Tourism Talks

Iconic Coastline Inspires Visitors to Make Santa Monica Home

By Misti Kerns

With our world-famous attractions such as the Santa Monica Pier, welcoming people and atmosphere, first-rate dining and shopping scene, there’s no shortage of reasons why visitors from across the globe choose our beachside city as their vacation destination of choice.

Many first time visitors ,including this local, fall in love with our sandy shores so much that they decide to move here and call Santa Monica home.

Earlier this month local residents stopped by Santa Monica Travel & Tourism’s interactive video booth at COAST, the city of Santa Monica’s open streets festival, to share personal stories of their first visit to the destination.

While the circumstances of their first visit ranged in detail, their stories all shared a common thread – the call of the ocean.

“First time I came to Santa Monica was 1967,” said Glenn Williams, a chiropractor. “I was in college and the only thing here was the beach. There was no Promenade, there was no Santa Monica Place, there was no Main Street… there was really no reason to come here other than to go to the beach.

Since then the city has completely transformed into a destination for visitors from around the world, so it’s a really exciting and fun place to be,” he added.

“My favorite memory of Santa Monica was learning to surf off Ocean Park,” said Becky Natali, a pharmacist. “I got an instructor, learned how to surf and rode my first wave there. Riding and getting to see the dolphins come up to my board was probably my favorite Santa Monica moment.”

“My first time in Santa Monica was on my first trip to LA,” said Bob Friday, a realtor. “I was out here to produce some TV spots… and decided I-had to get out to see the ocean. I got the rental car, headed out to the beach, went to the Pier, hung around and realized – this is where I was supposed to be born.”

“My first great memory of Santa Monica is when I was five years old and went to the Santa Monica Pier and rode one of the horses on the carousel,” said David Partie, an English Professor.

“Whirling around and around and seeing the wonderful beach, the ocean and the entire spectrum of Santa Monica. It was delightful.”

“My favorite memory of Santa Monica is the day I moved here and I got to walk down to the beach and look at the ocean and the pier all at the same time,” added Kelly Spillman, an energy healer.

“It was magical and I knew this was right where I was supposed to be.”

For Jennifer Barnato, a nurse who is married with two children, Santa Monica sparked the dream of a family.

“Our first visit to Santa Monica was when we first started dating,” said her husband Nick. “I was living in San Francisco and Jenn was living in Chicago and we wanted to come here for New Year’s.”

“We had a great New Year’s weekend,” said Jennifer.

“We stayed at the Fairmont and our hotel room overlooked the beautiful Santa Monica Pier and we thought ‘how perfect would it be to have a family here one day.’ That dream became a reality and now we live here.”

With 3.5 miles of broad, glistening coastline, our idyllic scenery inspires a great number of dreams indeed.

Share the story of your first visit to Santa Monica to be entered to win an Apple iPad mini and a 2-night Santa Monica staycation at one of Santa Monica’s hotels.

First visit story entries can be made online at santamonicatourism.comnow through December 31, 2017.