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Playland Arcade on the Santa Monica Pier

Published on March 14, 2019

When you need a break from the sunshine on the Santa Monica Pier and are ready for some indoor fun, head to Playland Arcade. This historic business is great for kids—and people who want to feel like a kid again.

History of Playland Arcade

Dating back to 1950, Playland Arcade on the Santa Monica Pier was opened by two brothers, George, and Eugene Gordon. Their father, Morris “Pops” Gordon, was a long-time friend of the family who originally began the development of this popular tourist destination.

Today, the arcade is run by the fourth generation of the Gordon family. It is the longest family-run business on the Pier, and many consider it one of the most iconic arcades in America. With excellent customer service and reasonable prices for games, it has remained a popular favorite for families and friends who want to enjoy a cool spot both day and night.

Over the years, Playland Arcade has served as a fun-filled backdrop for many popular movies and television shows, including Forrest Gump, Iron Man, Hancock, The Sting, and Three’s Company. In fact, the Santa Monica Pier is one of the most-filmed locations in Los Angeles – check out the list of TV shows and movies filmed at the Pier here.

The arcade’s bright lights and large entryway continue to draw in people of all ages looking to try their luck or their skills on the more than 200 games that pack this famous location. It’s the place to go for old-fashioned fun to create memories, and many visitors to the Pier consider this a must-stop for at least a few tries at their favorite game.

Games Galore 

Playland Arcade tops the list of fun things to do in Santa Monica because there is truly something for everyone! It’s ideal for families as well as a creative date destination.

It’s famous for its Skeeball games, as well as air hockey tables, claw games, a shooting gallery, foosball, and free throw contests. You can try your skills on plenty of arcade games like Street Fighter 2 and Marvel Vs. Capcom. They have a selection of more than 10 pinball machines too, including Star Wars.

From old classics like Pac-Man, Super Mario Bros, and Galaga to new favorites like Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero, it’s easy to spend hours here. Best of all, you can exchange tickets you’ve won at the arcade games for fun prizes like toys, electronics, candy, and stuffed animals.

In between games, prizes, and rides, take a photo in the Arcade booth, which offers 6×9″ photos in strips with fun backdrops, so you can always remember your time at the Pier.

Location and Hours

Do you have your quarters ready? Playland Arcade is located at 350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica CA 90401.

The arcade is open 7 days a week, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. In the summer, the arcade opens even earlier, at 9 a.m.

For questions,  call (310) 451-5133 or visit For more information about small or large groups contact