Santa Monica Pier
Near the western terminus of historic Route 66, this old-timey seaside amusement park has an enduring, if kitschy, popularity. Untold thousands of parents have been dragged by their children toward the Ferris wheel that sparkles at night above the nearly century-old pier. Here, sunset-gazers and cotton-candy-hawkers rub shoulders with elderly men fishing for Pacific mackerel along the 1,800-foot-long boardwalk; there’s a modest aquarium and a group of carnival rides, including a roller coaster and the 44-horse vintage carousel featured in The Sting. Nearby is the Third Street Promenade, a favorite pedestrian-oriented shopping/entertainment district.
The biggest and oldest of Santa Monica’s weekly farmers markets (there are three others) is the Wednesday gathering near the pier. Most of L.A.’s top chefs—including Mark Peel from Campanile and Suzanne Goin from A.O.C. and Lucques—shop here for ingredients like Ranier cherries, snap- and snow peas, and deep-red Vulcan lettuces; nectarines, avocados, and Romano wax beans; and organically grown herbs and specialty bottled oils.
AmenitiesOpen / Closes
- Accessible by Public Transportation
- Marine Life
- Parking Available