The Census Bureau 2006 population estimate for Santa Monica is 88,050, while a 2007 estimate from the California State Department of Finance places the population at 91,124. Santa Monica is named for Saint Monica of Hippo because the area on which the city is now located was first visited by Spaniards on her feast day. In the skateboard and surfing communities, Santa Monica's Ocean Park neighborhood and adjacent parts of Venice are sometimes called Dogtown.
Because of its agreeable weather, Santa Monica had become a famed resort town by the early 20th century. The city has experienced a boom since the late 1980s through the revitalization of its downtown core with significant job growth and increased tourism.
The Santa Monica Looff Hippodrome (carousel) is a National Historic Landmark. It sits on the Santa Monica Pier, which was built in 1909. The La Monica Ballroom on the pier was once the largest ballroom in the US, and the source for many New Year's Eve national network broadcasts. The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was an important music venue for several decades and hosted the Academy Awards in the 1960s. McCabe's Guitar Shop is still a leading acoustic performance space, as well as retail outlet. Bergamot Station is a city-owned art gallery compound that includes the Santa Monica Museum of Art. The city is also home to the Santa Monica Heritage Museum.
Santa Monica is the home of the Third Street Promenade, a major outdoor pedestrian-oriented shopping district that stretches for three blocks between Wilshire Blvd. and Broadway Blvd. Third Street has been closed for those three blocks and converted to a pedestrians-only stretch to allow people to congregate, shop and enjoy street performers.
The oldest movie theater in the city is the Majestic. Also known as the Mayfair Theatre, the theater which opened in 1912 has been closed since the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The Aero Theater (now operated by the American Cinematheque) and Criterion Theater were built in the 1930s and still show movies. The Santa Monica Promenade alone supports more than a dozen movie screens.
Palisades Park stretches out along the crumbling bluffs overlooking the Pacific and is a favorite walking area to view the ocean. It features a camera obscura. For 48 years local churches and the Police Association assembled a 12-tableau story of Christmas in Palisades Park. The sheds were open on the street side, protected by chain-link fencing (for years there was no fencing because vandalism was not yet a large problem). Inside were dioramas of the Holy Family made from store mannequins; critics argued that many of them did not resemble real people, were damaged, or were otherwise inappropriate. In 2001 the city decided to temporarily end the practice of allowing private groups to place displays in city parks, but in 2004 the Christmas displays returned.
Natives and tourists alike have enjoyed the Santa Monica Rugby Club since 1972. The club has been very successful since its conception, most recently winning back-to-back national championships in 2005 and 2006. Santa Monica defeated the Boston Irish Wolfhounds 57-19 in the Division 1 final, convincingly claiming its second consecutive American title on June 4, 2006, in San Diego. They offer Men's, Women's and a thriving children's programs. The club recently joined the Rugby Super League.
Santa Monica is an international mecca for skateboarding culture.
Santa Monica has several newspapers, including the: Santa Monica Observer Newspaper, its only newspaper of general circulation.
Universities and colleges within a radius from Santa Monica include Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Southwest College, Los Angeles Valley College, Loyola Marymount University, Mount St. Mary's College, Pepperdine University, California State University, Northridge, California State University, Los Angeles, UCLA, USC, West Los Angeles College and West Valley Occupational Center.
The city is also served by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's bus lines. Metro also complements Big Blue service, as when Big Blue routes are not operational overnight, Metro buses make many Big Blue Bus stops, in addition to MTA stops. It currently has no rail service but Metro is working on bringing light rail to Santa Monica in the form of the Exposition Line. Since the mid-1980s, various proposals have been made to extend the Red Line subway to Santa Monica under Wilshire Boulevard. However, to this day, no plans to complete the "subway to the sea" are imminent, owing to the difficulty of funding the estimated $5 billion project. In the past, Santa Monica had rail service operated by the Pacific Electric Railway, until it was dismantled in the 1960s.
The city owns and operates a general aviation airport, Santa Monica Airport, which has been the site of several important aviation achievements. Commercial flights are available for residents at Los Angeles International Airport, a few miles south of Santa Monica.
Like other cities in Los Angeles County, Santa Monica is dependent upon the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles for international ship cargo. In the 1890s, Santa Monica was once in competition with Wilmington, Calif., and San Pedro for recognition as the "Port of Los Angeles" (see History of Santa Monica, California).
Santa Monica is situated at 34°1'19" North, 118°28'53" West (34.022059, -118.481336).
The city rests on a mostly flat slope that angles down towards Ocean Avenue and towards the south. High bluffs separate the north side of the city from the beaches.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 41.2 km² (15.9 mi²); 21.4 km² (8.3 mi²) of land. Its borders extend three nautical miles (5.6 km) out to sea, and so 19.8 km² (7.7 mi²) of it is water for a total area that is 48.08% water.
Santa Monica enjoys an average of 325 days of sunshine a year. Because of its location, nestled on the vast and open Santa Monica Bay, morning fog and haze are a common phenomenon in May, June and early July (caused by ocean temperature variations and currents). Locals have a particular terminology for this phenomenon: the "May Gray" and the "June Gloom". Overcast skies are common for June mornings, but usually the strong sun burns the fog off by noon. Nonetheless, it will sometimes stay cloudy and cool all day during June, even as other parts of the Los Angeles area will enjoy sunny skies and warmer temperatures. At times, the sun shines east of 20th St, while the beach area is overcast.
As a general rule, the beach temperature is from 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (3 to 5.5 degrees Celsius) cooler than it is inland. A typical spring day (Mid-April) is sunny, pleasant and about 68 °F (20 °C). In the summer, which stretches from May to late October, temperatures can reach the mid-80's Fahrenheit (about 30 °C) at the beach. The average temperature for August is 71 °F (21 °C). September is the warmest month of the year in Santa Monica, with an average of 73.2 °F (22 °C). It is also in September that high temperature records tend to be broken. In early September 2004, 92 °F to 98 °F (33 °C to 37 °C) were recorded.
In early November, it is about 68 °F (20 °C). In late January, temperatures are around 63 °F (17 °C). It is winter, however, when the hot, dry winds of the Santa Anas are most common. In mid-December 2004, temperatures soared to 84 °F (28 °C) in Santa Monica, for a few straight days, with perfectly sunny skies.
The rainy season is from late October through late March. Winter storms usually approach from the north-west and pass quickly through the Southland. There is very little rain during the rest of the year.
Santa Monica usually enjoys a cool breeze blowing in from the ocean, keeping the air fresh and clean. Therefore, smog is less a problem for Santa Monica than elsewhere around Los Angeles. However, in the autumn months of September through November, the Santa Ana winds will sometimes blow from the east, bringing smoggy inland air to the beaches.
Santa Monica's population has grown from 417 in 1880 to 84,084 in 2000. For population statistics by decade, see History of Santa Monica, California.
As of the census of 2000, there are 84,084 people, 44,497 households, and 16,775 families in the city. The population density is 3,930.4/km² (10,178.7/mi²). There are 47,863 housing units at an average density of 2,237.3/km² (5,794.0/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 78.29% White, 7.25% Asian, 3.78% African American, 0.47% Native American, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.97% from other races, and 4.13% from two or more races. 13.44% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. There are 44,497 households, out of which 15.8% have children under the age of 18, 27.5% are married couples living together, 7.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 62.3% are non-families. 51.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 1.83 and the average family size is 2.80.
The city of Santa Monica is consistently among the most educated cities in the United States, as measured by the percentage of residents with graduate degrees.
The population is diverse in age, with 14.6% under 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 40.1% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% 65 years or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females, there are 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.3 males.
According to a 2006 estimate, the median income for a household in the city is $61,423, and the median income for a family is $100,996. Males have a median income of $55,689 versus $42,948 for females. The per capita income for the city is $42,874. 10.4% of the population and 5.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 9.9% of those under the age of 18 and 10.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Businesses with their headquarters in Santa Monica include; video game companies and studios: Activision, Hydrogen Whiskey Studios, Naughty Dog SCE Santa Monica, Insomniac Games, Experian subsidiary LowerMyBills.com, investment firm Dimensional Fund Advisors, search engine company Business.com, and film / television production company and record label The Playtone Company, headed by actor Tom Hanks and producer Gary Goetzman. Major companies with branch offices in Santa Monica include Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Universal, MTV and Edmunds.com. The Design Center California for Volkswagen is located at what once was the Museum Of Flying at the Santa Monica Airport. The DCC moved to its present location from Simi Valley in 2006. Volkswagen's only styling studio in North America has been responsible for many notable automotive designs, including The New Beetle & The Audi Road Jet concept seen at the Detroit Car Show. The offices for the Comedy Central show South Park are located in Santa Monica.
Several days later Juan Martin Campos, age 23, a Santa Monica City employer and former gang member was shot and killed. Police believe this was a retaliatory killing in response to the death of Omar Sevilla.
Less than twenty-four hours later, Javier Cruz was wounded outside his home on 17th and Michigan, a violence riddled pocket of the Pico area.
One of the most eye opening events was the double homicide in the Westside Clothing store on Lincoln Boulevard. During the incident, Culver City gang members David "Puppet" Robles and Jesse "Psycho" Garcia entered the store masked and began opening fire, killing Anthony and Michael Juarez. They then ran outside to a getaway vehicle driven by a third Culver City gang member, who is now also in custody. The clothing store was believed to be a local hang out for Santa Monica gang members. The dead included two men from Northern California who had merely been visiting the store's owner, their cousin, to see if they could open a similar store in their area. Police say the incident was in retaliation for a shooting committed by the Santa Monica 13 gang days before the Juarez brothers were gunned down.
Aside from the rivalry with the Culver City gang, Black and Latino Pico gang members also feud with the Venice and West Los Angeles gangs. The main rivals in these regions include Venice 13, and Venice Shoreline Crips gangs located in the Oakwood area of Venice, CA. The Sotel 13 gang located in West Los Angeles has long been the main rival of Santa Monica's Latino gangs.
The 1963 U.S. mega-comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World included several scenes shot in Santa Monica, including those along California Incline, which led to the Big W.
The television series, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, had one of its major sets at the intersection of Stewart and Olympic Blvd, in Santa Monica.
Several scenes of Entourage have been filmed at Urth Cafe on Main Street.
The television series Pacific Blue was set in Santa Monica.
Forrest Gump ended his famous run across America at the Santa Monica Pier.
The movie Cellular concludes with a scene set at the Santa Monica Pier.
The setting on a certain portion of Mitch Albom's book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, has similarities to the Pacific Pier located along the Santa Monica beach. In the book, it is named Ruby Pier. Mitch Albom even acknowledged the Pacific Pier for its cooperation.
The name of the band Linkin Park is a homage to Santa Monica's former Lincoln Park which was near a recording studio they were using. (The park has since been renamed "Reed Park" in honor of longtime city councilmember Christine Reed.)
The ska/reggae band, Bedouin Soundclash has a song entitled "Santa Monica".
One of the few songs that musical satirist Tom Lehrer has recorded since the 1970s is a tribute to the holidays of the Jewish calendar entitled "I'm Spending Hanukkah in Santa Monica".