Santa Monica Finds Its “Place”

The mall shakes off its 80s images and goes for urban beach chic

Back in the 80s, Santa Monica Place was a happening "inside" place, the prototype for a typical SoCal mall used in various films like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Terminator 2."

Stores, Restaurants, TimesSanta Monica Place

But times change and over the years the "Place" lost some of its luster.

Often overlooked by everyone in favor of the less claustrophobic open-aired "Third Street Promenade" filled with happy people, dogs, and merry bands of street performers, the "Santa Monica Place" shut down in early 2008 to undergo a major retro-fit, to bring it in to the 21st Century.

Starting Friday, the re-vamped "Place"  opens anew, calling itself the only shopping center in L.A. with ocean views.

Louis Vuitton, Kitson, Burberry, and Betsey Johnson are only a few of the A-list stores included in the three-level, open-air center.

Food is a star at the property with six fine dining restaurants and an a food court.

To celebrate its grand opening, Blogging.LA is reporting that the first 500 people in line at 3rd and Broadway will get will receive gift cards ranging from $5 to $100. The cards will be handed out between 7:30 am and 9:30 am. The Disney Store is also marking the opening by giving out Mickey ears to their first 500 guests.

And the new "Santa Monica Place" is sure to be a boost to the local economy, since it's one of the only major shopping centers in the country to open this year.

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