If you haven't been to the Santa Monica Place mall in the last few years, you're in for a surprise.
The original enclosed mall, which was featured in several Hollywood movies, was mostly demolished in 2008, as part of a major
$265 million renovation.
Santa Monica Place reopened as an open-air shopping venue, with a much
sophisticated appearance. The center now opens directly into the adjacent Third Street
Likewise the mall's selection of stores and
restaurants has also been upgraded. Anchor stores are now
Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom, and notable shops include Louis
Vuitton, Tiffany, Kitson, Kenneth Cole and Hugo Boss.
There's also a new
third-level Dining Deck.
Besides an ocean view, it features a number of white tablecloth
restaurants, as well as "The Market" - a sort of high-tech artisan food
court, offering everything from baked goods to imported cheeses.
Santa Monica (for the uninitiated) boasts the main beach serving upscale West Los Angeles, so as you might expect, the city gets its fair share of Hollywood luminaries .
Stars who have made their home in the city include Jessica Alba,
Elijah Wood, Christian Bale,
Harrison Ford, Jack Nicholson, Owen Wilson,
Mel Brooks, Carson Daly, Jeff Bridges, Jane Fonda, Jamie Lee Curtis,
Donald Sutherland, Marg Helgenberger,
Ted Danson and Tom Selleck.
Dozens more live just beyond its borders in Malibu, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood. So it's not surprising that they would turn up here.
Celebs spotted soon after
the new mall opened include Owen Wilson, David Beckam, Sofia Vergara, Paris Hilton,
Jamie Lee Curtis, Tori Spelling, chef Gordon Ramsay,
Giuliana & Bill Rancic, and NBA star Kris Humphries.
Actress/pop star Selena Gomez performed a free concert at the mall, in June 2010.
You can see the video of her Santa Monica Place performance right here:
It was designed
by renowned architect, Frank Gehry, who later created
Disney Hall (although the old mall had none of the flair of that landmark building).
As seen in the screencap to the left, the old mall's north entrance was featured in the 1982 smash hit "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." It played the Ridgemont Mall in the movie. (But only for the exterior shots. The film's interior scenes were filmed inside the now-defunct food court at the Sherman Oaks Galleria.)
The mall also
appeared in the TV series "Beverly Hills 90210".
(Trying to remember what the interior of the old mall looked like? Here's a photo to remind you.)
But that is history - and so is the original mall.
Today, the roof is gone, the sunshine is streaming in, and this part of Santa Monica is looking a lot brighter.
The Santa Monica Place mall is located near the shore, between Broadway
Street (on the northwest), Colorado Boulevard (on the southeast), 4th Street
(on the northeast), and 2nd Street (on the southwest). It's just west of
Lincoln Boulevard, within walking distance of the Santa Monica Pier, at
the south end of the Third Street Promenade. / From the Santa Monica
(10) Freeway west, take the 4th Street exit. Go north on 4th Street
one block to Broadway. The mall will be on your left (west) side.
more information, you can access the mall's official website at:
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