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Santa Monica Pier

This vibrant Pier features an amusement park and arcade, plus unforgettable views of Malibu and South Bay.

TravelCurious Tip

It’s a very popular attraction, so it’s packed day and night. Early morning is still your best bet: watch the surfers doing their thing, and perhaps take a dip yourself!

For more than 100 years, the iconic entrance of Santa Monica Pier has welcomed visitors to one of Los Angeles’ most recognised tourist spots. In its current form, Santa Monica Pier is actually the combination of two individual piers built in 1909 and 1916. It holds arcades, carousels, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster and an aquarium over the waters, in addition to an array of bars and restaurants. But the main thing is the view: stretching hundreds of metres out into the Pacific, amid its rolling blue waves, the pier offers a view of the entire coast from Malibu to Palos Verdes Peninsula.


All manners of street performers, musicians and artists can be found along the pier, so it might take quite a while to walk the length through all the entertaining distractions. However, a stop at Pacific Park is a must, particularly if kids are in tow, as is a stop at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium where there are all sorts of hands-on interactions with knobbly crustaceans. The pier is also popular for fishing, and a license is not required. Head to Santa Monica Bait and Tackle and you can rent some fishing gear; people have been known to catch White Sea bass, mackerel and even small sharks from the pier!


Just south of the pier you can find the Original Muscle Beach, where the California fitness craze really kicked off in the 1930s. Whether you think its admirable or amusing, you can ogle the muscle men with their bulging veins and popping eyes as they enjoy a very public work-out. An amusing contrast can be found close by at the International Chess Park, where young battle old, and trained mathematicians duke it out with homeless folks. Colourful company and sparky contests guaranteed.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Los Angeles
Third Street Promenade
Great pedestrian street with lots of shopping and dining in the heart of Santa Monica
Muscle Beach
Alleged to be the home of the American fitness boom, the movement began in the 1930s. Since then Muscle Beach has become a 'must-see' on an LA trip.
Menotti's Coffee Stop
Capturing what travellers consider quintessential vibes of old and new Venice, it's a must-stop for anyone needing a buzzy pick-me-up.
Venice Beach Boardwalk
The promenade is at the heart of the beach for all travellers - with restaurants, hundreds of shops - both pop-up and permanent, and locals who encapsulate the clashing nature of Venice Beach.
Venice Skatepark
Venice Beach is known not just for its muscly people and surfers, but also its' skaters who flock to the skatepark at all hours of the day to show off and try new tricks.
Salt & Straw
An ice cream company that's so much more than scooping delicious flavors - it's part of the movement of stakeholder driven, sustainable businesses and fits in at home in Venice.

Related Tours

Private Driving Full Day Tour of L.A.
The City of Angels enjoys a stunning location: set within a broad basin, backdropped by vast mountain ranges, dark-green forests, desert sands and the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast. The "City of Angels" flourished into a world-famous entertainment industry throughout the twentieth century, as people and businesses alike moved to the city to be a part of the magic - and Hollywood was born.  

This tour will show you everything LA has to offer, as you explore not only the famous entertainment district of Hollywood, but the luxurious neighbourhood of Beverly Hills, the natural beauty of Griffith Park, and the Bohemian vibes of Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier.

  • Enjoy skyscraper views at the Griffith Observatory 
  • Venture down to Hollywood Boulevard, stroll along the Walk of Fame, passing both the Dolby Theatre and TCL Chinese Theatre 
  • Snap pictures of the iconic Hollywood sign 
  • Continue along Sunset Strip, and walk by the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont 
  • Refuel yourself at La Brea Farmers Market 
  • Cruise through the highlights of Beverly Hills, such as The Playboy Mansion and Rodeo Drive- the best place in LA to see and be seen. 
  • Unwind at the Santa Monica Pier amusement park 
  • Conclude your tour relaxing at Venice Beach and Muscle Beach as the sun sets over the Pacific 
Your adventure begins with a bird's eye view of a city that has been described as 500 miles wide and one mile deep. Should you fancy, pop into the Griffith Observatory (please note the observatory is closed on Mondays).

Next venture down to  Hollywood Boulevard, where the Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theatre and of course the beautiful TCL Chinese Theatre await you. The concrete blocks in the famous forecourt bear the hand and footprints of film legends. Find the prints of your favourite star, and then ask your guide to snap a shot of you with the iconic 'Hollywood' sign in the hills behind you. Then meander down the Sunset Strip where you happen past iconic places like the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont. 

Enjoy your lunch (food not included in price) stop at The Grove & Farmers’ Market, an LA institution where more than 100 produce stalls and restaurants cater for every conceivable foodie whim, from nutritious Californian superfood salads to gourmet burgers, man-sized steaks and fajitas. 

In this luxury district, you will see famous locations including the Greystone Mansion and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel,  where the classic ‘Pretty Woman’ was filmed.  You may even have the chance to grab a quick glance of the Playboy Mansion, Rodeo Drive, and the famous palm-tree lined streets.

A trip to the Californian coast will give you time to unwind before our final stop. Enjoy some rides at the Santa Monica Pier amusement park and then soak up the Bohemian vibes of Venice Beach. There’s never a dull moment on the boardwalk, where you’ll see the colourful locals and the famous Muscle Beach.
Private Half Day Highlights Driving Tour of LA
Los Angeles is a city with much to discover. Take our half day highlights tour to uncover the main attractions of the city! 

  • Begin your tour on Hollywood Boulevard and enjoy a walk amongst the stars down the Walk of Fame 
  • Pass iconic attractions such as the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre 
  • Snap pictures of the Hollywood sign 
  • Continue along the Sunset Strip, passing famous haunts like the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont 
  • Keep your eyes peeled in Beverly Hills for stars popping in and out of their homes
  • Finish your adventure in Venice Beach, the hub of creatives, millennials, and foodies.
  • Return to your hotel or ask your private guide to leave you in Venice for the rest of the day.
Hollywood

Your experience begins on Hollywood Boulevard, home to some of the most iconic attractions such as the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre and of course the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Created in 1958, this famous sidewalk celebrates the Hollywood greats - from silent film stars to modern day heroes. Your knowledgeable guide will also point out the best spot to get that perfect snap of the Hollywood sign in the background. You will continue on to the Sunset Strip and see famous places such as the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont.

Beverly Hills

In this luxury district, you will visit famous locations such as the Greystone Mansion and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (now the 'Four Seasons') where the classic ‘Pretty Woman’ was filmed. Other highlights include The Playboy Mansion, Rodeo Drive and the famous palm-tree lined streets. 

Beach Bum

Your adventure ends with a breezy drive to the beautiful Venice Beach. Take the time to unwind and soak up the bohemian vibes of this vibrant community. There’s never a dull moment on the boardwalk, where you’ll see the colourful locals and the famous Muscle Beach. At the end of your tour, your guide will be able to suggest great eateries for your lunch or dinner, should you choose to stay in the area, otherwise they will be able to transport you back to your hotel.
Private Biking Tour from Santa Monica to Venice Boardwalk
While Los Angeles may be synonymous with car culture, one of the best ways to experience the city is on two wheels. Explore the ocean front on a bike path and take it all in as the wind whips gently around you, with the sun at your back. Along the way, you will have ample opportunity to lock your bike, grab a bite to eat, and explore some of this gorgeous area of L.A. on foot. On your private, 5-hour biking tour, you will:

  • Meet your guide at Joy Ride Bike Rentals to be fitted with your bike for the tour, near the original Muscle Beach in Santa Monica.
  • Ride to the iconic Santa Monica Pier, where you will stop for a break and photo ops.
  • Continue riding along the beach and take in the amazing views.
  • Stop at the Venice Canals, where you will leave your bike for a short walking tour of the canals.
  • Ride to the giant public art “declaration,” and park your bike once again to explore the Venice Boardwalk.
  • Enjoy the boardwalk on foot, with its street performers, body builders, great shops and eateries, and all the eclectic, colourful chaos that makes the boardwalk one of the world’s top tourist attractions.
  •  Explore the Venice Public Art Walls, either by bike or on foot.
  •  End the tour by returning the bike to Joy Ride Bike Rentals.
You will have the opportunity to eat at either the affordable Baja Cantina or other food stops along Washington Blvd, and walk the Venice canals (bikes are not allowed on the canals.) The canals make up six waterways forming a grid, with three residential islands among them, taking you past gorgeous L.A. architecture. Explore L.A.’s famous beaches the way they were meant to be seen! This is a family-friendly way to see the highlights of Santa Monica and Venice. It is an easy 6-mile, round trip tour on flat, paved bike paths and boardwalks.

Please note: we recommended wearing close-toed shoes, and dressing in layers. 
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