Has a wide assortment of classes with great instructors (Steve Ross used to have his own show on Oxygen mixing pop music with yoga). It's extremely peaceful and relaxing with beautiful hardwood floors and the wind coming in (located on the 2nd floor). Does get crowded so get there early to find a spot. This is a hotspot so you might run into celebs as well.
PROS: Demanding classes
CONS: Very popular so can get crowded
Yarns Unlimited is very small shop, hidden away on Pico with awkward parking. However if you're in the area and are jonesing for a yarn fix they are stuffed with yarn - saw lots of Cascade 220 there. This is definitely not a full-service yarn store with lessons, classes, etc but just a shop where you can pop in, find what you need, and get out. Prices were not outrageous.
PROS: Lots of yarn varieties within certain brands
CONS: Not a lot of brands carried
Dr. Yoshimaru is a great general dentist in Santa Monica. He's extremely competent and caring and is the only dentist who's ever called me after procedures to make sure I'm ok. The staff is great and will work with you on pricing because unfortunately he is quite expensive.
PROS: Very competent
The Spectrum in Santa Monica is a nice upscale facility that caters to professionals and an older crowd. Recent renovations have expanded the locker rooms to make them very modern and added flat screens to many of the equipment. A private pilates studio has also opened. The weight room could be quite a bit bigger (gets quite crowded) but the employees are wonderful and the parking is plentiful, unlike other gyms in the area. While the spinning classes are good, I would say other classes skew a bit older and are not as innovative other gyms.
PROS: Easy to park, friendly personnel
CONS: Crowded in early evenings, not the best classes
This body shop came recommended to me very highly and now I understand why. My estimate here for repair was $1000 lower than another body shop and they did it perfectly in three days, twelve days less than other body shops. It's a small, family-run place and they'll work with you to fix your car and leave it looking brand-new.
PROS: Great work at a great price
CONS: Small place - make an appt for estimate
The Equinox in Santa Monica is a very high-end, luxe gym located right on the Promenade. It's got several levels and a great selection of the newest equipment along with flat screens, saunas, spa and amazing, innovative classes. The gym is super clean and not terribly crowded though the locker rooms tend to get jammed due to the poor design of only having a few stations for mirrors and hair dryers. Parking is included though it can be tight and frustrating to drive though the Promenade traffic. But if you can pay for it, this gym is worth it.
PROS: Best instructors and high level of service
CONS: The price
DNA is a small retail store carrying designer women's and men's clothing, jewelry and accessories. They usually have a large designer jeans selection (past brands I've seen are Rock n' Republic, Grass, Seven, Blue Cult, etc) -- always at discount prices. Merchandise turns over quickly so snap something up if you see it!
PROS: Good designer names
CONS: Fast turnover of merchandise
Located in an unassuming Venice stripmall, Wharo is an amazing find - high quality, superb Korean BBQ. Though small, the restaurant is well-designed with a modern, clean feel. This is cook-your-own BBQ but the meat is of excellent quality as are the welcome side dishes of kimchi, vegetables, and salad. Listed as one of the top 10 restaurants in LA magazine for 2005.
PROS: Great food
CONS: Small and buzzing so may require short wait