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Renter’s City Guide to Santa Monica, CA
Introducing Santa Monica Expenses & Housing Stats Jobs & Education Lifestyle & Renting Tips

Santa Monica, with its fantastic weather conditions and walkability, is one of the most popular Southern California cities to settle down in. The city is famous for its Santa Monica Pier. 

Where is Santa Monica located?  

The small city incorporated within the County of Los Angeles lies 30.7 miles from Long Beach and just 3.1 miles from Venice Beach, the latter being accessible even by foot. Downtown Los Angeles is 33.7 miles away if you travel via the I-10 freeway.

What is the weather like in Santa Monica?

Santa Monica weather is always sunny, with annual high temperatures reaching 66.2°F and annual lows being around 56.2°F, thanks to its location by the Pacific Ocean.


What are the pros of living in Santa Monica?  

The gorgeous weather, proximity to the beach, small-town charm and walkability are some of the biggest perks of living in Santa Monica, along with the fantastic supply of shops and restaurants. 

What are the cons of living in Santa Monica? 

The crowds of tourists flocking to the city can be quite bothersome for locals. The other disadvantage is freeway traffic, which is typical at the 405 and 10 intersection. 

Is Santa Monica a diverse city? 

Santa Monica is not exceptionally diverse, as more than 70% of its residents are Caucasian and other ethnicities are represented only in the single digits. However, because of its liberal leanings and policies, the city is often referred to as “The People’s Republic of Santa Monica.”

Santa Monica Demographic Highlights
Total Population 92,828
Median Age 41.4

How much does public transportation cost in Santa Monica? 

Santa Monica has its own Big Blue Bus public transportation system connecting it to LA and other nearby cities. One-way adult fares cost $1.75. 

What is the average commute time in Santa Monica?

The average commute time in Santa Monica is 26.2 minutes, which is just below the national average of 26.4 minutes. Eventually, as the MTA Expo line is added to local public transportation, the commute might become less stressful for some individuals. 

How much does an average meal cost in Santa Monica? 

The average three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant in Santa Monica costs around $75. 

How much do utilities cost in Santa Monica? 

Basic utilities in Santa Monica for a 915-square-foot apartment cost around $114.17, which is far below the national average of $160.11.

Santa Monica Rent Statistics
Apartment Rent Ranges
$501 - $7000%
$701 - $1,0000%
$1,001 - $1,5002.29%
$1,501 - $2,0000.58%
> $200097.13%
Average Rent Trends
What is the average rent in Santa Monica?

The average rent for an apartment in Santa Monica is $4,017 per month.

What is the average apartment size in Santa Monica?

The average apartment size in Santa Monica is 767 sq. ft.

What is the rent for a studio apartment in Santa Monica?

Rent for a studio apartment in Santa Monica ranges between $2,084 and $5,150 per month.

What is the rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica?

Rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica ranges between $2,200 and $13,500 per month.

What is the rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica?

Rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica ranges between $1,950 and $16,400 per month.

What is the rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica?

Rent for a 3-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica ranges between $3,425 and $26,913 per month.

Santa Monica Housing Statistics
Occupied Housing Units 46,664
Owner occupied 28.54%
Renter occupied 71.46%

Where to work in Santa Monica? 

The largest employer in the region is the City of Santa Monica, with industries like healthcare, tourism and retail also offering ample employment. Together with nearby Venice, Santa Monica has often been referred to as “Silicon Beach,” due to the large number of tech jobs (26% of employers) that have recently appeared.

Santa Monica Employment Statistics
White Collar 48,114
Blue Collar 3,044
White Collar 94.05%
Blue Collar 5.95%
Self Employment 9,653
Private Companies 32,200
Governmental Workers 5,121
Not for Profit Companies 4,184
Self Employment 18.87%
Private Companies 62.94%
Governmental Workers 10.01%
Not for Profit Companies 8.18%

What is the school system like in Santa Monica?

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District serves the city, featuring 11,000 students and schools that often make top 10 lists. Santa Monica College is held in high regard, often serving as a gateway to nearby UCLA.

Santa Monica Education Statistics
No High School2.9%
Some High School11.83%
Some College13.84%
Associate Degree5.99%
Bachelor Degree38%
Graduate Degree27.43%

What are the best places for outdoor activities in Santa Monica? 

Third Street Promenade is a sought-after outdoor attraction in Westside, popular among tourists and locals alike. Those wanting to breathe in the ocean air and gaze at the Pacific should head to the Santa Monica Pier or neighboring Pacific Park. The expansive Santa Monica State Beach offers a myriad of possibilities for outdoor fun on 245 acres, including sunbathing, biking and jogging. 

What restaurants are famous in Santa Monica? 

Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe is one of the most popular brunch places in the city, serving mouthwatering delicacies made from top-quality local ingredients, including organic flour, Vahlrona chocolate and other pantry staples. Water Grill is a fine place to spot celebs, while Father’s Office is famous for its hamburger. The Bungalow — located at the junction of Wilshire Blvd. and Ocean Ave. — is another local favorite boasting one of the coolest nightlife scenes in the city. It features stylish dining spaces, atmospheric music and fantastic ocean views. Ye Olde King’s Head Pub is a favorite destination among British expats and Wokcano at 1413 5th St. serves delicious Asian-fusion dishes. 

What couples attractions are there in Santa Monica? 

For a fun date night consisting of dinner and a movie, you can head to ArcLight Santa Monica. For a night of dancing, Zanzibar offers a nice combination of live and DJ music. Bergamot Station is another popular attraction among couples, and is home to a number of art galleries. AMC 7 is the perfect place to catch a flick. 

What events are there in Santa Monica? 

The Santa Monica Festival in Clover Park is a popular local event and the city regularly hosts free concerts on the Santa Monica Pier, as well.

Santa Monica Household Statistics
Total Number of Households 46,664
Average People Per Household 2
Median Household Income$99,847
Average Household Income$158,034
No Children

What to know about renting in Santa Monica?

The local Department of Housing and Economic Development’s main goal is to create and maintain affordable housing in Santa Monica. In accordance with local rent control laws, maximum allowable rent is determined for each type of unit and can be looked up on the Rent Control Board’s official website. They also decide the amount of rental increase. Due to this strong rent control and thanks to Santa Monica’s desirable location, there’s fierce competition among new applicants, along with a shortage of vacancies. As such, renters should do their best in completely filling out the rental application and making a good first impression by showing up on time.