There is a three-block stretch of 3rd street in Santa Monica has been sealed off from traffic, tuning it into a pedestrian shopping and dining mecca, which is called the Third Street Promenade. The Promenade's roots date back to the 1960s when three blocks of Third Street were converted into a pedestrian mall. While most people in LA drive, on the Promenade you can always find a crowd of happy pedestrians enjoying sunshine or moonlight, along with the shops, movies, and restaurants. And best of all, it's free to roam.
In the center of Third Street are free-standing pavilions which resemble Victorian greenhouses, with aged brass roofs. Colorful flower boxes bloom on many ledges and bright flowers dangle from the old-fashioned, powder blue street lamps. The promenade has a growing number of intriguing book shops, antique stores, and unique memorabilia shops. Movie going is another main attraction with 3 different theaters which offer a total of 17 screens. There are also restaurants which range from fast food stands to upscale nightclubs. Some notable spots in the area include Border Grill II, Bob Burns, Fama, Mesa Grill, and Wolfganf Puck's Cafe.
Street performers and entertainers are a frequent sight on the street. On a typical Saturday night in the summer, singer-songwriters, classical guitar players, magicians, clowns, hip-hop dancers, lounge singers, session drummers, and other artists line up approximately 40 feet 50 feet apart from each other all along Third Street.
This is a great place to people watch and hang out if you're both a local and a tourist. You're guaranteed to find something you like!