A visit to the iconic Santa Monica Pier is always fun. It's great for people watching, kinda touristy, noisy and crowded, and the views of the beach and up and down the coast are pretty impressive on a beautiful day. Parking nearby is a challenge, especially in the summer, but if you haven't been it's worth at least 1 trip while exploring downtown Santa Monica.
There are all kinds of ways to make money, many of them not easy, and this cartoonist had a gorgeous setting for his craft. A few years ago we spied him creating a cartoon of a woman who was posing and I asked if I could take a photo as he worked. I don't recall the cost but he was pretty good from what I could see.