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Santa Monica and the Beaches

Santa Monica and Venice are two of the region's most iconic destinations, but while Santa Monica has its eyes firmly on the future, Venice enjoys indulging a bit in its past.

Silicon Beach, Southern California's tech hub, is centered on the Santa Monica area, which means employees from hundreds of companies like Activision, Hulu, and Snap (of Snapchat fame) flood the area and influence the flavor of its shops and restaurants. (Silicon Beach's influence also impacts many hotel amenity lists, to your benefit.) The Santa Monica Pier, with its Ferris wheel and roller coaster, is the scene of a thousand movie and television show filmings, from Forrest Gump to Iron Man, while Venice Beach has conjured images of greased-up bodybuilders, boho hippies, and boardwalk palm readers for generations.

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