More than the facts in Santa Monica guide

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- The new Official Visitors Guide of the city of Santa Monica looks as much like a travel magazine as it does a planning tool. Its 80 pages are crammed with useful -- and entertaining -- information about life in the Los Angeles suburban seaside resort town.

Santa Monica's trendy art galleries, boutique shopping opportunities, its nightlife, history, accommodations and attractions are among the topics detailed. So are its dining facilities. The best fish and chips in town? Try Ye Olde King's Head on Santa Monica Boulevard near Ocean Avenue. Nouvelle cuisine? How about Michael's tucked away on Third Street? Southwestern? There's the Border Grill on Fourth Street.

The variety of dining experience in the city is extraordinary.

The guide features a section dedicated to important telephone numbers (medical facilities, airport etc.) and information on how to get around town. It traces, for example, the route system of the Tide Shuttle, a system that carries visitors in a continuous circle around town, with departures every 15 minutes or so from all major hotels, for 25 cents. An accompanying map indicates where the most popular points of interest lie along the way.

It shows the location on Main Street, for instance, of the California Heritage Museum, a private home more than a century ago, which now houses a photographic exhibit. The museum is open Wednesdays through Sundays and costs $3 for adults and $2 for seniors and students. Children under 12 are admitted free. For information call (310) 392-8537.

Another stop on the Tide Shuttle itinerary is the Museum of Flying at Donald Douglas Loop North, with its antique and historical aircraft displays. Also open Wednesday through Sunday, the museum charges $7 entrance fee for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children between the ages of 3 and 16. Information is available by calling (310) 392-8822.

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