200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040134.011035 -118.497710
Mon - Sun, 11am - 10pm
Neighborhoods: West LA, Downtown
I live in Oregon now, but I was born and raised in Santa Monica. Nothing makes me as homesick as seeing the Santa Monica Pier on television or in a movie. I watch some movies (Falling Down, Buddy System, L.A. Story, for instance) just for the Los Angeles landmarks.
a SoCal classic – i remember going here as a kid with my parents. though i don't hop on the antique classica carousel anymore, i still love the cotton candy and the fresh, greasy potato chips. not a huge fan of the crowds or the Pacific Park amusements, but for the adventurous: the pier is nice and quiet well past sunset.
Fun if you don't expect too much – The arcade is a good size, the carousel is always fun, and the ferris wheel offers a fun perspective of the beach from a different angle. Bike rental shops are nearby, and everyone from visitors to residents use the beach and Palisades Park to exercise or enjoy Bay views (which is probably the best thing about the area!). As others state, drawbacks include summer and weekend crowds, parking (can be expensive and hard to find, esp. weekends), the restaurants are overpriced and ho-hum, and the park/beach area does have a consistent homeless population. If you want a more pristine beach, head towards the Malibu area; if you want a really fun pier/boardwalk, go about 350 miles north to Santa Cruz; if you want people-watching, head down to Venice Beach.
Trashy and Downtrodden – I just don't get it - why do people make a big deal out of such a rundown, trashy pier? I know it used to be famous so if you're going to re-live past pop culture that's one thing, but in and of itself, SM Pier is disgusting. There is not one shop/restaurant worth entering, the 'street performers' are basically Promenade wannabes who couldn't make the grade, and the amusement park has no allure/nostalgic value for anyone over the age of 4. On top of this, there is a depressing, filthy air about the place.
If you want to shop or see street performers go to the 3rd St. Promenade; if you want charm, go to Main St.; if you want a pier, go to Venice Pier; if you want wacky people, go to Venice Beach. But
save yourself the time and money and pass on Santa Monica Pier.
Fun, but expensive! – It's definitely a fun place to go, but it is quite expensive. Parking is somewhat difficult, and each ride costs a ton of money. It is fun, though. And it is beautiful at night time to go on the Ferris Wheel over the beach. Just bring money if you want to do anything besides walk on a pier.
Hype? What Hype? – Santa Monica Pier. What's the hype about this place? There's nothing here that no other 'fair' wouldn't have. I'll admit, it's a nice beach, somewhere nice to eat, sit and talk, or even stare at the stars (as any other beach), but I'll have to say this isn't the BEST atraction Santa Monica has. There are games for kids to play, and stuffed animals you could win (just like any other theme park). The beach is clean, and so is everything else surrounding it, but i think this is REALLY over rated! It's great for kids and family, but it's REALLY small! You'd have more games and toys to win somewhere else. You'd probably be down seeing everything here in less than 30 or even 20 minutes! That's how small it is!
FUN! – I love the Santa Monica Pier. It's definitely somewhere I always go when I have a day off work. My mom and I have had a tradition where she comes up from San Diego once a year just to go to the pier. There's so much to do from shops, rides, beach, people watching, artists, performers, eats, arcades...it's such a great atmosphere with the beach right there at your feet and so much to do and eat. There's fast food or sit down restaurants..whatever you prefer. There's definitely something fo everyone here. You're missing out if you don't check it out!
Don't buy the hype! – I like Santa Monica, but the Pier itself is vastly overrated. Any New Jersey boardwalk puts it to shame. As an easterner, I was shocked in how little this pier offered. I notice the positive reviews mention how the beach is nice, the pedestrian mall is nice, etc. All true, but the pier itself is not on my list of things to see when I am in LA
Nostalgic Charm – The Santa Monica Pier has been a place to come for many years. Generation after generation have come to enjoy the beach and the charm the pier has to offer
Sun + Sand + Ferris Wheel = Great Times – Santa Monica Pier is a great place for outings with friends, family and lovers. Go during the day for fun with family and friends. They have a full arcade complete with air hockey and many midway games. Just off the pier there is a park complete with play equipment 4 the kids. At night or dusk is the place to go with your partner. Take a ride on the Ferris wheel and relax. Take a stroll on the beach and cuddle up on the sand. The food at this place is a bit pricey, so I would recommend a picnic. Parking is a pain and a bit expensive, but it's better than going to citywalk.
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