Live with Pride, Beachside, in Santa Monica
Roger Porter READ TIME: 7 MIN. SPONSORED
Overlooking the dazzling Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica is a welcoming beach town with big-city offerings. Forget West Hollywood and Downtown LA - this easy, breezy seaside oasis is a beach lover's haven with all your vacation essentials: Luxe dining, cozy boutique hotels, and popular hotspots just minutes away (including Los Angeles International Airport). Stay, relax, explore, and be yourself in a place that welcomes everyone.
Cozy and Chic Dining Destinations
No matter the meal, Santa Monica's dining scene keeps you coming back for more. For brunch, drop into Huckleberry Bakery & Café before heading to the beach. (Pro tip: This Santa Monica favorite is famous for homemade pastries.) Pair a fresh Farmers Market Fruit Crostata or flaky croissant with a fine cup of joe at Urth Caffe, another locally beloved eatery that feels as lived-in and homey as the organic ingredients on the menu. Choose from tasty breakfast goodies, satisfying sandwiches, and comforting teas and coffees.
For your midday fuel-up, we recommend Bay Cities Italian Deli and Bakery, where you can tuck into the Godmother: What many Angelinos consider the best sandwich in the entire city. Beyond the deli of delicious cured Italian meats and cheeses is the market, an Italian food-lover's paradise. Shop homemade pastas, sauces, and everything you need to whip up an authentic meal your family and friends will love. (And don't forget to grab a Godmother sandwich before you head out to find your next adventure.)
The perfect ending to a perfect day: Dinner in the elegant Garden Courtyard at The Buffalo Club. Unwind by candlelight, enjoy live music, and dance along with other diners in this popular date night destination. Looking for something a little more fast-paced? Head to Élephante, a popping rooftop bar and Mediterranean restaurant with spectacular views of the ocean. "Élephante Beach House is full of custom furniture and design touches that surround the guests with natural wood and stone, copper finishes, and design pieces from Northern Africa and Southern Italy," explains the official Santa Monica tourism website. Be sure to make a reservation early because this spot is hot, hot, hot!
Find Your Happy Place at These Luxe Stays
Santa Monica offers travelers a warm, beachside welcome with plenty of LGBTQ+ friendly lodging choices. Don't pass up the Santa Monica Proper Hotel, which "offers a true local experience in the heart of the city, walking distance from the beach, boutique shopping, health-conscious cafes, the world-class farmers market, and indulgent fine dining." (Read more on their website.) Plus, soak up the sun on the only rooftop pool deck on the Westside.
Exquisite taste is taken to the next level with the Palihouse Santa Monica, a restored 1920s Mediterranean garden-style hotel at the intersection of elegance and charm. Just a few blocks from Third Street Promenade, the beach and fine dining, Palihouse is the lush, classic getaway you didn't know you needed.
For "just steps from the beach" vibes, Viceroy Santa Monica has you covered (literally). Relax in newly redesigned oceanview rooms, take advantage of classy amenities, and post up in one of the expansive patio cabanas when you need a break from the sunshine. And, just steps from your room, you'll find Sugar Palm, "a sweeping indoor-outdoor scene where laid-back vibes ripple far beyond the poolside." (Get more details on the hotel website.)
Looking to stay near the action? Try Le Merigot Santa Monica, a favorite with LGBTQ+ travelers. This newly renovated seaside escape puts you close to the best the city has to offer: Santa Monica Pier, bars, restaurants, and nightlife.
See Santa Monica Come Alive at These Hotspots
Considered to be one of the best dining experiences in Santa Monica, The Penthouse is a vibrant nightlife scene on the 18th floor of The Huntley Hotel. Take in panoramic views of the ocean and downtown Santa Monica as you sip handcrafted signature cocktails and satisfy your taste buds with authentic California cuisine.
For a relaxed beach chic evening with friends and fellow travelers, head to The Bungalow, where you'll find "a laid-back game room with a pool table, a private dining room, a back garden and a large main bar with high raftered ceilings." (Check out other amenities on The Bungalow website.) Open late, and within walking distance of the beach and other late-night hotspots, it might just be the perfect hangout spot. Don't miss out on Trivia Night, every Wednesday at 7 p.m.!
No trip to Santa Monica is complete without a late-night adventure. Find yours at TR!P: A boisterous nightclub offering live music, burlesque, stand-up comedy, and more. Pop in every Wednesday night for TR!P Tease and experience a titillating burlesque and variety show. Nosh on yummy bar food and sip a craft beer as you enjoy a show, or take in home-grown tuneage from local musicians. Visit the TR!P website to check out the full line up of performers.
Finish the week on a high note at Santa Monica's oldest live music venue on the Westside. At Harvelle's, there's something new to see every day of the week. All day, every day, they serve up original and classic cocktails, plus musical acts ranging from rock to funk and everything in between.
Plan Your Trip
With indulgent dining options, welcoming seaside stays, and popping nightlife scenes, it's easy to see why our breezy beach city is the perfect getaway for LGBTQ+ travelers. Visit the official Santa Monica website to plan a memorable Santa Monica stay.