Date posted: 09/27/2013
When visitors to Santa Monica picture the beautiful beach, many people also envision the historic pier. More than just a landmark, Santa Monica Pier is home to attractions for the whole family, throughout the day and well into the evening. Plan a day trip to the Pier and there will be plenty to entertain everyone. The pier itself is open all day, every day, and is the ideal way to look out over the ocean and enjoy the true essence of California. Other attractions have their own opening times, so it is worthwhile to check in advance. Those who will be staying in hotels close to Santa Monica Pier should see all the pier has to offer!
For the children – or indeed the ‘young at heart’ – visits to the pier would not be complete without a trip to the amusements. Playland Arcade features all the old favorites, from Skeeball onwards. It’s an amazing experience of the nostalgic arcade greats, testing player skills and their luck on some of the most famous arcade attractions of all time. Elsewhere on the pier, visit Pacific Park – the family amusement park full of rides for all the family including the iconic ‘end of pier’ Ferris Ride, providing spectacular views out across the city and the beach. Or, why not visit the Santa Monica Aquarium close by and get to know some of the hundreds of species who call the bay their home? The aquarium is known as one of Santa Monica’s great ‘hidden gems,’ tucked away beneath the bright lights of the historic building which houses the vintage Carousel.
In a change of pace on the pier, there are numerous little shops providing everything from sun cream to fishing bait. Marlene’s Beachcomber houses a variety stretching from wind breakers to towels, beach mats and suntan lotions- all the essentials for enjoying time at the beach. Not much further along the pier is the Oatman Rock Shop, which since 1965 has been selling shells, merchandise and souvenirs to the passing tourists, preserving its timeless, vintage appeal and feeling like a step back in time to the 1960s. Santa Monica is the end of the famous Route 66, and in honor of this fact the 66 To Cali shop is dedicated to the legends of the route, selling American-made goods and treats. Or perhaps the Pier Shop and Visitor Centre itself will be the place to visit, to collect mementos of the trip to one of the most famous beaches in America.