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Santa Monica Pier New Year’s Eve

Published on November 12, 2018

For the last several years, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier has programmed its state-of-the-art lighting package on the Ferris wheel with a brilliant 60-second count down to the New Year. The entire Ferris wheel becomes one giant clock with numerals counting down 130 feet above the Pacific. The lights of the Ferris wheel can be seen nearly a mile away allowing guests to enjoy a brilliant New Year’s Countdown from any of the beaches south of the Pier, or from Palisades Park above the north beaches.

Where to go in Santa Monica to Countdown New Year’s Eve?

The New Year ’s Eve Countdown is displayed on the Pacific Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier. The wheel’s lights are best viewed from the beaches south of the Pier, Palisades Park above the beach to the north of the Pier, or from the Pier itself.

How much does it cost to see the New Year’s Eve Countdown in Santa Monica Pier?

There is no admission fee for the Pier or Pacific Park. The New Year’s Eve countdown is a free event open to all.

What time should I get to the Santa Monica Pier to see the New Year’s Eve Countdown?

The countdown begins just before midnight. Guests are encouraged to arrive early and enjoy the evening in Santa Monica at the amusement park, on the Pier, or at our nearby restaurants and hotels. Traffic into the pier can become congested during peak times, so plan to arrive early so there’s no stress or rush. Metro and Big Blue Bus are great options for getting to the Santa Monica Pier.

What is the best place to see the New Year’s Eve Countdown in Santa Monica?

The beaches south of the Pier offer a great vantage of the Pier and Ferris wheel lights. If you don’t want to venture out onto the sand, you can see the lights from the Pier itself. There is a viewing platform off the boardwalk just passed the amusement Park on the Pier. The light program can also be viewed from the Park’s live-streaming webcams at

Does the Santa Monica Pier Have Fire Works on New Year’s Eve?

There are no fireworks at the Santa Monica Pier. In fact, there have never been New Year’s Eve fireworks at the Pier. However, neighboring cities Marina Del Rey has an annual fireworks display each New Year’s Eve at 9 PM ; these can been be seen in the distance from the Pier.

In 2016, Pacific Park invested nearly one million dollars to improve the lighting package of the already world-recognized Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica Pier. The new lighting system, designed for the Pacific Wheel by eWorks Pro, added 174,000 brilliant LED’s to the spokes and rim of the 90 ft tall Chance observation wheel. The lights can be individually programed to make patterns, animations, and displays much brighter and more precise than reflective or broadcast lighting packages used on most large Ferris Wheel.

A typical light program for the wheel will consist of 30,000 individual images or frames sequenced together using eWorks proprietary software to create frame-by-frame animations. Since adding the new lighting system to the Ferris wheel, Pacific Park has created new and entertaining light programs for pier guests including winking smiley faces, kissing emojis, and seasonal patterns to enhance guests’ experience at the Pier and surrounding beaches.

The New Year’s Countdown on the Pacific Wheel happens every New Year’s Eve. The light program begins at dusk; at 11:55 PM, a special light program begins just before a 60-second countdown to the New Year at midnight. Following the countdown, the Ferris wheel displays greeting and tidings for the New Year.

The Pacific Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier displays seasonal and holiday light programs throughout the year. Special lightings of the Pacific Wheel can be arranged through Pacific Park’s sponsorship and events department, however, due to the large number of requests the Park receives every year, not all requests to arrange for a sponsored lighting can be met. Read more about sponsorship and special event opportunities at Pacific Park at