Santa Monica Beach and Pier


Seen as one of the most popular waterfront spots in southern California, the Santa Monica beach and pier has plenty of sights, sounds, and activities to entertain you for the day.

Things To Know About Santa Monica Beach And Pier:

  • For reference, the Santa Monica pier is located about 30 minutes from Hollywood and about 20 minutes from downtown LA(of course these are the times without traffic).
  • While Santa Monica is a regularly crowded area, there is plenty of space and things to do that make it feel a little more spread out. It is one of the best places for a long strip of public beach access, so you will most likely be able to find a place on the sand to set up your towel. The most crowded areas will be the parking lot and the places to eat on the pier itself. There is a parking lot right along the beach and next to the pier(currently $10 to $15 for the day), but there is also metered parking if you walk above and across a bridge going over the highway to get down to the beach.
  • There are a few eateries on the pier, including concession stands, food carts, and a few sit down casual places like Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. However, if you do not mind taking a stroll up and over, and exploring Santa Monica, there are plenty of places to eat around town.
  • Not only is Santa Monica a popular place to visit, but it is also a popular place to work as there are a list of businesses that have set up shop near the beach. This means that traffic during typical work hours can be brutal. Your best bet is to avoid driving to Santa Monica during the morning rush hour from 7am to 9am during the week, and avoid leaving Santa Monica from 3pm to 6pm. The evening traffic out of Santa Monica is even worse!
  • I would suggest taking a walk along the sidewalk at the end of the beach where there are some awesome homes with plenty of character, diverse architecture, and a variety of designs.
  • There are a few shops on the pier, and some scattered carts, that all sell knickknacks and a variety of Santa Monica souvenirs, but there is plenty of shopping in Santa Monica including Third Street Promenade, which is about three blocks from the beach.
  • For entertainment, there is an indoor arcade, a handful of carnival rides like the Ferris Wheel, the Trapeze school(which is very popular), an aquarium, fishing on the pier, bike rentals, and of course people watching on the beach and the pier. Also, the Malibu Starline Tour, which I would highly recommend as a great way to see Santa Monica and Malibu, leaves from the Santa Monica Pier.
  • I would recommend taking a visit to Santa Monica as the beach is beautiful, there are plenty of activities, you can always find a unique store, house, and restaurant, and Santa Monica has an overall great atmosphere.


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