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Santa Monica Pier
Vacation Travel Guide

You'll find beachside kitsch, boardwalk ambience and carnival fun at this sunbaked LA attraction that’s more than a hundred years old.

You can get plenty of kicks near the end of Route 66. Santa Monica Pier now marks the official western point of the legendary U.S. highway, one of the country’s first. This world-famous stretch of pavement originally ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, and was later extended to Santa Monica, where many travelers concluded their cross-country trek with a visit to this pleasure pier of fun and excitement.

Though one of southern California’s last remaining vintage piers, this is no rusting relic of a bygone age. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year, it’s a lively venue packed with musical and theatrical entertainment and activities for the whole family.

Ride a roller coaster or sit atop the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel, which stands 130 feet above the Pacific Ocean. Munch on cotton candy, cast a line and see what you can catch or stroll along the planks to take in the salty sea air.

Other attractions include arcades, restaurants, artists and street performers. Learn highflying acrobatics at the trapeze school or hire a bike and cycle your way around the sights. An aquarium focusing on the local marine life sits below the pier at beach level. Kids will love interactive activities such as touch tanks and marine biology classes.

One of the most popular sights is the restored wooden carousel with colorful hand-carved horses. Built in 1922 and housed in its own building called the Looff Hippodrome, the carousel is most famously featured in the Robert Redford and Paul Newman film, The Sting.You’ll find tranquil moments away from the crowds in the viewing deck on the second level of the hippodrome. Most people miss this part of the pier so it’s a wonderfully quiet spot to enjoy ocean views.

Santa Monica is about 18 miles (29 miles) west of downtown, just north of Venice Beach.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Los Angeles page.

Top Hotels Close to Santa Monica Pier

Shore Hotel
Shore Hotel
4 out of 5
1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $174 per night from Jan 3 to Jan 4

Located in Downtown, this beach hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach. Venice Beach and Venice Beach Boardwalk are also ...

4.3/5Excellent! (961 reviews)

"This hotel is very clean and all the staff are very friendly. I will recommend this hotel to friends. Both concierges I worked with were fabulous. Hector made our stay extra special. This is a 5 STAR hotel in every way. You will not be disappointed if you stay here."…"

Reviewed on Dec 3, 2020

Shore Hotel
Ocean View Hotel
Ocean View Hotel
3 out of 5
1447 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $134 per night from Jan 4 to Jan 5

Located in Downtown, this beach hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach are ...

4.1/5Very Good! (965 reviews)

"It was pretty clean and stay was nice no valet parking though"…"

Reviewed on Nov 1, 2020

Ocean View Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1111 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $199 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7

This family-friendly Santa Monica hotel is located near the airport, within 1 mi (2 km) of Santa Monica Beach and Santa Monica Pier. Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney ...

4.4/5Excellent! (924 reviews)

"Nice hotel. Very cozy with wonderful amenities. Would highly recommend."…"

Reviewed on Nov 7, 2020

The Huntley Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Top Santa Monica Pier Flight + Hotel Deals

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Reviews of Santa Monica Pier

4.4

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
3475
5 - Excellent 52.47659317426759%
4 - Good
2380
4 - Good 35.940803382663844%
3 - Okay
587
3 - Okay 8.864391422530957%
2 - Disappointing
108
2 - Disappointing 1.630927212322561%
1 - Terrible
72
1 - Terrible 1.0872848082150408%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Feb 18, 2020

It was an easy trip on the bus. Take the 212 on Labrea & Sunset to the train at Expo & LaBrea and the train takes you right there. Learned that from talking to the locals. The mall is EXCELLENT!!!

5/5 - Excellent

Elena

Feb 10, 2020

Just across the street and down the significant hill/stairs

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Jan 6, 2020

Great place, I love it

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jan 4, 2020

Very crowded around the New Year’s holiday.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Dec 19, 2019

wonderful time, walking distance to shopping and restaurants

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Nov 12, 2019

Never paid for parking, I parked on-street and walked a few blocks. There are some homeless and shady people walking around, but I was careful and had no incidents.

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Santa Monica Pier

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Best Lodging Options Near Santa Monica Pier

Shore Hotel
Shore Hotel
4 out of 5
1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $174 per night from Jan 3 to Jan 4
Shore Hotel
Ocean View Hotel
Ocean View Hotel
3 out of 5
1447 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $134 per night from Jan 4 to Jan 5
Ocean View Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
The Huntley Hotel
4.5 out of 5
1111 2nd St, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $199 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
The Huntley Hotel
Hotel Carmel
Hotel Carmel
2.5 out of 5
201 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $135 per night from Dec 13 to Dec 14
Hotel Carmel
Georgian Hotel
Georgian Hotel
4 out of 5
1415 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $155 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
Georgian Hotel
JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot
JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot
4 out of 5
1740 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $178 per night from Dec 20 to Dec 21
JW Marriott Santa Monica Le Merigot
Viceroy Santa Monica
Viceroy Santa Monica
4 out of 5
1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $216 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
Viceroy Santa Monica
Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier
Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier
3.5 out of 5
120 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $159 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier
Bayside Hotel
Bayside Hotel
2 out of 5
2001 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
The price is $118 per night from Dec 6 to Dec 7
Bayside Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.