Renter's Guide to Santa Monica
Santa Monica, California is a small incorporated city within the County of Los Angeles that is perhaps most famous for the Santa Monica Pier. Santa Monica weather and its walkability make it one of the most popular cities in Southern California to settle down.
Santa Monica is 30.7 miles away from Long Beach but it’s only 3.1 miles from Venice Beach, so walking there would take you only about an hour. From LA (downtown) it’s 33.7 miles via the 10 freeway. Since it’s located on the Pacific Ocean, the annual high temperature is 66.2°F while the annual low in 56.2°F. In other words, it’s always sunny in Santa Monica!
Santa Monica, CA Demographics
- Total Population92,169
Female 44,537Male 47,632
- Median Age40.5
Cost of Living in Santa Monica, CA
Santa Monica has its own transit system, called the Big Blue Bus which connects it with Los Angeles and other local cities and costs just $1.25 for one way adult fare. The Santa Monica commuter spends about 25 minutes each way getting to work (about the same as the U.S. average). With the addition of the MTA Expo Line trains finally going to Santa Monica, the commute may get less stressful for some.
The average meal for 2 people in a mid-range Santa Monica restaurant runs about $25 per person. Utilities for a Santa Monica apartment for 2 people that is 915 square feet runs $129.55 per month, lower than the $147 U.S average.
Average Rent in Santa Monica, CA
- Santa Monica, CA Average Rental Price, October 2018$3,685/mo
- 1 Bedroom$3,335
- 2 Bedrooms$4,931
- 1 Bedroom$2,068
- 2 Bedroom$2,782
Santa Monica, CA Apartment Rent Ranges
- > $2,00090%
Santa Monica, CA Rent Trends
|All rentals||Studio||1 Bed||2 Beds||3 Beds|
|Oct / 2018||$3,685||$2,448||$3,335||$4,931|
|Jan / 2018||$3,404||$2,461||$3,250||$4,238|
|Sept / 2017||$3,375||$2,276||$3,252||$4,232|
|May / 2017||$3,405||$2,278||$3,278||$4,276|
|Jan / 2017||$3,359||$2,304||$3,239||$4,185|
|Sept / 2016||$3,323||$2,346||$3,168||$4,152|
|May / 2016||$3,480||$2,266||$3,164||$4,674|
|Jan / 2016||$3,359||$2,199||$3,000||$4,587|
|Sept / 2015||$3,342||$2,132||$3,053||$4,463|
|May / 2015||$3,302||$2,113||$3,025||$4,386|
Average rent is projected to grow by 5% in 2018 compared to 2017.
Please note that projected rent growth is calculated at city level.
Average rent values on this page are aggregated from data from the following zip codes: 9040190402904039040490405
Living in Santa Monica
Santa Monica has a lot going for it, namely the beautiful weather and proximity to the beach. It’s a very walkable city that still has a small town vibe. There are a lot of great local restaurants and shops, too. On the down side, if you have to commute anywhere, you’re likely to be stuck in freeway traffic, particularly near the 405 and 10 intersection. Then there are the crowds of tourists that flock to the area every summer, making it sometimes difficult for the locals to enjoy.
Ethnically, Santa Monica is not particularly diverse with just over 70% of its residents being white and other ethnicities represented in the single digits. It’s sometimes referred to as “The People’s Republic of Santa Monica” because of its Liberal leanings and policies. It was also once voted Drunkest City in America due to the high numbers of bars, pubs, and wineries per capita.
Things to do in Santa Monica
Most entertainment and food in Santa Monica involves the beach or the outdoor Third Street Promenade, which is a popular Westside destination for tourists and locals alike. The Santa Monica Pier and neighboring Pacific Park are great spots to gaze at the Pacific and breathe in the ocean air.
Best restaurants in Santa Monica include Water Grill where celeb sightings are common or Father’s Office and its famous hamburger. Known as one of the best brunch spots in town, Huckleberry Bakery & Café, serves scrumptious treats made with the best quality ingredients, including organic flour and pantry staples, Vahlrona chocolate and farmers-market produce.
Another local favorite, The Bungalow, is located on the corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica. It features one of the coolest nightlife scenes in the city, with private dining space, sweeping outside decks, stylish meeting spaces and intimate patios, and atmospheric music, all complemented by some really amazing ocean views.
British expats can be found hanging around Ye Olde King’s Head Pub. And if you’re in the mood for some splashy Asian-fusion fare, check out Wokcano at 1413 5th St.
In addition to the Promenade or the Pier, things to do in Santa Monica include the beach and the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. Fun things for couples to do include Bergamot Station, which is home to a number of art galleries or catching a flick at AMC 7 Santa Monica. You can also enjoy a nice dinner and a movie with that special someone at ArcLight Santa Monica. If you are looking for a place to wear your dancing shoes, however, Zanzibar has a nice mix of live and DJ music.
The 245-acre Santa Monica State Beach draws sun-seekers from around the word. There's something to do here every day, whether it's swimming and soaking in the sun, biking and jogging, or simply contemplating the beauty of the ocean.
Top annual events such as free concerts on the Santa Monica Pier and the Santa Monica Festival in Clover Park attract visitors from across the city and around the world.
Employment and Economy in Santa Monica
Santa Monica and nearby Venice have been called “Silicon Beach” because of the number of tech jobs that have sprouted in the area (26% of employers). Health care, tourism, and retail round out the employment picture, while the City of Santa Monica itself is the largest employer in the region.
Santa Monica, CA Households
- Total Number of Households46,688
Family 17,918Non-family 28,770
Children 7,594No Children 39,094
- Average People Per Household1.94
- Median Household Income$76,580
- Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,722
Education in Santa Monica
Santa Monica is served by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District with 11,000 students and its high schools often make national top ten lists. Santa Monica also has the highly regarded Santa Monica College, which is often a gateway to nearby UCLA.
Santa Monica, CA Education Statistics
- No High School2%
- Some High School13%
- Some College18%
- Associate Degree5%
- Bachelor Degree37%
- Graduate Degree26%
Tips for Renting in Santa MonicaSanta Monica has its own Department of Housing and Economic Development, whose mission is to create and maintain affordable housing. Its apartment buildings are also subject to some of the strongest rent control laws in California. Maximum Allowable Rent is determined for each unit, which can be looked up on the Rent Control Board website. The amount rent can be increased is also carefully determined by the Board each year. Because of its spectacular location and strong rent control, there is both a shortage of vacancies and fierce competition for new applicants. Prospective renters should always make a good first impression by showing up on time for an appointment and completely filling out the rental application. And if you want the scoop on some of the best rentals available in Santa Monica, look no further than RENTCafé.com!
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