I drove up to Santa Monica, mostly just to check out the 3rd Street Promenade, the beach and the place in general. Last time I was here was in August 2005, during my very first trip to the US office.
As a sidenote, the place is sometimes referred to as "The People's Republic of Santa Monica" due to the left-leaning political preferences of the people living there.
Right now there's a very nice art exhibit parked near the Santa Monica pier called Ashes and Snow[a]. I say parked, because the building it is housed in is part of it, and as the exhibit goes from place to place, the "mobile museum" is torn down and re-erected on the new spot. Anyway, do check out the web site - there are some amazing photographs to be seen. The exhibit also has movies and music.