Santa Monica Pier: the most famous pier on the California coast

Who I am
Martí Micolau

Symbol of both the beach life of Los Angeles and the legendary Route 66 (of which it marks the end), the Santa Monica Pier (or more simply the Santa Monica Pier) is one of those "classic" attractions that any good tour of the California should contemplate. So let's find out what awaits us in this fascinating attraction in the Los Angeles metropolitan area ...  

Anyone who wants to visit Santa Monica can only start from here, the most popular location, the pier, the always open pier, a popular destination for both residents and tourists, a reference point in the city for more than a hundred years and therefore with a long history behind it. Since 9 September 1909 he has gone through a series of vicissitudes, many of which are linked to structural problems, to those who wanted to overthrow him, to the "spitefulness" of Mother Nature and also to the dark moments of the Great Depression and wars. But with the commitment of those who believed in it, the pier has always risen from the ashes and is now a vibrant reality strongly desired by the community, a source of pride for all of Santa Monica.


  • Santa Monica Yacht Harbor
  • Santa Monica Merry Go Round
  • Aquarium
  • Route 66 sign
  • Pacific Park playground
  • Culinary tips

Santa Monica Yacht Harbor

The pier structure consists of several parts. The first is the access ramp with sections for vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians that starts at the corner of Colorado Avenue and Ocean Avenue, characterized by the blue and white arch of the Santa Monica Yacht Harbor, in front of the pink building of Del Frisco's Grill (located at number 1551). In reality, the arch is just a historical icon that dates back to the 40s when there was an internationally known mooring for boats. The first character who bought space for his boat was Charlie Chaplin. This is a "click-stop" where many visitors stop to take a photo.

The ramp leads above the coast, at the beginning of the actual pier, to a large square-shaped platform (which can also be accessed on foot from the beach) from the end of which a traditional-shaped pier develops which extends over the 'water. The pier is not just a long, beautiful promenade on the Pacific Ocean, a vantage point for romantic sunsets and beach gazes; it is a dynamic place, a real concentration of activities and fun for everyone. Let's begin to find out.

Santa Monica Merry Go Round

After crossing the bridge, next to a parking area, the historic building that houses the Santa Monica Merry Go Round (the carousel of horses), a real piece of history of the 20s, of great appeal, which has undergone a faithful renovation and for this reason still retains all its charm. When the carousel is in operation, the 44 horses (one different from the other) together with a rabbit, a goat and two sleds, create an effect of great harmony. We would like to remember that, unlike the others, the horses of the outer circumference do not move, they are fixed. The cost of the ticket is $ 1 for children and $ 2 for adults.


In the underlying part of the building there is theAquarium, a paid attraction with interactive activities and sea “inhabitants” such as seahorses, moray eels, jellyfish, rays and sharks, to name a few. The property can be booked for an event and is closed on Mondays. Also in this section of the pier is the Santa Monica Pier Shop & Visitor Center, the ideal place for souvenirs and valuable information. On the pier the atmosphere is lively: the people, the colors, the sounds, the smells, all combine to make this walk a particularly pleasant and characteristic moment.

Route 66 sign

Then let's not forget that the sign awaits us just beyond the Bubba Gump restaurant “Route 66, end of the trail”. When the pier was officially awarded the title of "last stop on Route 66" (the mother road that leads from Chicago to Santa Monica), it was also decided to bring the old road sign back to life here. To visit the little one 66 to Cali, a kiosk that sells memorabilia from the historic road.

Pacific Park playground

We then meet restaurants and shops until we reach the games room playland Arcade and subsequently to Pacific Park, the amusement park that directly overlooks the Pacific Ocean, the only one of its kind in the American West to be positioned on a pier. Its most representative point, the Santa Monica icon par excellence, is the Ferris wheel, the solar-powered Ferris wheel which is clearly visible even outside the pier and which lights up with a thousand colors at night. Here, every attraction has a cost and everyone can choose where and how to spend their time: on a thrilling roller coaster, on a pirate ship, free-falling from a tower, or just walking. There are also attractions for children and eateries with snacks, burgers, popcorn, pizza and ice cream.

Pacific Park Tickets

In the summer, open-air concerts are held at the pier, films are shown and activities are held for the whole family. Along the pier, fishing enthusiasts can indulge in their favorite hobby without any problems, confident of getting a good haul as these waters enjoy an ancient reputation for abundant fishing.

Culinary tips

In addition to attractions, entertainment, walks and pleasant views, at the pier there are also refreshment points and we point out two, starting with the aforementioned chain Bubba gump Shrimp Co. which is inspired by the film Forrest Gump. Dine in front of a beautiful view in this location overlooking the ocean and the beach. The "star" of the restaurant is the shrimp, cooked and presented in various ways.

Then you can move on to Mexican cuisine from Mariasol, also overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The food is good, maybe not at the highest level, but the location deserves it for its position and therefore it may be worth stopping by. The venue also has a children's menu and bar service with cocktails, beer, wine and beverages. Upstairs there is a hall for events. The last building we come across on our long walk is Route 66 Last Stop Shop for a mix of catering and shopping.

To conclude, I would like to point out all the activities and tours available in Santa Monica. To view them click on the button below.

All activities available in Santa Monica

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