Searching for Santa at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica

Sleigh and Moslem girls
In the center of Santa Monica Place three teenage girls wearing hajibs huddled over their cell phone next to the Santa Sleigh. This mix of people, religions, and holidays is so typical of Los Angeles these days.

After an hour and a half ride across L.A. on the Metro I disembarked at the end of the Expo Line in Santa Monica, fully expecting the Third Street Promenade to be decked out with holiday decorations.  It was — although they were non-traditional. Santa Monica Place, the shopping mall at the end of the Promenade, clung to the red/green color scheme commonly used for Christmas decorations.

So I set out, up the Promenade to see if a good old-fashioned Santa made an appearance anywhere along the way.   Here are some of the things I saw.

Christmas tree Third Street Promenade
At the far entrance to the Promenade was their holiday tree and maybe a “Santa” or maybe it is the head of an elf. I couldn’t tell, but whatever this head represented it interested the young boy.
Holiday decorations 3rd street promenade
Christmas ornaments in cartoony day-glo colors deck a kiosk and clothing shop in the middle of the Promenade.
STreet performers 3rd St Promenade
The temperature set an all-time record on Thanksgiving and two days later it was still “shorts weather’ in Southern California. While the weather was clear when I arrived shortly before noon, a couple of hours later the fog began to roll in from the beach, three blocks away.  The blue sky was gone.
Kiosk selling angel wings for adults
Kiosks along Third Street sold the usual hats, smart phone cases, and clothes. But the women at this kiosk were selling “angel wings” in sizes for adults!


Chad at Johnny Rockets
I stopped for a snack at Johnny Rockets and ordered a root beer float from Chad, a newcomer to Los Angeles. Floats were not on the menu but they made it for me anyway.
Street Evangelist
A street evangelist preaching to the empty air as shoppers and strollers avoided him.  To the right is a topiary dinosaur, one of several topiaries along the Promenade.
Along the Promenade were these cartoony panels which were the non-traditional decoration for the holidays. These tourists seem to like it.
Street performers 3rd St Promenade
The Third Street Promenade has a long, long history of allowing street performers to play to wandering shoppers. These two guitar players really turned it up! They call them selves 6 Cuerdas, which means 6 Ropes. The most famous Third Street Promenade performer is Roger Ridley of “Stand By Me” fame.
Santa at the Cabo Cantina (
Finally! An inflated Santa, elves and Christmas tree decorate the facade of the Cabo Cantina about half-way along the Mall. It’s very kitchy, but so often holiday decorations are just that.  And they can use these year after year.  Time to hop back on the Metro and go home.



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