feeling well, so I couldn’t go. But, I will be heading there in the next few weeks. From a few discussions I’ve had with the locals, Santa Monica has come a long way. One friend of mine described Santa Monica about 10-15 years ago, “A dump.”


  5. Diane C. says:

    I’m not much of a mall shopper, but an outdoor setting like the Third Street Promenade looks very appealing for strolling and people watching. I love the picture of the boy in front of the topiary dinosaur fountain!

    Diane C.’s last blog post..Gila Monster


  6. Bike to Work Day – Pit Stops in Santa Monica | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] to encourage more bike riders. They recently added more bike racks to several areas close to the Third Street Promenade, and have more planned. However, there’s much more education, advocacy, and work yet to be done: [...]

  7. A Santa Monica Walking Tour | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] Today’s walking tour ends at the Third Street Promenade. [...]

  8. The Georgian Hotel where Old meets the New | Travelin' Local says:

    [...] I walked a short two blocks to the world famous Santa Monica Third Street Promenade. From that point, my potentials and possibilities for enjoyment were endless–shopping, [...]

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