Santa Monica Pier
Attractions With An Ocean View
The Pier's Pacific Park amusement park is instantly recognizable with it's ferris wheel towering high above, overlooking the surrounding coastline. Pacific Park however, is just one of many reasons the Santa Monica pier is a great family attraction worth checking out. Along with the amusement park, you can take a ride on a historic carousel from 1922, explore an interactive aquarium, drop your fishing line over the side and much more!
The Santa Monica pier was opened to the public on September 9th 1909 and has been attracting throngs of visitors ever since. In fact, the hippodrome building that houses the old fshioned carousel at the pier was named Santa Monica's first national historic landmark.
The Pacific Park amusement park as we know it today opened in 1996. Now it helps bring in over 4 million visitors to the pier a year.
The Santa Monica pier has a fairly large video game arcade. It stays open pretty late, so if taking in the sunset and then hitting some vids is your thing, look no further!
The vintage carousel made in 1922 is well maintained and truly a beautiful old fashion attraction. Great for young kids and nostalgic adults. It was used in “The Sting” with Paul Newman and Robert Redford...
This definitely isn't Six Flags, but it's a fun little amusement park for families with small kids, offering some old school rides that are familiar to most. You can also challenge your friends at some fun, classic “skill” games.
The famous ferris wheel known as the Pacific Wheel, has undergone a number of facelifts. In fact, in May 2008 a brand new solar powered version was installed, the first of its kind in the world. The wheel provides a beautiful view of the ocean and the coastline, and at 130 feet high, it is one of the most beautiful spots to catch the famous Santa Monica sunset!
Rides for Kids
- West Coaster- While this isn't the most exciting rollercoaster ever. It does offer sweeping views as you careen around pacific park.
- Pacific Plunge- Drop from this 9 story tower ride and feel weightless as you plummet to the ground!
- Sig Alert Bumper Cars- These high tech bumper cars feel a bit like hover crafts and can spin 360 degrees!
- Inky's Air Lift- An aerial version of the spinning tea cup ride.
- Sea Dragon- The classic swinging ship ride looking out over the pacific.
- Frog Hopper- A small version of the pacific plunge, where kids are sprung up and down 18 feet.
- Crazy Submarine- Kids can hop on this “Yellow Submarine” and whirl around in a slow arc.
- Pier Patrol- Little trucks ride a track around the park through various beach scenes.
There are a bunch of fun classic games at Pacific Park, here are some favorites:
- Wac-A-Mole- The classic “bash” the moles game!
- Roller Derby- Race each other by rolling your balls into the triangle of holes. The best scores, the faster you can win the race.
- Pop a lot- Pop the balloons with your darts.
- Water Race- use your water guns to hit the target and propel your player to win the race.
- Break a plate- Smash plates by throwing balls a them. Simple yet cathartic!
- Fire Ball- Classic ball aiming game where you attempt to score max points by rolling your ball up the ramp into scored holes.
- Pacific Peak- Get harnessed in and and challenge a friend to a race on this practice rock climbing peak. Included with an unlimited ride wristband.
Unlimited ride wristbands
8 years and up $21.95
7 and under $15.95
If you buy your tickets online beforehand you can get them for 12.95 each.
Individual ride tickets are 5$ for adults and 3$ for kids.
Hours of Operation
Consult the Pacific Park calendar for hours of operation.
Food at Pacific Park
- Coffe Bean and Tea Leaf
- Harbor Grill
- Pizza Hut
- Taco Bell
- Funnel Cake factory
- Dippin Dots
Restaurants at the Pier
- Mariasol Cocina Mexicana
- Rusty's Surf Ranch
- Surf View Cafe
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
This aquarium is a small attraction that houses mainly sea creatures native to California and Santa Monica in particular. It is open to the public and provides a family friendly environment.
You can find interactive displays, touch tanks (where visitors can feel different sea creatures) and large tanks that exhibit sea life living in the Santa Monica bay.
There are also several learning areas, including “kids corner”, a newly renovated area filled with toys, books, games and a puppet theater, all based around the marine theme.Here is a link to their calendar of special events.
Incredibly, there is an open air trapeze school right on the pier. I haven't tried it out, but I bet flying through the air over looking all of Santa Monica beach is quite something.
Here is a link to their home page.
There are various stalls lining the Santa Monica pier throughout the year. You can find painters and sculptors creating individual portraits for those willing to pose and pay. You can even get your picture taken next to your favorite celebrity. They really run the gamut. Last time I was there, it was a tough call between a well worn Van Damme or a brand spankin new Sarah Palin...
No permit is required, so go ahead, join the other anglers and drop your line over the side. There's a bait and tackle shop available if you need to stock up.
Twilight Summer Dance Series
In the summer, the Santa monica Pier hosts its famous free concerts select thursday nights from 7-10pm...
One of the greatest free events to do around Los Angeles. Grab some food and drink and jit the beach to listen to great music while the sun goes down.
The parking rates at the pier are pretty high. One idea is using valet at the various restaurants nearby, grab a drink, then head down to the pier.
Artist line ups are released as we get closer to summer...
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