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Santa Monica Pier

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit Santa Monica Pier during the late afternoon to enjoy the bustling pier atmosphere and stay for the magical sunset views over the Pacific Ocean - it's a lesser-known fact that the right side of the pier offers the best angles for photographs. Also, check the calendar for the Twilight Concert Series, which locals love but is often overlooked by tourists; bring a blanket, some snacks, and enjoy free live music right on the beach."

What is Santa Monica Pier?

Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier situated at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California. It's a prominent, over-a-century-old landmark known for its amusement park, shops, and eateries, and has a unique history as one of the oldest pleasure piers on the West Coast of the United States. Moreover, it houses the iconic Pacific Park amusement park, the historic Looff Hippodrome, and the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium. Have you ever seen a pier with its own full-scale amusement park? Now, that's a rarity worth experiencing!

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History of Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909, a time when piers dotted the California coastline, serving as entertainment destinations and symbols of the beachfront lifestyle. Initially, it was constructed to carry sewer pipes beyond the breakers, but it quickly became much more than that. By 1916, Charles I.D. Looff, a famous carousel carver and amusement park pioneer, had added a second adjacent pier known as the Pleasure Pier, complete with a Hippodrome and a carousel that still operates today. It's miraculous how a once utilitarian structure evolved into a venue that spells fun by merely stepping onto its wooden planks.

As years passed, Santa Monica Pier faced natural disasters, economic hardships, and the threat of demolition, yet it always managed to survive, preserving the spirit and culture of the era that gave birth to it. Did you know that during World War II, the pier was partially closed and disguised to protect the coast from potential enemy invasion? It's fascinating how, despite everything, the Santa Monica Pier stood the test of time and is celebrated to this day.

Why is Santa Monica Pier Important?

Santa Monica Pier is important for several reasons, not least because it encapsulates over 100 years of Californian coastal history. It's a cultural icon that's featured in countless movies, TV shows, and photographs, becoming synonymous with images of the California beach scene. But beyond its pop culture cameos, the pier represents an era of beachfront amusement that was once widespread yet now remains fairly unique. Have you ever wondered what the Golden State’s coastline was like in the heyday of classic beachfront amusement? Santa Monica Pier provides that window into the past.

In addition, the pier plays a vital role in marine conservation, with the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium located underneath the carousel. This little gem educates visitors on the local marine environment, striving to protect the Santa Monica Bay and its inhabitants. For locals and visitors alike, the pier is also an important community gathering space, hosting free outdoor concerts, movie screenings, and family-friendly events all year round. Imagine catching a concert or a movie with the Pacific Ocean as your backdrop—quite the setting, indeed.

Things to Do & See at Santa Monica Pier

Stepping onto Santa Monica Pier, you're greeted by an array of things to do and see that can delight visitors of any age. Take a ride on the solar-paneled Pacific Wheel, the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, which offers stunning views of the coastline and the Pacific Ocean. Or, you might fancy a whirl on the historic carousel located inside the Looff Hippodrome—an experience akin to stepping back in time. Did you know that the hand-carved horses on the carousel are considered artwork and have unique histories of their own?

You can also drop by the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium to learn about the local marine life, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk, taking in the street performers and the vibrant atmosphere. Fishing is another popular activity here, with the end of the pier designated as a public fishing area. And, if you’re here in the summertime, don't miss the free 'Twilight Concert Series' for some unforgettable musical acts under the stars.

Shoppers and foodies will find plenty to keep them satisfied as well, with souvenir shops, beach wear boutiques, and various eateries serving up everything from classic American fare to fresh seafood. Ever tried funnel cake or a savory crepe with a sea salt breeze in your hair? Here's where you can make that a reality. And finally, for the fitness enthusiasts, the original Muscle Beach just south of the pier still stands to inspire your outdoor workout—or at least a photo opportunity.

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Frequently asked questions

What activities are available at the Santa Monica Pier?

The Santa Monica Pier offers a variety of activities including amusement park rides at Pacific Park, an historic carousel, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, street performers, fishing, and dining at oceanfront restaurants.

Are there any historical landmarks at the Santa Monica Pier?

Yes, the Santa Monica Pier is home to the Looff Hippodrome Carousel, a National Historic Landmark, and the Pier itself has a rich history as it has been a Los Angeles icon since it opened in 1909.

Is the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium suitable for children?

Absolutely, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is family-friendly and provides an interactive experience for children to learn about marine life and conservation.

Can I fish at the Santa Monica Pier?

Yes, fishing is permitted at the Santa Monica Pier and you do not need a fishing license to fish from the pier.

Are there special events held at the Santa Monica Pier?

The Santa Monica Pier hosts a variety of events throughout the year including outdoor concerts, movie screenings, and holiday celebrations.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps