12 Reasons Why Santa Monica is Leading the Way as a Sustainable Travel Destination

In Santa Monica you don’t have to sacrifice the indulgences of luxury travel in order to “go green” as the destination provides many eco-friendly restaurants, hotels, attractions and transport alternatives so you can travel guilt-free and protect the destination you love to visit. The city’s longstanding commitment to the environment includes a goal to achieve zero waste through diversion, composting, and recycling by 2030.

In 2019 Santa Monica banned single-use plastics

With the rising awareness of the impact plastic is having on the world’s oceans, at the start of 2019, Santa Monica, took bold measures in an effort to safeguard its coastline from pollution by banning single-use plastics. The new regulations mean local businesses distributing plastic utensils to customers must ensure they are made from marine-degradable material instead of plastic. These requirements will protect Santa Monica Bay from plastic pollution whilst reducing landfill waste.This aligns with the city’s sustainability goals and longstanding commitment to the environment, which includes a goal to achieve zero waste through diversion, composting, and recycling by 2030. As one of the first cities in the USA to expand bans on plastics, Santa Monica has emerged as a leader in environmental protection as well as being one of the most sustainable cities in the USA.

Sustainable Hotels

Ocean View Hotel, Santa Monica Motel, Shore Hotel and The Ambrose Hotel are Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified properties that offer eco-friendly accommodations in addition to a variety of fantastic amenities. To improve sustainability and allow guests to have an eco-experience, these hotels feature a range of green business practices including reduced water consumption, increased water and energy efficiency, installation of solar panels and LED lighting and more. Additionally, many hotels in Santa Monica are green business certified including Hostelling International LA/Santa Monica, Le Meridien Delfina Santa Monica and Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel.

Go Car-free

Santa Monica provides environmentally green transportation options and services for visitors and residents to get around the city. These include Metro, Big Blue Bus, Breeze Bike Share, a public bike share program, the Santa Monica Shuttle Free Ride, a free service to transport riders to Downtown Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Pier, Main Street, and Montana Avenue, and the Metro Expo Line. Additionally, at just 8.3 square miles, it’s easy to navigate the city on foot.

Eco-friendly eats

The Santa Monica farmers market sets the tone for Santa Monica dining, with nearly 200 different growers and food purveyors at the beach city’s four weekly farmers markets, Santa Monica continues to attract famous chefs who value locally grown food and the celebrities and foodies who want to explore the diverse culinary offerings.

Sustainable shopping at Santa Monica Place

Gold LEED certified, Santa Monica Place delivers three levels of exciting retail and dining options with beautiful views of the Pacific from the top Dining Deck. Originally operated as an indoor, enclosed mall, Santa Monica Place was renovated into an open-air concept and reopened in August 2010. The new design maximises sunlight and fresh-air throughout the property and facilitates an uninterrupted walkable experience for shoppers to navigate throughout the mall. Today, Santa Monica Place incorporates water-efficient landscaping, a green roof element and many other sustainable property features to reduce their carbon footprint.

“The Green Light District”

Main Street, also known as the “Green Light District,” is an eclectic street where locals go which oozes laid-back beach lifestyle and a commitment to sustainability. The street has the most certified green businesses than any other in Santa Monica, and is also home to a community garden. You’ll find boutiques, design galleries, cafes, bars, restaurants and more.

Annenberg Community Beach House

A short and refreshing bike ride just north of the Santa Monica Pier is Annenberg Community Beach house – the country’s first/only public beach club and a Gold LEED certified building that used recycled blue jeans for insulation. This public facility is located on five acres of oceanfront property that was initially developed during the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. Today, visitors can take a dip in the same original marble pool where the old Hollywood elite did, play volleyball, have lunch, take yoga classes and learn about Santa Monica history with free docent tours at the Marion Davies Guest House.

Pacific Wheel at Pacific Park

Regarded as one of the “World’s Coolest Ferris Wheels,” the 13-story Pacific Wheel is the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel. From a seat on the Pacific Wheel, visitors and locals alike take in panoramic views of the Los Angeles coastline and mountains from more than 185 feet above the Santa Monica Pier. The Ferris wheel’s 174,000 energy-efficient LED lights create a 85-foot high computer-generated light show for night-time beach-goers to enjoy.

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Featuring hands-on presentations and interactive exhibits, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a part of Santa Monica’s own “Heal the Bay” programme – an initiative to educate, inspire and empower its visitors to be stewards of the environment. General admission is $5 per person; kids ages 12 and under are free; groups of 10 or more are charged $3 per person, regardless of age.

Tongva Park

The architect responsible for New York City’s celebrated High Line Park, James Corner Field Operations, has designed Tonga Park’s six-acre urban oasis just two blocks from the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy Santa Monica’s architectural park for winding walkways, observation decks, picnic tables and ample open grass. The modern green space faces the ocean and is centrally located, making it accessible.

Every year Santa Monica hosts the Sustainable Quality Awards, honouring sustainable businesses

The Sustainable Quality Awards promotes the efforts of local businesses making significant achievements in the areas of sustainable economic development, social responsibility, and stewardship of the natural environment. The SQA nurtures Santa Monica’s sustainable business community, inspiring other businesses to adopt their own sustainable practices and providing residents and visitors with a healthy economy and environment.

Santa Monica is home to Global Green

Global Green is an environmental non-profit organisation which works to stem climate change and build a more sustainable, secure future. Helping the people, places and the planet in need. Global Green works to create green cities, neighbourhoods, affordable housing, and schools to protect environmental health, improve livability, and support the planet’s natural systems; to address climate change and create resilient and sustainable communities.

For more information please visit www.santamonica.com


Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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