Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
4
Points of Interest & LandmarksHistoric Walking AreasPiers & Boardwalks
About
This hundred-year-old wooden pier offers superb views of the bay and the surrounding mountains. Catch the sunset from the fishing platform at the farther end of pier, though be warned, it can get pretty busy at the height of summer. As one of the most famous wharfs in the L.A. area, there are plenty of eateries, souvenir shops, street performers and things to do—don't miss the adjoining amusement park, which features a giant Ferris wheel, a high-tech arcade, and other thrilling rides. You can visit Santa Monica Pier, along with L.A.’s other iconic spots such as Beverly Hills and Hollywood on a guided tour. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 1-2 hours
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The area
Address
Neighbourhood: Santa Monica
Santa Monica is a coastal town that maintains a balance as a tourist destination and as an area with a thriving local culture. On the beach, bikers, roller-bladers, runners and walkers move along the famed bike path enjoying the beautiful Los Angeles weather. The solar-powered Ferris wheel at the Santa Monica pier spins high above the water, while park revelers scream with delight riding the roller coaster. Inland from the beach, Third Street Promenade bustles with shoppers and street performers, where every block seems to have a musical or acrobatic act drawing crowds giving Santa Monica both the feeling of a laid-back beach town and a major commercial hub.
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See what travellers are saying
  • CasandraTP
    Sydney, Australia3,582 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun thing to do
    If you go to Santa Monica you have to go to the pier. It is the end of Route 66 full of shops, restaurants and even a small themed park with rides and a Ferris wheel. There are little sign’s telling the history and even Popeye started here. Yes it is a little tacky but all piers are. Plenty of places to get a great photo. The beach on either side is a bit dirty and the water is cold. All in all was, it is worth going to at least once.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 3 August 2023
  • Andrew F
    Columbia, Maryland153 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A nice afternoon
    Nice place for a quick visit. My family doesn’t care much for sand but we got a decent lunch on the pier. Visited a few shops and played a bit in the arcade. There was also a small amusement park for kids younger than mine.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 12 August 2023
  • Trevor M
    County Dublin, Ireland42 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    it was nice enough - watching the sunset from the ferris wheel is so pretty
    The highlight of the pier was going on the ferris wheel watching the sunset go down. It was so pretty. The pier itself looks lovely in the evening and it was fun (enough) as it had the standard attractions you'd expect at something like that. You can get to it via bus from LA which is only a few dollars but be sure to ask the bus driver where you get the return bus as it's not the same place and people weren't very helpful when we asked. Thankfully another bus driver on a different route told us where to go. Also, be mindful of pick pockets they are everywhere on the pier so watch your pockets and avoid wearing a backpack.
    Visited September 2022
    Travelled with friends
    Written 14 August 2023
  • Natalie1204
    Kolkata (Calcutta), India7,763 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful sunsets, great food, fabulous experience
    It’s a beautiful place to visit with friends or family. Lots of restaurants serving great food on the pier and off, with seating indoors and out. Some of the restaurants are The Albright, Bubba Gump, seaside on the pier There’s a roller coaster and a ferris wheel offering great views of the ocean. It can get crowded on a weekend and in summer. There’s parking under the pier Sunsets are beautiful here
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 19 August 2023
  • Holiday-Lady25
    Sunderland, United Kingdom1,542 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place
    Great place to visit so much to see and do here. We were here while on a tour of Hollywood from Las Vegas. We loved the pier so many interesting things to see and do there is something for everyone we just enjoyed walking up and down the pier looking at all the shops and stalls and watching the people go by. Lots of great views and photo opportunities on the pier too.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 25 August 2023
  • MCK
    3,377 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the ride with a view!
    My friend and I were staying in downtown LA. We decided to take a morning drive to Santa Monica to go for brunch and catch a ride on the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel. We went on a Monday morning to avoid the major weekend crowds. The pier with Pacific Park is a very typical pier setting, great for families and kids. The day we went, the sky was clear and hot. I thought riding the ferris wheel would be extremely hot, but once we were on it and it started moving it was nice... with a cool breeze. Maybe the time and day we went, it was not crowded, we got our own cart which has a covered top to help with shade. We also went around serval times which was really nice. The view was wonderful. It was worth the very reasonable price of a ride at only $8. To note: no selfie sticks. Worth the ride with a view!
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 30 August 2023
  • Elsie M
    Howell, Michigan1,966 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome waterfront pier
    We actually visited the pier five times during our seven day stay. I love the ocean so, my first stop in town was the pier. All kinds of fun activities for young and old. We browsed the shops, had a drink at the restaurant at the end of the pier. On are other visits we were joined by my our sons and daughter in law. We picked up souvenirs and a had ball watching the LA Break dancers. Of course we took ocean view pics.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 1 September 2023
  • Thesecretdiner
    Hampshire, United Kingdom131 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Final Photo stop for 66'ers
    The official end of the road for roue 66 ers so a must have selfie and there is a dedicated place on the pier for anyone who has done 66. Been to the pier a few times before and its pretty good with all the usual attractions of west coast pier with rides, attractions and plenty of food options. Parking can be difficult so if you cant get on the meters on the roads there are a few multi storey car parks very close by. Dont leave any valuables in your car though either way
    Visited October 2022
    Travelled with family
    Written 4 September 2023
  • EllenM0rgan
    Birmingham, Alabama142 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Exactly what I expected and wanted!
    I can't say that the Santa Monica Pier was necessarily on my bucket list but it's definitely one of those places that you see for most of your life on TV, movies, or in the settings of books. We were on a recent visit to Long Beach with a rental car and decided to head to SMP for sunset, dinner and a few rides. Don't forget to allow extra time for traffic if you are aiming for sunset -- luckily it wasn't bad when we visited but we left in plenty of time just in case. We parked in a public deck just before you get to the pier from 5:30pm - 9:30pm on Friday and didn't have to pay (the arm raised as we pulled up to it.) I believe you can also park below on the beach side and it won't be such a walk, but I'm not sure what the cost to park there was. After the sunset we ate at Rusty's Surf Ranch which is one of the first restaurants before you walk onto the actual pier. It was a great meal, great atmosphere (it was karaoke night) and I'd recommend it. We rode the roller coaster (more fun than it looks) and of course the classic ferris wheel. I was surprised to have read so much negativity about the homesless and safety of the pier, we may have been fortunate not to experience that on our trip but as always be kind and be wise, you'll be fine.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 17 September 2023
  • Ann H
    York, United Kingdom2,510 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good fun
    This pier with its rides, shops and eateries marks the end of Route 66 and has something to offer all ages. We walked from the centre of town down the walkway onto the pier and to the end. Nice easy walk and the views out to sea ware amazing at the end of the pier. We browsed the gift shops and read all about the history of the pier through a series of information boards. Well worth a visit
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 20 September 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles19,341 reviews
Excellent
8,004
Very good
6,994
Average
3,423
Poor
644
Terrible
277

296williamsg
Port Saint Lucie, FL15 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Friends
I only went there because it was the halfway point of my cross country and back road trip and the end of Route 66.
I have traveled all throughout the country, except for the most northern states, and I'm just not fond of California.
The pier is just a pier with restaurants, a few rides and a lot of very overpriced souvenir shops. I get that marijuana is legal for recreational use there, but if no one can smoke cigarettes on the pier, no one should be smoking joints either. I swear I ran into at least a half dozen people smoking joints while I went to the end and back. And then there was some guy dressed as a superhero trying to get in every picture I tried to take of the sign at the beginning of the pier. I just didn't like the whole experience.
Written 23 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kay H
Jacksonville, FL80 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
My kid's were excited to go so I took them there on our first stop from LAX. My husband and I used to live in LA and never bothered to go as it was a tourist spot, too busy with Rock n Roll on Sunset Strip but I digress. They were so excited and it was nice and quiet as it was Thursday morning. The Sun was shining and a slight breeze and we were off to the end of the pier stopping to see the different venders selling their over priced wears and the entertainers singing off key and slagging off the bums who were also begging for money. the arcade got $20 out of me and that was worth it for the smiles on the kids faces but there were flies everywhere.... GROSS. The rides were extortionate prices so my 2 girls got to choose 1 ride . They'd make buckets more dollars if they gave a better deal on the rides . Glad we did it just to say we did it but had just as much fun swinging on the free swings on the beach.
Written 28 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ClaireWithLove
Germantown, MD1,745 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022
Fun, historic stop at the over 100 year old pier with amusement park. Look at the ocean. Listen to music. Watch the fishermen and artists. Dine at restaurants.

You can pay per ride (~$9 - $11/ride) or buy an unlimited pass ($42). The small roller coaster (no loops), Ferris wheel, swinging gondola ride, and chair drop for the adults and even more for small children. Amusement arcade. Artists to get your name printed with pictures.

Fast food, funnel cake, ice cream (outside the amusement park) and sit down restaurants are available.

Parking lot looked small, so it would be better to come during the week day. Pier opens at 6 am but amusement park open at 12 pm during the weekdays.

Located on the beach, so bring your blanket or rent a bike and enjoy your time there.

5 minute walk to the Loews hotel with a really good Happy Hour 5:00 - 6:00 pm with 50% off drinks and appetizers. Fireplace tables overlooking the beach.
Written 3 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lobdoc06
Somers, CT26 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2022
Got to experience the pier on a recent business trip to southern California. We are from New England so wanted to see what the pier was like. Not much there to necessitate a return visit but it was still worth a quick stop. Lots of street performers requesting pretty large amounts of cash for their acts. Food was lacking as well.We did about a half hour walk through and left.
Written 6 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Old Pro
Seattle, WA2,477 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2020 • Family
It's just appear at a public beach what's the typical way too expensive crappy restaurant at the end. It has a few carnival-type rides the Entertainer kids that aren't interested in seeing the natural beauty surrounding them. Stop by once to say you were there and then get out. Walk along the beach where it's enjoyable
Written 17 May 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

George
United States24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This pier is full of people any time of the year or any time of the day. But you will enjoy the vibe and the atmosphere near the beach with people doing random things on the street. You can find pretty good restaurants with good enough food. Buba shrimp is a favourite. Listen to random music by random street musicians. Breathtaking view of the sunset and the nice breeze of the ocean. Parking Charges are sky high!
Written 28 April 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

RichardN28
Bushey, UK489 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019
Boy, was this place busy!
We did a walk the full length of the pier, took in the views, ate funnel cake / ice cream and watched some of the street acts.

It is great to say that you have been on SM pier - it has featured in so many TV shows & movies, but we were there for just under 2hrs (including sit down funnel cake eating time!), which is plenty long enough unless you want to go on the rides (we didn't - we'd been to 6Flags and were 'coastered out!).

Worth a visit? Yes, absolutely. Would i go back? Probably not, it's very, very touristy
Written 9 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dyhx
Singapore6,102 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Solo
Great sea views, with a small outdoor theme park (Pacific Park, which looks old btw), huge beach (too cold though for beach activities and it doesn’t look very clean with the very many birds, seagulls flying around), little touristy cart stalls along the stretch of the pier, restaurants and many talented buskers from singing to dancing to drawing.

Overall a small place and can be covered in less than an hour if you don't go into the theme park. Could have been even faster if not for the 2 Korean girls taking their time to take countless photos at the Route 66 sign keeping many others like me, rolling our eyes in queue.
Written 22 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephanie B
Arkansas59 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
We had a beautiful December day to visit. We went in the morning and had lunch before we left. It was the perfect time to go as the crowd started arriving around 11. If you have a warmer day I highly suggest going early. Carousel, Ferris Wheel and most eateries open at 11:00. You must stop in and see the carousel. It's simply beautiful. There is an area where you can watch trapeze artists, but none were there when we were. If you're in the area, it's definitely worth a visit. You can feel the nostalgia as you walk down the pier.
Written 5 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MCK
3,377 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Friends
My friend and I were staying in downtown LA. We decided to take a morning drive to Santa Monica to go for brunch and catch a ride on the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel. We went on a Monday morning to avoid the major weekend crowds. The pier with Pacific Park is a very typical pier setting, great for families and kids.

The day we went, the sky was clear and hot. I thought riding the ferris wheel would be extremely hot, but once we were on it and it started moving it was nice... with a cool breeze. Maybe the time and day we went, it was not crowded, we got our own cart which has a covered top to help with shade. We also went around serval times which was really nice. The view was wonderful. It was worth the very reasonable price of a ride at only $8. To note: no selfie sticks.

Worth the ride with a view!
Written 30 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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