Santa Monica Tourist Attractions
Santa Monica Pier
The Pier features an amusement park, dining facilities, gift shops, an arcade, and designated areas for fishing. You do not need a license to fish from the Pier.
On the Santa Monica Pier
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
The seafood restaurant born out of the movie Forest Gump is conveniently located right at the beginning of the Pier. It is a popular spot, but usually worth the wait. The restaurant offers a view of the beach, ocean and the palisades, but it is not directly over the water.
- Mariasol Mexican Restaurant
Near the end of the Pier, far past the water line even at low tide. The building is elevated above the pedestrian walkways for a spectacular view of the ocean and nearby beaches.
- Rusty's Surf Ranch
A restaurant/bar located at the beginning of the Pier. It opens at noon for lunch and then happy hour starts at 4PM. There is live music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and occasionally on Sunday. This is a good place to see some of the local talent and occasionally some names you might recognize.
- Soda Jerks
A soda fountain located inside of the Carousel building, at the beginning of the Pier. It's open every day except Tuesday and Wednesday (open on Wednesdays March-August).
- The Lobster Restaurant
Not on the Pier, but is adjacent to the entrance. The upscale restaurant is on Ocean Avenue near Coloardo Avenue, overlooks the Pier and offers a view of the ocean.
- Pacific Park
A carnival style amusement park located on the Santa Monica Pier. A ferris wheel offers spectacular views of the Santa Monica Bay, the Pacific ocean, Santa Monica, Ocean Park and Venice Beach. There are carnival games, a roller coaster and other rides.
- Playland Arcade
All of the typical arcade games can be found here, including air hockey, skee ball, electronic games, dance games, etc.
- Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
A marine science learning center and aquarium located under the Santa Monica Pier (near the Carousel). Features interactive lessons and activities to introduce students to the basic concepts of marine environmental studies. Open to the general public, or to student groups.
- Santa Monica Pier Carousel
This indoor attraction is located at the beginning of the pier, featuring 44 horses, one rabbit, two sleighs, and one goat. The carousel was constructed during the 1920's and relocated to the Santa Monica Pier in 1947.
Chess Park - Not unlike New York City's Washington Square Park, Santa Monica's Chess Park is home to some high-anxiety chess games. The public chess tables here attract superb players and visitors are always welcome to watch - or join in if you can handle the pressure! Kids will like the human-scale chessboard painted on the sidewalk! Chess Park is located near the Santa Monica Pier.
Santa Monica Shopping and nearby, including Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica Place, Venice Beach Boardwalk, Montana Avenue, Malibu Country Mart.
Third Street Promenade
Only pedestrians are allowed on Third Street in Santa Monica, between Broadway and Wilshire Blvd. There you'll find restaurants, unique retail shops, movie theatres and nightclubs. Dining, shopping, entertainment and street performers combine to make the Third Street Promenade a favorite destination for visitors and residents alike.
Venice Beach Boardwalk - Shopping, Arts, Artists, Performers and other fun things to do, within walking distance of Santa Monica Pier.
Lake Shrine Temple at the Self-Realization Fellowship
This park-like temple is actually in Pacific Palisades on Sunset Boulevard. The ten-acre site, with its gardens and natural spring-fed lake, is home to a variety of flora and fauna, including swans, ducks, koi, and trees and flowers from around the world. A 45-minute tour is available on Saturdays and Sundays at 3PM. Hours: TUE-SAT: 9AM to 430PM; and SUN: 12PM to 430PM. [Pacific Palisades].
Santa Monica article - LAtourist's article about Santa Monica. Contains an introduction to Santa Monica, highlights and information on various topics related to Santa Monica.