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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.
You could easily spend an entire afternoon at Santa Monica Pier. The list below provides a nice selection of the activities you can enjoy here:
For many more things to do, have a look at our Santa Monica things to do page.
With direct access to the beach, this Santa Monica hotel is in the city center 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 mi (3 km).
Located steps from the Pacific Ocean and walking distance to Santa Monica’s premier attractions, including the iconic Santa Monica Pier, the original Muscle Beach, 3rd Street Promenade, and a variety of entertainment and outdoor recreation.
Located across the street from the Santa Monica Pier and Beach and near the Santa Monica Place Mall, the hotel is 2 blocks from the Third Street Promenade. Venice Beach is 2 miles away while Westwood Village, UCLA, and Beverly Hills are within 7 miles.
This Los Angeles-area hotel is set across from the civic center, 2 blocks from the beach and famed Santa Monica Pier; the airport is 9 miles away.
Santa Monica Beach is across the street from Ocean View Hotel; the Santa Monica Pier and Third Street Promenade are each one block away.
Located in the heart of Santa Monica, this hotel is steps from Santa Monica Place and Third Street Promenade. Santa Monica Beach and Santa Monica Pier are also within 10 minutes.
This 1921 Los Angeles-area hotel is perched above Santa Monica Beach, and sits at the end of Wilshire Boulevard, across from Palisades Park. Third Street Promenade is 3 blocks away.
Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, this 1933 hotel is across from Palisades Park, 2 blocks from the beach, pedestrian Third Street Promenade, and famed Santa Monica Pier.