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entrance area to the peir
Photo Credit: guyonthego

Santa Monica Pier

200 Santa Monica Pier Santa Monica, CA 90401
The pier itself is open 24 hours, but hours for various businesses vary.
310-458-8901 2 hours
January 2014 All year
$0-9 Santa Monica California
Website Entertainment General Entertainment
First review
 
The Santa Monica Pier is a multi-purpose entertainment venue and historical site. Although it has been rebuilt and repurposed over the years, there has been a pier in this area for over 100 years. The pier today has a variety of attractions including a few amusement park rides, an arcade, an aquarium, as well as novelty shops, restaurants and recreational options such as exercising and fishing. While the pier itself is free, the entertainment options generally have fees. The pier also is a local landmark and has been featured in many films and TV shows.

The pier has an ignominious origin. It was initially built in 1909 with a pipeline below to convey sewage into the ocean. Within a few years a new wider pier was constructed alongside the original one and included the first of several amusement parks with rides like carousels and roller coasters. A new owner took over the entertainment attractions in 1943, and his family ran the operation till 1974. Santa Monica sought to demolish the pier in 1973 due to its age and rundown condition, but the plan was defeated by local activists. Some of the pier was destroyed during a storm in 1983, and construction of a new upgraded pier was completed in 1990. A new amusement park opened in 1996.

Morning was not an ideal time to visit as the amusement park was closed. The rides are usually open 11:00am to 8:00pm during the week and till 12:30am on weekends. Had the rollercoaster been open it would have been a sure bet. Who could pass up a rollercoaster overlooking the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day? The carousal also was closed as was the trapeze attraction. While gift shops, an arcade and some restaurants were open, none were especially interesting, so this visit was spent walking around, admiring the views and just relaxing. It was nice to walk all the way to the end point amidst many fishermen and then look back at the city of Santa Monica and down the beach toward Venice. This is what Southern California is all about. The pier is a popular place and frequently crowded, but it can still work well for a date, especially after eating at one of the many local restaurants at the Third Street Promenade. With good views of the coast and plenty of entertainment options to choose from or just look at, the pier will appeal to most tastes. Special events such as concerts, yoga classes and paddleboat races are listed on the pier’s website. Local parking rates can be high but tend to be cheaper away from the beach.
Author:
guyonthego
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