In its over one-hundred-year history, the iconic Santa Monica Pier has hosted mechanical and human entertainers ranging from obstacle games and roller coasters to close-up magicians and singer/songwriters to some of Hollywood’s brightest stars and box office bigshots. Great times, super stardom, and timeless cultural and historical importance has been espoused with the Pier, as well as its gorgeous surrounding beach and fun-filled Pacific Park. Planning a perfect day for yourself and your friends, family, or frenemies is as easy as showing up at the Pier, as the site is open almost all hours of every single day for adventurers, celeb-spotters, and people of all ages who are just looking for that special place where they can escape their worries and enjoy a relaxing day at the beach. Reasons for adventure and excitement seekers to go to The Santa Monica pier abound (and are fairly obvious) – its world famous Ferris Wheel, games and rides in Pacific Park, exciting and delicious dining options, cool and interesting performers, and the list goes on, but there is perhaps still some clarity to be gained about how deeply satisfying an experience can be had by the exhausted working parent or jetlagged and worn traveler who wants to be able to actually enjoy someplace where everyone in the family will have a good time, including themselves.
Having a relaxing and lazy day is next to impossible at most amusement parks, and while The Pier has more than its fair share of energy and excitement to offer, it is also a world apart from the hustle and hassle of other amusement parks. In a way, The Pier and Pacific Park present the perfect spot to come for a play date to let the kids tire themselves out while mommy or daddy watches from a comfortable bench with a refreshing adult beverage in hand. For the more low-key visitors, here are some delightful ways to enjoy your time at The Pier:
- Fame Spotting
- Famous celeb couples and iconic super moms frequent the Pier and Pacific Park for family fun
- Film and TV studios frequently use portions of the Pier and Park for filming
- The gorgeous soft-sand beach surrounding the Pier is not only sprinkled with local sunbathers, beach sports enthusiasts, as well as travelers year-round, there are also periodic camera crews capturing exciting action scenes, fab new workout videos, or the next big romantic comedy with Dwayne Johnson, Chris Pratt, Channing Tatum, or whoever the new RomCom heart-throb is.
- People Watching
- Watch precious children and awesome, clumsy adults attempt the many fun games in Pacific Park. Some of the more physically challenging games are like watching a “funniest videos” show except better because it’s live and nobody gets hurt
- The population of the Pier and Park is different every day, and almost always includes some sincerely exceptional and intriguing characters who have come out to see and be seen in their finest costumes, face paint, or whatever special brand of eclectic gear may be
- Spending the day or evening watching the family run themselves ragged playing and adventuring on the Pier is a surprisingly great way to meet like-minded folks who may make excellent company for future play-dates, friend-dates, or perhaps even actual dates
- Taking a mental health day at the Pier is a great way to destress and revive your beautiful and creative spirit and, ultimately, increase productivity
- Sunshine being absorbed into the skin causes the body to produce Vitamin D, which experts have found to help the body maintain healthy bones and a strong immune system, so even just relaxing outside at the pier for twenty minutes could be good for your health and longevity (just be sure to wear sunblock or cover up if you are extra sensitive or will be out for prolonged exposure)
- Sea breezes are not only delicious, fruity cocktails – the act of being at the beach and reveling in that salty sea air may promote respiratory health, improve symptoms of allergies, asthma, and skin issues, as well as stimulate the immune system because of the iodine, salt, and magnesium present in the air
- Everyone likes to have nice, soft feet, but not everyone likes to have a stranger up in their business touching and tickling and scrubbing the daylights out of their tootsies. The perfect solution is a barefoot walk on the beach while visiting the pier which naturally exfoliates the skin and may leave feet softer and smoother than ever without having to submit to the personal space invasion of a pedicure.
- Comforts of Home
- Enjoy a way more comfortable beach experience than the usual beach day by sitting down at a clean table to enjoy your meal instead of fending off gulls or finding that the cooler you dragged across what felt like the Sahara is somehow full of sand.
- Parking at the Pier is easy and accessible, which means if you need to pop down to the car for a sweater or to let a little one nap (or have a time out without feeling like your parenting is on display for public scrutiny), it is easy to go back and forth to and from the park without having to wait in line for a tram and endlessly confusing system of escalators
- If by chance you forgot something at home or your plans changed after arriving at the park and you suddenly find yourself in need of something you don’t have – your sweater, sunscreen, beach towel, whatever – there is a very strong chance it will be available for purchase at the pier without the crazy-massive mark up (highway robbery) that other amusement parks tend to slap on these convenience items
Everyone deserves a place where they can go for a good time, and the Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park are the perfectly curated place for visitors of all ages and energy levels to converge for a sincerely enjoyable time for all. Bring your busy body kiddos and your slow-moving self or sweet little granny and be delighted by how satisfied each of you is with your experience enjoying your time together.