Third Street Promenade Anything but Second-Rate

Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Sorry so dark, but it was late in the day and all I had was my dying phone camera (wah-wuh).

When we went to the Santa Monica Pier last week, we also made time for a short stop along the Third Street Promenade. And when I say short, I mean short. Although we only had about an hour of time left on our little day-trip North last Wednesday, we squeezed in a walk down the Promenade since I’d never been there before.

More views down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Man, how foolish of me to have ignored this gorgeous venue for so long! Yes, for the most part it is a retail and dining paradise, but it also offers a lovely area for walking, window shopping, and some of the best people-watching on the planet. I’ve heard that during weekends there are about 10 times the number of artists and performers than those who we ran into on this outing, but we saw enough to know that we must return to get the full experience and then some.

Pretzel from Rockenwagner Bakery on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Yes, that's a small bite out of the top, because these didn't even last long enough for me to get a photo of a whole one!

We made time for two stops on this short journey. First we went into Rockenwagner Bakery to get some fresh German-style pretzels. These are not the pretzels you’d find at a sporting event or frozen aisle of the market, RMT’ers but the real German deal: Hard and chewy and not overly salty or soft. T’s Grandma S was kind enough to send us home with a half-dozen of these bad boys, which might have lasted 24 hours once home (let’s just say C was a fan of the pretzels, too).

Angelato Cafe on Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Photo Credit: LA Times.

After this we went next door to Angelato Cafe for some gelato-style ice cream. Boasting 100 if not more flavors of ice cream, Angelato smacks of that Pinkberry-esque decor and feel but with way better tasting treats. I wish I had more photos to show you but alas Angelato Cafe has a similar no photo policy (and my camera ran out of battery juice), so all I have is this lovely wide-shot image of the interior from a recent LA Times write-up. I also cannot find an official site for this place, nor a Facebook or Twitter feed, thus the Yelp! link above. No matter, as the harder they are for the masses to find, the easier it shall be for me to have my choice of flavors. PS – I highly recommend the spumoni.

This was the kind gentleman who decided to serenade us on our way into the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. I don't think T knew what to think really!

We hear that the dollar joke guy is always here on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. On the day we visited, however, both times we passed him by he was busy with customers already. Otherwise I totally would have bought a joke-of-the-day. Photo credit: solerena on FLICKR.

Other than the two stops along the way, we just enjoyed the journey for what it was in all its glory. T loved the topiary dinosaurs and fountains, and I especially enjoyed all the crazy people-watching. Grandma I think just enjoyed watching T have a blast running down the street (don’t worry, RMT’ers, the street is closed to car traffic, making it all the better of an experience for everyone). Even the folks out soliciting for their causes were entertaining, with one man even offering to sing to us as we exited the promenade. OK, maybe I asked him to do that since he serenaded us on our way inside. Either way my point is that it’s hard to even refer to the solicitors as annoying just because of the free entertainment value they’ve added to their sales pitches.

It's a dinosaur, it's a fountain, and it's a plant! T loved all of the dino-topiary fountains along the Third Street Promenade.

More dino-topiary fun along Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Next time we get a heat wave this winter and we’re in need of some cheap if not free entertainment, and a fancy snack or two, I’m definitely putting Third Street Promenade on our activity list. Play date, anyone?