Santa Monica continues to attract new businesses looking to open, grow, and thrive

December 14, 2023 8:35 AM
by Jennifer Taylor, Tati Simonian

It's the busiest shopping season of the year, and Santa Monica is open for business!

As a city we’re always looking for new, creative and exciting ways to support all facets of our business community. Embracing our top strategic priority to Cultivate Economic Recovery & Expand Community & Cultural Offerings, the city is successfully bouncing back post-pandemic and continues on an upward trend.

Thanks in part to city efforts that make it easier to open a business in Santa Monica, we saw more than 476 new businesses open this year across various industries, and there is more innovation and growth on the way in 2024. 

Revitalizing the downtown and Third Street Promenade have been top of mind for many, and we’re pleased to share that we have welcomed many new businesses to the area, including:  

But Downtown Santa Monica is not the only area seeing an influx of new businesses. Throughout the city, shops are opening their doors, including:

Montana Avenue:

Ocean Park Boulevard:

Pico Boulevard:

Main Street:

Santa Monica Pier/Ocean Avenue:

Mid-City/Olympic Boulevard:

And that’s just to name a few!

Nearly 50 restaurants, bars and food services businesses have opened citywide, including Sogno Toscano, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, The Surfing Fox, Cookie Math and Marmalade Cafe’s second location – which illustrates that existing businesses expand and flourish in Santa Monica.

Santa Monica is known for innovation, and we’re pleased to see our efforts translate to great new creativity in the retail industry, with businesses adapting to changing consumer habits and creating space for workers to engage after clocking out. The city helped facilitate these enhancements by streamlining the permitting process and amending the zoning code to encourage a variety of new uses on the Third Street Promenade and downtown, from rooftop movies to tattoo parlors and indoor pickleball. We are continuing to support more pop-up activations in some of our previously underutilized spaces, such as the recently opened Dr. Seuss Experience, which replaced the wildly popular Barbieland at Santa Monica Place. 

It is also now easier for downtown businesses to obtain an alcohol permit to help them increase their revenues and help provide exciting entertainment experiences for all ages and interests. These zoning changes have also helped to speed up the approval process, save businesses money on permits, and provide business operators with more certainties. You can read more about the city’s business-friendly updates here. 

Even as we work to attract new type of businesses to our city, Santa Monica continues to be a hub for the tech and hospitality industries.

Silicon Beach
With 3,197 creative and tech businesses employing 30,839 people (35 percent of the city’s total employment), Santa Monica continues to earn its Silicon Beach nickname.

We're excited to welcome a16z, one of the nation’s top venture capital firms, which is in the process of developing its new L.A. headquarters in Downtown Santa Monica. And we are looking forward to exciting new start-ups graduating from one of Santa Monica’s incubator and accelerator programs, offered by such acclaimed companies as Science Inc., Mucker Capital and Expert Dojo, who all call Santa Monica home.  

More new businesses in the tech/creative sector include: 

Hotels around the area have also benefitted from an influx of private investment, introducing new brands and concepts to Santa Monica and the entire region, helping to welcome back more than 5 million visitors (and growing) each year to Santa Monica from around the world. Hotel investments include: 

More information about Santa Monica businesses can be found here.

The place to be
Not only are we attracting new businesses to Santa Monica, but we’re also proving to be a great place to live. Housing plays a large role in any conversation about economic recovery, and there are nearly 400 new housing units currently under construction in or near our downtown, with more in the pipeline. 

These new projects will help attract more residents to our downtown, provide more workforce housing and affordable housing, and support a vibrant 24/7 community. Developers including Related, Tishman Speyer and Cypress Equity are investing millions into our local economy to increase housing supply for all. 

And it’s a signal that doing business and investing in Santa Monica is still a great bet.

Of course, our work is never done when it comes to supporting the totality of our community alongside our economic recovery. We are seeing renewed confidence in doing business in Santa Monica in the years coming out of the worst of the pandemic and are continuing to keep our ears to the ground to be as responsive as possible in an ever-changing environment.  

All these efforts could not be done without the great partnership established with our local business and continued conversation with our partners. As a city, we’re always looking to grow and improve. And we remain committed to supporting and investing in a clean, safe, resilient and vibrant Santa Monica.   

We’re open for business and encourage you to buy local this holiday season and throughout the year in support of our community.

Authored By

Jennifer Taylor
Economic Development Manager

Tati Simonian
Public Information Officer


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