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Unique Venues in Santa Monica for Large Events

Published on July 25, 2023

Santa Monica, CA, boasts a wide range of unique event venues ranging from intimate rooftops, to buying out the entirety of the Santa Monica Pier.

From sweeping ocean views and Michelin-starred chefs, to cozy speakeasies and historical landmarked buildings, the beach-front community of Santa Monica provides a wide range of event venues more unique than a hotel ball room or convention center banquette space. When planning your next event in Los Angeles, consider some of the unique spaces in Santa Monica that can be rented for your next bespoke event.

Large Venues in Santa Monica

At just 9 square miles, Santa Monica may seem too limited for a large-scale event, but you don’t need to look much further that a cursory internet search to find that Santa Monica has a long history of hosting large-scale events. The LA Marathon finish line on Ocean Avenue, Twilight Concert Series on Santa Monica State Beach, the Film Independent Spirit Awards in Lot 1 North, and annual American Film Market conference at the former Loews Hotels are just a few examples of the City of Santa Monica playing host to huge events with invite lists in the thousands.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the West Sides most desirable venue for big events

Barker Hanger & Airport

Located on the campus of Santa Monica’s Regional airport, this 35,000 square foot hangar is one of the largest and most versatile venues in Los Angeles, uniquely suited for events, television productions, commercial shoots, filming, awards presentations, exhibitions, gala dinners, and parties. The vaulted ceiling soars an impressive 43 feet at the center, providing an arched steel truss over a 150 by 234 foot cement floor. An additional 6,000 square feet of dressing, production and room space is also available. Additional areas outside of the facility totaling over 85,000 square feet are also available. These exterior areas can be used for tenting, parking, production and support facilities.

The Barker Hanger has hosted scores of TV shows, film shoots and events, both private and public. Notable annual events hosted by the airport include Nickelodeons Kid’s Choice Awards, the LA Art Show, and Snap’s corporate gala.

The Santa Monica Pier & Beach

The world-famous Santa Monica Pier opened with an event in 1909 and has been hosting film shoots, community events, and premier parties ever since. The 50,000 sq ft open-air pier deck can accommodate up to 6,000 guests at one time and boasts unparalleled views of the beach, pacific ocean, and Santa Monica skyline. The 33 businesses on the pier offer a wide variety of smaller venue options and experiences for guests. Pacific Park, the amusement park on the pier, can be rented out or you can arrange for your guests to receive access to the rides and attractions as part of their event experience. Optionally, the 2-acre amusement park can be privatized for events of up to 2,400 guests who would have exclusive use of the rides including the 90ft tall Pacific Wheel.

The Pier has played host to a wide range of events, both public and private, including the Twilight Concert Series, Stranger Things Pier Takeover, and private galas for Snap Chat, Children’s Hospital, and Paris Hilton.

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows

The historic Fairmont Miramar is set above Santa Monica State Beach on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. The luxury hotel property is set on the grounds of an estate first established back in the late 1800s and has catered to Hollywood stars and Los Angeles businesses since it was converted to a hotel back in the 1920s. Today the property offers over a dozen different meeting rooms including the Starlight Ballroom that accommodates nearly 1,000 guests. The property offers more than 27,000 sq. ft. of outdoor space for hosting parties for as few as 20, or up to 700. The space can be arranged and decorated to fit your style, and it all starts with a drive into the hotel’s grand entrance.

The Fairmont regularly hosts wedding and black-tie dinners. Notable occasions hosted by their historic fig tree include Meet me under the Fig and the annual Santa Monica New Year’s Eve bash.

What to Know Before Booking Your Event in Santa Monica

There are several parameters venue representatives will need from you to determine if their venue is suitable for your event. When reaching out to event venues with a booking request, try to provide some basic information about your event. Even if all of your details are not yet confirmed, it’s good to provide some general idea of the type of event you are planning:

  • Scope of your event: is this a meeting for top-performing sales representatives or a brand launch party for social media influencers and corporate executives? Are you wanting small intimate spaces good very small group conversations, or do you need a stage from which you can make presentations or host live entertainment?
  • Size of your party: how many people do you anticipate having at your event? Will you have 100 friends and family, or an open RSVP list capped at 2,500 attendees?
  • Dates: If you have a hard date, you will need to specify that. If you are flexible on your dates, provide some detail as to when you could and could not hold your event. Sometimes you can find deals on venues by being open to uncommon event times (brunch events, week day events, etc). At the very least, you should be providing a range of when you’d like your even to happen and what time of day (e.g. “A Weekday Evening in April” or “Any Saturday in July”)
  • Amenities: what experiences are most important to you and your guests? Full bar, large kitchen for your caterer, ocean views, climate-controlled indoor seating? The list of potential amenities are endless, so be sure to communicate the top concerns specific to your event. If this is a mixer, you will want a venue that has a bar or has no restrictions on the types of bar service you can bring in. If you are planning to have a series of speakers give presentations, finding a venue with a stage, space for seating, and maybe a large-format video screen or space to have one placed will be important.
  • What is your budget: Some event planners tend to want to be vague when providing budget parameters. If you say you have $10,000, but the venue rents for $5,000, you don’t want to be overcharged! Most venues have rate cards or they will have range for pricing: high demand days like Saturdays will typically be priced higher than low demand days like Tuesdays. However, it’s important to provide venue representatives with at least some sort of parameter around what you have to spend. For one, the venue may not be within a realistic price range for your event. Alternatively, if you have $100,000 to spend at a venue that typically rents for $5,000, that would indicate to the venue representative that you have flexibility to explore options that may not normally be provided to all rental clients.

Generally speaking, popular “post-card” destinations like the Santa Monica Pier will require a higher venue fee than more purpose-built venues like hotels simply because of the logistics involved with privatizing these public spaces.

There are many unique event venues in the Santa Monica on the west side of Los Angeles. You can find more information and guides on booking your event here on our news page. If you have a question or would like to request a quote, email