The Best Running Spots in Santa Monica

A quick look at some of the best places to run in Santa Monica for long distance runs, speed workouts, and just plain beautiful views.

Santa Monica has always been synonymous with outdoor fitness.  Between the beginnings of , the early adoption of , and the popularity of surfing and biking, we’ve never had a shortage of outdoor activities in Santa Monica.  With all of these great options, it can be easy to overlook the most innate and basic of outdoor activities- running. Here is some of the best in running Santa Monica has to offer.

Great For: Long Distance Runs

The Strand/Ocean Front Walk

The first thing many visitors want to do when they visit is to go for a run on the strand.  With 22 miles of flat, scenic coastline, this path leisurely meanders through many SoCal communities, 5.2 miles of which are in Santa Monica.  This area is ideal for long runs, as the path is flat and is equipped with water fountains and restrooms.  But the best part? The views.  With wide, sweeping views of the Pacific and the majestic Malibu coast to the north, it would be hard to find a more beautiful place to run.  The path can be confusing, however as the bike path runs alongside the pedestrian path. Oftentimes there are bikes on the pedestrian path and pedestrians on the bike path.  Santa Monica bike path regulations can be found here, but when in doubt, run on Ocean Front Walk or the pedestrian path that runs parallel to the bike path.

San Vicente

Most Santa Monica residents know San Vicente as the northern corridor that borders Santa Monica and the Palisades, and connects Santa Monica with Brentwood.  It also happens to be home to a wide green median perfect for running.  Aside from a few uneven areas and some protruding tree roots, the ground is fairly flat.  While San Vicente is a large and busy road, the lengthy grass median and slow incline make it ideal for runs, complete with water fountains.  The Santa Monica portion of San Vicente runs roughly from Ocean Ave to 26th street and elevates a few hundred feet on just over two miles, making for a challenging run out, and an easy downhill run back. 

Great For: Hill Repeats

Hills Behind Main Street

For those who are looking to get a good hill workout in, no place can beat the streets behind Main Street.  Heading south on Main Street, there are a handful of streets that shoot off east from Main, offering up quiet streets with short, steep hill elevation for those hill repeat workouts.  Starting at Main and Bay and continuing south, there are hills of varying degrees on Bicknell, Pacific, Strand, Hollister, Ocean Park, Hill, Ashland, and Marine.

Great For: Speed and Interval Workouts

Santa Monica High School Track

The Santa Monica High School football field and track area is currently undergoing construction, but prior to (and post) construction it is an ideal spot for speed workouts.  While one can use straight-aways on the Strand for speed workouts, nothing quite compares to the accuracy of getting those intervals in on a track.  Prior to construction, a few local track and running clubs reserved the track for such purposes and its no wonder- the comfortable running surface, along with cool air and breezes from the ocean a few blocks away makes this a remarkable spot for runs.

Santa Monica College Track

While the SaMoHi track undergoes its changes, many are opting for the Santa Monica College track, located up the street from the high school off Pico.  Located in Corsair Field, runners here can run alongside history, as the 1984 Olympic men’s and women’s marathons (the first year for the women’s marathon) started at Santa Monica College.  

Great For: Running With a View

The Bluffs

Along Ocean Avenue from the Santa Monica Pier to San Vicente Blvd runs a stretch of park with gravel and paved paths ideal for running with spectacular birds eye views of the Pier, the Pacific, and Malibu.  Try running at sunset to be a part of a running community with some of the most stunning views in the world.  There are various paths to choose from so mileage can vary, but on average a run from the Pier to San Vicente will net you about a mile and a half (3 miles roundtrip).  Running on the bluffs is also a steady incline, offering up some challenge on this otherwise beautiful and easy run.


Running in some of these areas will allow you to enjoy the beauty of Santa Monica while working on your running fitness. What are some of your favorite Santa Monica running spots?



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