WELCOME TO THE SANTA MONICA PIER
You know you’ve arrived in Santa Monica, California when you see the iconic Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Beach Pier jutting into the inviting waters of the Pacific Ocean. Set at Santa Monica’s westernmost point, the Santa Monica Pier is a staple of this picturesque seaside community. Packed with family-friendly activities, vibrant street performers, restaurants and shops, the public pier also has stunning views and over a century’s worth of history. Here’s everything you need to know about the Santa Monica Pier, the area’s most recognizable landmark.
Constructed in 1909, the storied Santa Monica Pier was the first concrete pier on the West Coast. It quickly gained a reputation among locals as the best fishing spot in Santa Monica. Santa Monica Pier fishing remains a popular activity to this day. The Looff Hippodrome, now a National Historic Landmark and home to a beautiful carousel, opened in 1916, followed by the iconic carousel in 1939. In 1941, the iconic Santa Monica Yacht Harbor neon sign was unveiled; this is the place for the perfect selfie!
The Santa Monica Pier is located right on the Santa Monica State Beach in the eponymous Santa Monica Pier Area and Ocean Avenue neighborhood, which offers a variety of hotels in close proximity to the Pier, as well as other activities and attractions offered along Ocean Avenue and in Downtown Santa Monica.
To get there, take the ramp located at the intersection of Ocean Avenue and Colorado Avenue down to the Pier (you can get there in your car or via the pedestrian access sidewalk). The Santa Monica Pier ramp is within easy walking distance from Downtown Santa Monica – just head west down Colorado Avenue. The Santa Monica Pier is also within easy cycling distance from anywhere along the southern California coast! Take the Marvin Braude Bike Trail – better known as The Strand – which is a paved path that runs 22 miles (35 kilometers) along the shore from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades all the way south to Torrance County Beach. Bikes can be rented – and even valeted! – at the Santa Monica Bike Center, just blocks away from the pier. Bikes can also be valeted for free next to the beach path just south of the pier.
Need to get into Santa Monica? Hop on one of the public transportation options! From LAX, Big Blue Bus can take you directly to Santa Monica – use the Route 3 or Rapid 3 on the Big Blue Bus. The Big Blue Bus also transports riders from Downtown Los Angeles to Downtown Santa Monica; check their schedule for updated timetables. Finally, the Metro Expo Line offers service to Santa Monica from Downtown Los Angeles, Culver City and other Westside Los Angeles locations.