One of the biggest tourist attractions and the world famous landmark of Santa Monica is the Santa Monica Pier. The pier reaches all the way from Colorado Avenue over the Santa Monica State Beach into the Pacific Ocean. The pier is mostly known for being the last stop on the adventurous drive down Route 66. The pier is a huge space, so big in fact that it holds an amusement park and numerous restaurants. There are also many different stores for buying souvenirs or simply taking a nice stroll on the pier.
Great Fun in Pacific Park
Especially popular in Santa Monica is the Pacific Park. The Park was built between 1958 and 1967 and it was newly refurbished in 1974. Directly over the Pacific Ocean, attractions are waiting, for example a pirate ship, a merry-go-round, a sea dragon, a roller coaster and many more. The Ferris Wheel is not only fun for the whole family but provides a magnificent view over the Pacific Ocean and western Los Angeles. Especially pretty is the old merry-go-round on Pleasure Pier, which was built way back in the 1920s. The 44 hand-carved horses on the carousel were refurbished 1990 and bring a certain nostalgic sentiment to the pier.
Trapeze, Fish and Dance
Besides the amusement park, there is other entertainment on the pier, for example a school for the art of trapeze. If you are brave enough, you can test your artistic skills and soar into the air on a trapeze. Just below the historic carousel is the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, where you can discover the underwater environment and Californian marine life. Here, you can discover over 100 different kinds of marine animals and learn about their habitat. At the very end of the pier, visitors are able to watch the many fishermen, who come here to fish together. In summertime, there are many different festivals, dance events and open air movie showings on the Santa Monica Pier.
Worth the Trip in every Season
The pier is open all year 24/7 and has different events for every season. In summer, you can have lots of fun in the sun and experience action packed days, while especially in wintertime you can enjoy breathtaking sunsets. If you do decide to visit the Santa Monica Pier, be sure to check the individual opening hours of the different attractions, shops and restaurants. For even more information on-site, visit the Pier Shop or the Visitor Center.
The Santa Monica Pier consists of two combined piers. For a long time the two different piers belonged to different owners. In September 1909 the long, narrow Municipal Pier was opened. The many purpose of the pier was to route sewage pipes behind the surge. Seven years later in 1916 the rather short and broad Pleasure Pier or Newcomb Pier was build at the far end of Municipal Pier. The constructors Charles and Arthuer Looff are known as the pioneers of Pacific Park. In 1924 the La Monica Ballroom was opened but sadly had to be closed down again in 1959. Ever since 1953 the Newcomb Pier belonged to the city of Santa Monica and even though there were many plans for its demolition, it remained. Today, it is one of the most famous landmarks of Santa Monica.
The Santa Monica Pier as popular movie setting
In the past the Santa Monica Pier was used as a setting for movies, television series, music videos and even video games many times. Especially in the 1930s the pier was extremely popular in movies, because of its proximity to the movie studios in Hollywood. The old merry-go-round was the main filming location of the seven times Oscar winning movie “The Sting”.
How to get there
The Pacific Coast Highway (1) leads directly to the Santa Monica Pier, which lies directly at the intersection of the Pacific Coast Highway and Colorado Avenue. The Santa Monica Freeway leads also directly to the Pier. There are parking spots available.
The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is only a couple of miles away from Santa Monica Pier. From there and from other places in town you can take the bus to the pier. The necessary stop is Colorado Avenue, which is only a couple of feet away from the pier.