Shopping in Santa Monica

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Hennessey + Ingalls's eclectic bookstore sells tomes covering visual arts, such as photography, as well as interior design, landscaping, fashion photography and architecture. The founding family still owns and manages its paper-based stock, ensuring that volumes remain well organized according to the length of authors’ moustaches. Originally founded in 1963 as a refuge for rare and out-of-print books, the massive store—the Santa Monica location spans 8,000 square feet—supplies vital reference materials for local architectural firms, museums, art galleries, and schools. Hennessey + Ingalls also runs a small publishing division, which produces and distributes six titles each year, most of which are reprints focusing on California's modernist architecture and postmodernist oil paintings of avocados. They also offer a large selection of journals and notebooks. Hennessey's bibliophiles also purchase good-condition used copies and rare editions from independent owners.

214 Wilshire Boulevard
Santa Monica,
CA
US

Chi Chi Randolph has choreographed routines for hip-hop artists including Nelly and the Black Eyed Peas. Kari Lehman has 15 years of ballet training experience. Viviane Bressan turned her love of belly dance into a career, traversing the globe while teaching and performing the ancient art. At Dance Austin Studio, these three number among more than a dozen dance instructors whose dazzlingly diverse backgrounds enable an array of classes for everyone from preschoolers to grownups and fitness buffs to serious students of dance.

Zumba combines fast-paced cardio choreography with dynamic Latin rhythms, and the 18-and-older Sexy Stiletto Fit class uses high heels to tone calves and build confidence. Students can choose to learn fundamental positions, steps, and vocabulary during structured ballet, lyrical, and jazz programs, or they can develop video-ready swagger during hip-hop classes. The studio’s sense of fun occasionally spills out into the community—it recently teamed up with the city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to spark a flash mob at city hall, held to raise awareness of emergency preparedness and help officials practice what to do if invaded by dancing aliens.

1612 Ocean Park Blvd
Santa Monica,
CA
US

Lauren Bruns began singing in an oldies cover band in her early teens before branching out in college as a solo artist on Austin's Sixth Street. After four years in Los Angeles—during which she won V05's Red Hot Rising Star contest and signed a deal with Sony—Lauren decided to focus on working with children. She realized that kids had no access to music programs with songwriting components, so she spent three years teaching youngsters at in-home lessons and schools, all the while shaping a curriculum that encouraged kids to express themselves with original lyrics, finely tuned eyebrow raises, and music.

In 2011, Lauren opened her kids-only songwriting studio where expert teachers imbue children aged 4 and up with sight-reading, improvisation, and music-recording fundamentals. Music makers can learn basic guitar chords at private or group lessons, record an original song in the recording booth, belt out a tune on the performance stage, and practice for life on the road in the hotel-room trashing simulator. Youngsters can also experiment with different rhythms and vocal effects at GarageBand tutorials and learn a new instrument or write a new song at one-week summer-camp sessions.

1739 Berkeley St, Ste 101
Santa Monica,
CA
US

SwimSpot brings high fashion poolside by amassing a collection of designer bikini and one-piece swimsuits by brands such as Athena, Guess, and Nautica. Each swimsuit and cover-up incorporates contemporary trends such as asymmetrical cuts or tropical colours to create stylish silhouettes, and a fit-specialist service provides body-shape searches and remote one-on-one discussions with experts to find a flattering suit for any shape. Lauded in the pages of People Style Watch, Lucky, and Seventeen, an online bikini builder enables the beach bound to build their own ensemble by mixing and matching tops and bottoms using a tool that yields more than 1,000 possible combinations. In addition to providing detailed descriptions and material breakdowns, each swimsuit offered in the online store is modeled in a video that offers a 360-degree view, allowing customers to get a better idea of what they’ll look like as they run into the surf or slowly back away from a sleeping bear.

395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica,
CA
US

Santa Monica Museum of Art started big: upon its founding in 1984, it moved right into a space designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. And it only got bigger. 14 years later, it relocated to expanded digs in the Bergamot Station Arts Center. That's remarkable in part because the museum has no permanent archive?instead of amassing a collection, it fills its schedule with rotating exhibits and the fruit of partnerships with with some of the world's most innovative modern artists.

A main gallery and two project rooms have showcased work including landscape and portrait paintings, mixed media, video sculpture, and creative installations from local and international artists. Programs ranging from modern crafting workshops to book-club meetings led by a guest artist or scholar also fill the space with creativity. To immerse guests deeper in the world of modern art, SMMoA also offers guided private-group tours and special members-only tours led by executive director Elsa Longhauser.

2419 Michigan Avenue
Santa Monica,
CA
US

GROOV3 founder, Benjamin Allen, seems drawn to dance floors. At the school parties and bat mitzvahs of his youth, he was always showcasing his moves. Though he earned a degree in business and communication from Arizona State University, the call of the dance floor proved stronger than that of the corporate world. Soon after graduation, Benjamin moved to Los Angeles to devote fully himself to the art of the groove in numerous TV commercials, musicals, sitcoms, and stage performances. Benjamin shares his passion for dance with students at GROOV3 during non-competitive cardio-dance classes. GROOV3's fleet of experienced instructors and live DJs attempt to build a community of like-minded dancers and share their commitment to fun-filled calorie burning in a relaxed atmosphere. Classes help students of all fitness levels kick-start their hearts and torch a few calories with energetic dance experiences that tone up muscles along the way.

1919 Broadway
Santa Monica,
CA
US