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Santa Monica is a city on the Pacific Ocean, about 16 miles west of Downtown Los Angeles.

Downtown Santa Monica was laid out in 1875, after the Los Angeles & Independence Railroad went to a wharf at the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles. Santa Monica boomed beginning in the 1920s, when the use of automobiles became widespread, and most classes of people had easy access to the beach. The Pacific Electric Railroad also brought people to Santa Monica. After declining in the 1930s during the Great Depression, and seeing some growth throughout Santa Monica in the 1950s and 1960s, Downtown began a resurgence in the 1980s, fueled by the changing of the Third Street Mall to the Third Street Promenade. Since the 1980s, Downtown has been a focal point in the Los Angeles area for high-end business and retail.

Santa Monica Pier is the main tourist attraction, and arguably the centerpiece, of Downtown Santa Monica. The pier is at the foot of Colorado Avenue, extending out over the beach and into the Pacific Ocean. A neon sign, built in 1941, marks the entrance to the pier. The pier is acutally two separate piers that were joined together. The Municipal Pier, which is the long, narrow pier on the north half, was built in 1909. The Pleasure Pier was the short, wider pier on the south half, and was built in 1916. Santa Monica Pier features a carousel hippodrome, aquarium, arcade, and amusement park, among other amenities.

The Looff Hippodrome, on Newcomb Pier, adjacent to Santa Monica Pier. The structure was built in 1916.

Inside the Hippodrome is the Looff Carousel, built in 1922.

Businesses on Santa Monica Pier. Contrary to what the sign indicates, the pier was not the end of US Route 66; the designation ended at Lincoln Boulevard. The sign was dedicated in 2009, after the fact.

Businesses on Santa Monica Pier.

Businesses and Pacific Park amusement park rides on Santa Monica Pier.

The pier sticks out into the Pacific Ocean, and wide beaches line the shore. Santa Monica is one of the more popular places in the Los Angeles area to go to the beach.

From the beach, it is usually pretty easy to see Catalina Island off in the distance.

The Pacific Coast Highway, designated as California Route 1, heads north towards Malibu from the western terminus of I-10. The Santa Monica section of highway was dedicated in 1929.

The Sandy Bay House, on Ocean Front Walk. The house was built in 1909.

Houses on Ocean Front Walk, with the Pacific Coast Highway in the foreground.

The houses, like the white Sandy Bay House in the foreground, date back as far as 1909, although most are newer and have more floor space as housing prices soared due to demand to be on the beach.

As you climb stairs up to Palisades Park after crossing over the Pacific Coast Highway, you get a view of the Santa Monica Pier.

Palisades Park, along Ocean Avenue overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The park was laid out in 1892, and was designed by I.E. LeGrande in 1913.

The Camera Obscura Building, on Ocean Avenue in Palisades Park. The building was designed in 1955, and houses a camera obscura dating back to 1898.

The Georgian Hotel and Pacific Plaza are two of the main buildings on Ocean Avenue, which lines the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach.

The Georgian Hotel, on Ocean Avenue.

The hotel was built in 1931in an Art Deco style.

Pacific Plaza, on Ocean Avenue. The residential highrise was built in 1963.

Lawrence Welk Plaza, on Ocean Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard. On the left is 100 Wilshire, built in 1971 and the tallest building in Santa Monica, at 300 feet. It was designed by Cesar Pelli, while he worked with Daniel, Mann, Johnson & Mendenhall. On the right is the Champagne Towers, buitl in 1968. The plaza was named after the bandleader and TV show host who financed development.

A building on Ocean Avenue.

A house on Ocean Avenue, built in 1890.

Houses on Ocean Avenue. The house on the left was built in 1906.

A building at Ocean Avenue & Santa Monica Boulevard.

Buildings on Ocean Avenue.

Businesses on Broadway.

A building at 2nd Street & Santa Monica Boulevard.

Buildings on 2nd Street.

The Rapp Saloon, on 2nd Street. The structure was built in 1875, and is Santa Monica's oldest building.

Buldings at 2nd Street & Broadway.

A Sears department store, on Colorado Avenue. The store was built in 1947.

A parking garage on 2nd Street. The parking garage was remodeled in 2013 with a more fashionable facade.

A department store at 2nd & Broadway, in the corner of the Santa Monica Place mall.

Santa Monica Place is a mall between 2nd & 4th Streets, along Broadway. The mall was built in 1981, and was designed by Frank Gehry.

The Keller Block, on the 3rd Street Promenade. The structure was built in 1890.

The AMC Loews Broadway Cineplex, on the 3rd Street Promenade. The theater opened in 1989.

Businesses on the 3rd Street Promenade.

Businesses on the 3rd Street Promenade.

The Bay Cities Guaranty Building, now known as the Clock Tower Building, on Santa Monica Boulevard.

The highrise was built in 1930, and was the tallest building in Santa Monica until 1964.

Businesses on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Buildings on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Buildings at 4th Street & Santa Monica Boulevard.

The Central Tower Building, on 4th Street. The structure was built in 1929.

A building on 4th Street.

Buildings on 4th Street at Broadway.

A building on 4th Street, built in 1927.

The Ken Edwards Center for Community Services, on 4th Street. The community center was built in 1989.

A residential building on 5th Street.

An old house on Colorado Avenue. The house was built in 1895, and is now a doll museum.

Buildings on Colorado Avenue. The Tudor Revival office building on the left was built in 1975.

Buildings on 6th Street.

The famous US Route 66 had its western terminus at the intersection of Olympic & Lincoln Boulevards. The highway began eastward from where it diverged from US Route 101 at the intersection. This intersection served as the western terminus from 1936, when it was extended from the previous terminus in Los Angeles, to 1964, when US Route 66 was decommissioned in California.

A future Mel's Drive-In restaurant, on Lincoln Boulevard. The restaurant, which will open later in 2018, was built in 1959 as the Penguin Coffee Shop.

A building at 5th Street & Santa Monica Boulevard.

The U.S. Post Office, on 5th Street. The PWA Moderne-style structure was built in 1937.

Houses on California Avenue.

The Charmont Apartments, on California Avenue. The structure was built in 1929 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style.

The Sovereign Hotel, on Washington Avenue. The Spanish Revival hotel was built in 1929.

Buildings on 2nd Street. The highrise is the Huntley Hotel Santa Monica Beach, built in 1964.

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