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Top 5 Things to Do at Santa Monica Pier

Top 5 Things to Do at Santa Monica Pier Posted By: Raman , Date: Jul 30, 2020

Read our blog to learn about our 5 favorite things to do at Santa Monica Pier! If you’d like to spend more time in Santa Monica, consider booking one of our Los Angeles tours!

Iconic SoCal landmark

The world-famous Santa Monica Pier opened to the public in 1909 and has been a destination for entertainment and family fun for over 100 years. The pier has been the setting for countless scenes in film and television, and one of Southern California’s most recognizable landmarks. The pier is home to an array of rides, games, shops, restaurants, street performers, and viewing decks that attract visitors from around the world seeking fun in the sun.

Here’s our list of the 5 best things to do at Santa Monica Pier:

  1. Ride and games at Pacific Park
  2. Route 66 “End of the Trail”
  3. Relax on the beach
  4. Go fishing
  5. Visit Heal the Bay Aquarium

1. Ride and games at Pacific Park

The Santa Monica Pier is one of the top things to do at Santa Monica Pier
Photo by Shauna Murray

Pacific Park is one of the most quintessential things to do at Santa Monica pier. Grab a seat, hold on tight, and take off on one of Pacific Park’s twelve rides. Thrill-seekers will love the West Coaster and Sea Dragon, kids will be all smiles on the Sig Alert Bumper Cars and Inkie’s Wave Jumper, and the whole family will marvel at the panoramic views from the 130-foot high Pacific Wheel.

Kids and adults can play for prizes at classic amusement park games like Ring Toss and Whac-a-Mole, plus there are plenty of food and drink options to satisfy your hunger.

Fun Facts: Pacific Park is the West Coast’s only amusement park located on a pier, and the Pacific Wheel is the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel.


2. Route 66 “End of the Trail”

Best Things To Do In Santa Monica Pier - Visit Route 66
Photo by Shauna Murray

Witness a piece of history at the Route 66 “End of the Trail” sign, where the iconic highway of the west meets the sea. Before being replaced by today’s Interstate Highway System, Route 66 was one of the most famous roads in the United States, also known as “Main Street of America” or the “Mother Road”. The sign that stands in its memory today makes for a great photo op and one of the more memorable things to do at Santa Monica pier.


3. Relax at the Beach

Photo by Shauna Murray

Sometimes enjoying the view of the pier is just as fun as playing on it. Grab your towel and umbrella (or pick one up at Marlene’s Beach Comber on the pier) and kick back for a relaxing day in the sun and surf. With recent restrictions, heading to the beach could be one of the more difficult things to do at Santa Monica Pier, but the wait is definitely worth it!


4. Go Fishing

Photo Credit: Glen Bowman

Yes, fishing is definitely one of the best things to do at the Santa Monica pier. Bring your own gear or stop by Pier Bait and Tackle for all the angling supplies you’ll need. The most common fish caught off the pier are perch, mackerel, white sea bass, leopard shark, and stingrays.

*Talk to an expert at the bait shop and/or read posted signs about what to do if you catch an endangered black sea bass or a species unsafe to eat…or just catch and release!


5. Visit the Heal Bay Aquarium

Things to do in Santa Monica Pier - Visit the Heal Bay Aquarium
Photo by Kelton Mattingly

Take a break from the sun and “Meet the locals” at the Heal the Bay Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier. This award-winning marine education center is a hidden gem tucked just under the carousel building with over 100 local species on exhibit, plus hands-on activities like Touch Tanks and Sea Star Feedings. Proceeds help support Heal the Bay’s work to preserve and protect marine life in Santa Monica Bay. Good fun for a good cause…what could be better than that?



Photo by Shauna Murray

After you’ve had all the fun you can handle on the pier, head back towards dry land with your prizes, souvenirs, and memories of a fun day.