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3rd Street Promenade: Tourist Attraction

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According to the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau, 94% of international tourists that come to Santa Monica visit the promenade. Really? Wow. We don't dislike the promenade. Parking isn't the best but it could be a lot worse and while it is often crowded, it isn't overwhelmingly so. We just don't get why it is so loved by visitors. As time has passed, 3rd street has found itself with fewer and fewer unique retailers and more chain stores. Nevermind that they feature some chains we like (Apple and Adidas we're looking at you) but we just can't help but think that you could get the same consumer experience at home. Besides that, we've noticed many of the street performers getting much more aggressive with their audiences, practically scaring people into giving their money. And with the pier just a few steps away and Main Street and Venice Beach close by (not to mention the Marina), isn't there something better for tourists to be doing? Or is there something really great about the promenade that we're missing?