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Best Santa Monica historic restaurants and activities on-the-go

Longtime Galley bartender Angie Truman prepares the bar for another busy night.
Longtime Galley bartender Angie Truman prepares the bar for another busy night.
Ray j. Pages

Santa Monica’s dynamic culinary history includes many restaurants that have been serving patrons for decades.

Visit these local spots for a meal steeped in history (with takeout options). Then, explore some nearby fun activities to experience just some of what Santa Monica has to offer residents and visitors alike.

Enjoy Santa Monica and eat well on-the-go!

The Galley and California Heritage Museum
Santa Monica’s oldest restaurant and bar dates back to 1934. Captain Ron Schur helms this nautical-themed Main Street hub, which is open for daily dinner and happy hour, and Sunday lunch.

Dinner entrées include grilled Alaskan halibut and petit filet mignon. Look for “Captain Ron’s favorite land food”, too.

While on Main Street, visit the California Heritage Museum—once the Ocean Avenue home of Roy Jones (son of Santa Monica’s co-founder Senator John P. Jones). Built in 1894, the charming Victorian house was later moved to its current location and then opened as a museum in 1980. Displays of California decorative, folk and fine art fill the museum and current exhibits include Monterey: Furnishings of California’s Spanish Revival.

2442 Main St., 310-452-1934, find it here
2612 Main St., 310-392-8537,

Snug Harbor and Santa Monica Lawn Bowls Club

This delightful mid-city diner opened in 1941 and serves breakfast and lunch daily. While here, peruse the local historical photos lining the walls.

The breakfast menu features a variety of dishes such as Rudy’s special with egg whites and chicken fajitas. For lunch, try items such as a grilled vegetable salad.

Up the street, check out the Santa Monica Lawn Bowls Club—which has called Douglas Park home since 1948. The genteel game of lawn bowling is played on the park’s green, where one will often see players dressed in traditional white garb. Stop by to watch a game; lessons are available by appointment and membership is required for game play (an introductory membership with lessons is available).

2323 Wilshire Blvd., 310-828-2991,
2439 Wilshire Blvd., 310-440-9400,

Chez Jay and Tongva Park
This legendary Ocean Avenue hideaway has been a celebrity hangout and local favorite since it opened in 1959. Now a Santa Monica Historical Landmark, the restaurant and bar serves daily dinner and happy hour, along with weekday lunch and weekend breakfast.

Soak up the great history and atmosphere, and choose selections like Jay’s seafood salad or the filet mignon and lobster tail dinner combo.

Steps away from Chez Jay sits the gorgeous Tongva Park. Dedicated in 2013 along with City Hall’s Ken Genser Square, the six-acre public space is named in honor of the Tongva—the indigenous people who were the original inhabitants of the area. Enjoy this urban oasis filled with native landscapes, walking paths and more.

1657 Ocean Ave., 310-395-1741,
1615 Ocean Ave., 310-458-8310,

Michael’s and Santa Monica Farmers Market
Considered a pioneer of California cuisine, Michael McCarty opened his acclaimed downtown restaurant in 1979. Michael’s serves American classic and contemporary cuisine prepared with simple, seasonal and fresh ingredients, and is open for dinner and happy hour Monday through Saturday.

The summer dinner menu includes wild striped bass and vegetarian selections like a melon and kale salad.

Find the fresh produce that drives California cuisine at the neighboring Santa Monica Farmers Market, along the 3rd Street Promenade. Tour the Wednesday or Saturday markets for a wide array of local and seasonal produce items and more.

1147 3rd St., 310-451-0843,
Various locations, 310-458-8712, find it here

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