Once again Main Street is showing the rest of Santa Monica that it is the events and activities epicenter of the city as the first of three Open Main Street festivals kicks off this weekend, with all manner of events and activities that are being organized by local businesses.

It only feels like only a short time ago we were watching the 4th July parade, then last week, the Festival of the Chariots took place and this weekend it’s a celebration of…well, just being in Santa Monica. Like we need an excuse to hold a street party. And there’s two more to come, with another in September and finally the last in October as the summer starts to draw to a close and fall gently nudges its way back into our lives.

Presented by Cypress Equity Investments and LAcarGuy, there will be a highly anticipated Pickleball activation, live-music and a festival beer garden for 21+ over attendees with free frozen sangria and food tastings from Sugar Plum at the Viceroy. Plus samples from Venice Duck Beer, Dulce Vida Tequila, JuneShine Hard Kombucha, Angelisco Tequila, St. Hildie’s Spiked Tincture Tonics, and “Drag Bingo with the Alejandro Queen” inside the beer garden.

This marks the first time that Main Street has operated an event of this scale over an entire weekend since 2019 and before the pandemic.

Funnily enough, last Tuesday, August 8, was National Pickleball Day and the Santa Monica Pickleball Center at 2501 Wilshire Blvd is arranging to have a number of temporary courts set up so that anyone in our sunny seaside city who hasn’t yet been swept up in this popular paddle-based pastime can get a chance to see firsthand what all the fuss is about.

“Ever since the pandemic, pickleball has exploded in popularity,” says Jonathan Neeter, owner of the Pickleball Center. “You had a real groundswell out there of people playing because there wasn’t a lot else to do. People were playing in backyards or putting up nets in their driveways or patios. You can’t really create a makeshift tennis court, it’s too big, but pickleball you can do,” Neeter says.

There will be the chance to try free introductory lessons, play live-ball, or open play for those familiar with the sport. Spectators will also get to enjoy exhibition games with experienced, high level players on both Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. — 4 p.m.

There’s also a multitude of different musical acts, all local, with genres ranging from indie rock, funk, soul, R&B, jazz, country and even a Tom Petty tribute band, performing on two stages all weekend long from 3 p.m — 7 p.m.

A kid-friendly corner will be curated by the Pump Station & Nurtury, with Super Soccer Stars drills, face painting and a comedy show for kids to keep even the youngest attendees engaged. Parents are also invited to use the Nurtury Lounge, equipped with a changing station, chairs, and complimentary water and snacks. Other activities include rock climbing, performances from local youth organizations and more.

Of course, with any street party comes road closures. Main Street from Pier Avenue to Strand Street will be closed for events beginning 7 a.m. on August 12 until 10 p.m. on August 13. Ocean Park Blvd will be open in both directions. Check out the website mainstreetsm.com for further information and the SMDP’s guide to all that’s going on.

But wait, there’s more. In addition to this amazing weekend-long wingding celebrating all things Santa Monica, there’s an “End of Summer Sidewalk Sale” taking place on Montana Avenue all day today, Friday, 11 August and tomorrow, Saturday, 12 August.

Retail outlets, coffee shops, gift stores and everything in between will have all manner of items on offer, tea samples, reduced membership rates and sales rack discounts on men’s wear, women’s wear and even pet’s wear. Check out montanaave.com for more details.


Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.