Get to Know Your City

This page is “Santa Monica 101.” You’ll find here all the basics you need to know living in the famous city by the sea.

Planning A Staycation in Santa Monica

You don’t have to go far to have a good time if you live in Santa Monica. There’s a lot to explore in your own backyard. This will help you find out what each neighborhood has to offer.


Welcome to Santa MonicaMoving to Santa Monica: A How-To Guide

Moving to a new city, even one as amazing as Santa Monica, can be stressful and confusing. So we thought we’d help you out with some of the more important information you need to make your transition to your new home as easy as possible. Here are the basics.

A (mostly) accurate representation of a local government public meeting as portrayed by NBC's Parks and Recreation.Santa Monica Public Meetings: A How-To Guide

Just imagine yourself as a character in the reality-TV version of NBC’s Parks and Recreation. At least, that’s what we like to do.


RentalManRenting in Santa Monica, Part 1: The Rent’s Too Damn High!

It is no secret to anyone who has considered moving to Santa Monica that finding a place to live here is not cheap. A person in 2013 looking to rent in Santa Monica – and about 70 percent of the 90,000 people who live in the seaside city are renters – could have expected to pay on average about $2,300 a month. Why is the rent so damn high?

Image from Outlook Archives via Susan ClokeRenting in Santa Monica, Part 2: Rent Control

Under Santa Monica’s rent control law, Charles and Carol Gasko enjoyed a fixed rent of $1,145 a month. For 15 years, they lived in their apartment in the well-heeled Wilmont neighborhood, walking distance from Santa Monica’s bustling Downtown and the Palisades Bluffs. That is, until they were arrested by FBI agents in June 2011. Charles and Carol Gasko were actually the aliases of notorious mobster James “Whitey” Bulger and his companion Catherine Greig.

CCSM BuildingRenting in Santa Monica, Part 3: Affordable Housing

In the face of skyrocketing rents, Santa Monica has struggled to maintain its commitment to economic diversity among its residents. New construction or market-rate rental units in the city’s 8.3 square miles is not likely to ever be enough to satiate the demand for housing enough to stabilize rents.


City SealBreaking Down Santa Monica’s Budget

People living in Santa Monica enjoy quite a lot of amenities for a city its size. Santa Monica, home to about 90,000 people, has its own police force and fire department. Within its eight square miles, Santa Monica has five libraries26 parks (including a skate park and a public beach house), an urban runoff treatment plant, a vast network of nonprofits that serves some of the city’s most vulnerable people, and some of the best public schools in the county. The City also operates its own bus systemwater treatment plant, and TV station.