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Santa Monica Pier

This beachside playground has been a local favourite for more than a hundred years.

Santa Monica Pier is officially the most westerly point of the legendary Route 66 that, in the words of the famous song, runs from Chicago to LA. The highway, one of the earliest trans-American routes, was extended to Santa Monica to allow travel-weary visitors to cool off by the ocean, and people have been flocking here ever since to get their kicks on one of the last remaining piers in Southern California.

Many attractions remain from the pier’s early days, including the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel, which rises to almost 40 metres. The gaily painted roller coaster is another firm favourite. Arcades, restaurants, stalls and street performers all lend atmosphere to this historic playground. People come here to fish, learn acrobatics at the trapeze school or hire a bike to explore the area and stretch the limbs.

One of Santa Monica’s most enduring attractions is the picturesque wooden carousel with its bevy of beautiful hand-carved horses. The vintage ride was made famous in the Robert Redford and Paul Newman film The Sting, and is housed in its own purpose-built premises, the Looff Hippodrome, the centrepiece of the adjoining Newcomb Pier. Dating from 1916, the carousel was restored in the late 1970s and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Below the piers at beach level is an aquarium which is popular with families. Youngsters can interact with sea creatures in the touch tanks and learn more about life under the waves at marine biology classes. For peaceful views and a tranquil escape from the frenetic activities, head up to the second level of the hippodrome, which is often overlooked by visitors, and find a quiet spot to contemplate the ocean that lies at the end of America’s most iconic highway.

Santa Monica is around 29 kilometres west of central Los Angeles, to the north of Venice Beach.


Guide to Exploring Santa Monica Pier


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 2,926 properties near Santa Monica Pier
Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier £206
Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier

Wyndham Santa Monica At The Pier

120 Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Downtown, this beach hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, Santa Monica Pier, and Third Street Promenade. Santa Monica Beach and Santa Monica Place are also within 10 minutes.

    Ocean View Hotel £227
    Ocean View Hotel

    Ocean View Hotel

    1447 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      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 also within 15 minutes.

      Shore Hotel £301
      Shore Hotel

      Shore Hotel

      1515 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        With direct access to the beach, this Downtown hotel is in the city centre and within a 5-minute walk of Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Place. Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach are also within 2 miles (3 km).

        Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel £433
        Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

        Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel

        1700 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Downtown, this beachfront hotel is on the boardwalk and within a 5-minute walk of Original Muscle Beach and Santa Monica Beach. Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are also within 10 minutes.

          Viceroy Santa Monica £327
          Viceroy Santa Monica

          Viceroy Santa Monica

          1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Santa Monica hotel is located by the ocean, within a 5-minute walk of Main Street Santa Monica and Santa Monica Beach. Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are also within 15 minutes.

            DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica £226
            DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica

            DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Santa Monica

            1707 4th St, Santa Monica, CA
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Downtown, this beach hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Main Street Santa Monica, Santa Monica Beach, and Third Street Promenade. Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Place are also within 15 minutes.

              Georgian Hotel £250
              Georgian Hotel

              Georgian Hotel

              1415 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA
                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Nestled on the beach, this Downtown hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place. Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica Beach are also within 15 minutes.

                Ocean Lodge Santa Monica Beach Hotel £208
                Ocean Lodge Santa Monica Beach Hotel

                Ocean Lodge Santa Monica Beach Hotel

                1667 Ocean Avenue Suite 1000, Santa Monica, CA
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Downtown, this beach motel is within a 5-minute walk of Original Muscle Beach and Santa Monica Beach. Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are also within 10 minutes.