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  • Angela Mona

A Day at Santa Monica Pier and Beach

If you are looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend a day in Los Angeles, you can’t go wrong with Santa Monica pier and beach.

This iconic destination offers something for everyone, whether you are into rides, games, shopping, dining, or just soaking up the sun.

What to Do at Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is a large double-jointed pier at the foot of Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, California1. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and has been featured in many movies and TV shows.

The pier has a lot of attractions to keep you entertained, such as:

  • Pacific Park: This is an amusement park that features 12 rides, including the West Coaster roller coaster and the Pacific Wheel Ferris wheel. The Pacific Wheel is the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, and offers stunning views of the ocean and the city. You can also play carnival games and win prizes at Pacific Park.

  • Santa Monica Pier Aquarium: This is an educational facility that showcases more than 100 species of marine animals and plants. You can see sharks, rays, octopuses, sea stars, and more. You can also touch some of the animals at the interactive exhibits and learn about their habitats and conservation efforts.

  • Santa Monica Pier Carousel: This is a historic carousel that dates back to 1922. It features 44 hand-carved wooden horses and two chariots. It is located inside the Looff Hippodrome, a National Historic Landmark that also houses a soda fountain and a gift shop.

  • Santa Monica Pier Fishing: If you enjoy fishing, you can try your luck at the pier. You don’t need a license to fish from the pier, and you can rent rods and buy bait at the bait shop. You might catch mackerel, perch, halibut, or even a shark.

  • Santa Monica Pier Shopping: If you are looking for souvenirs or gifts, you can browse the various shops and kiosks along the pier. You can find T-shirts, hats, sunglasses, jewelry, art, and more. You can also buy a seashell necklace from one of the vendor carts or get your photo taken at one of the photo booths.

  • Santa Monica Pier Dining: If you are hungry or thirsty, you have plenty of options to choose from at the pier. You can find casual eateries like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Pier Burger, and Soda Jerks, or fine dining restaurants like The Albright and Mariasol. You can also treat yourself to a thick and creamy milkshake at Soda Jerks or a funnel cake at Funnel Cakes on the Pier.

  • Santa Monica Pier Entertainment: If you are looking for some live entertainment, you can catch a show from one of the many street performers on the pier. You can see musicians, magicians, acrobats, jugglers, and more. You can also enjoy free concerts at the Twilight on the Pier series during the summer months.

What to Do at Santa Monica Beach

Santa Monica Beach is located just west of Downtown Los Angeles. It is a prime example of the famed Southern California state beaches. It has large expanses of sand, bike trails and many other things to do.

Some of the activities you can enjoy at Santa Monica Beach are:

  • Swimming: The water temperature at Santa Monica Beach ranges from 55°F to 70°F throughout the year. You can swim in the designated areas that are supervised by lifeguards. You can also rent boogie boards or surfboards at one of the beach rental shops.

  • Sunbathing: The beach has plenty of space for you to lay down your towel or rent a chair and umbrella. You can relax and enjoy the sunshine and the breeze. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and drink plenty of water.

  • Biking: The beach has a paved bike path that runs for 22 miles along the coast. You can rent a bike or a rollerblade at one of the beach rental shops and explore the scenic views. You can also stop by some of the nearby attractions like Venice Beach or Malibu.

  • Playing: The beach has several playgrounds for kids to have fun. The North Beach Playground is universally accessible2, offering barrier-free equipment for increased maneuvering space plus accessible surfaces and paths. Sensory play elements for touching and hearing2, swings, slides and climbing equipment inspire activity, mobility and imagination. The South Beach Playground is also a great place for kids to play, with a large pirate ship, swings, slides, and a sandbox.

  • Surfing: The beach has some of the best surfing spots in the area, especially near the pier. You can catch some waves and enjoy the thrill of riding the surf. You can also take surfing lessons or join a surf camp at one of the beach rental shops.

  • Volleyball: The beach has several volleyball courts for you to play or watch. You can join a game or start your own with your friends. You can also rent a volleyball or a net at one of the beach rental shops.

  • Picnicking: The beach has several picnic areas for you to enjoy a meal or a snack. You can bring your own food or buy some from the nearby vendors. You can also use the public grills and tables at the beach.

  • Exploring: The beach has a lot of history and culture to discover. You can visit the Santa Monica Pier Museum to learn about the history of the pier and its attractions. You can also see the Camera Obscura, a historic optical device that projects an image of the surroundings onto a wall. You can also admire the public art installations and murals that decorate the beach.

How to Get to Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Santa Monica Pier and Beach are easy to get to by car, bus, bike, or foot. Here are some of the ways you can get there:

  1. By car: Driving to the beach is a popular choice, but roads can be very busy during the summer or holiday weekends. Major routes for getting to Santa Monica State Beach include: I-10 (from Downtown LA), Santa Monica Blvd. (from West LA), Pacific Coast Highway / US 1 (from Santa Barbara / Malibu). Parking is available on the street or in the eight main lots along the length of the beach. Costs can range from $6 to $15 per day, and many lots offer electric plug-in options.

  2. By bus: Taking the bus is a convenient and eco-friendly option. You can use the Big Blue Bus service that operates several routes that stop at or near the Santa Monica beach. You can also use the Metro bus service that connects Santa Monica with other parts of Los Angeles. You can buy day passes online or pay with cash or card on board.

  3. By bike: Biking to the beach is a fun and healthy way to enjoy the scenery. You can use your own bike or rent one at one of the many bike rental shops in Santa Monica. You can also use the Breeze Bike Share system that allows you to pick up and drop off bikes at various stations around the city. You can pay by the hour or buy a monthly pass online.

  4. By foot: Walking to the beach is a great way to explore Santa Monica and its attractions. You can walk from your hotel or from Downtown Santa Monica, where you can find many shops, restaurants, and museums. You can also use the pedestrian bridges, walkways, and stairs that provide access to the beach from the city.


Santa Monica Pier and Beach are among the best places to visit in Los Angeles. They offer a variety of activities and attractions for all ages and interests. Whether you want to have some fun, relax, or learn something new, you will find it at Santa Monica Pier and Beach.

xoxo, Angela & Lali, from Chasefortravel


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