The hundred-year-old Santa Monica Pier continues to be one of Los Angeles' 'must-sees.' Strolling the length of the Pier (nearly 2,000 feet) can feel like you're walking on water, or off into the sunset.
It's a great place to bring kids. They can ride the historic 1922 Carousel, or the famous solar-powered Ferris Wheel (that they say can be seen from space), or play in the cavernous arcade with 200 games, from the classic to the contemporary. Under the Pier, you can visit The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, which features interactive exhibits presented by Heal the Bay. Kids might even recognize the Pier from such movies as The Hannah Montana Movie, Forrest Gump, and Iron Man.
On the Pier, you can join the Anglers as they fish for Pacific mackerel and white croaker, or just eat, shop, or enjoy the view. For something a bit more exciting, The Trapeze School of New York offers daily flying trapeze lessons on the Pier. Beginners' lessons are fun and easy, but you can also request a challenging workout.
Whatever you do, be sure to grab a corn dog and some amazing lemonade at the original Hot Dog on a Stick, built in 1946 on Muscle Beach (next to the Pier).
You can walk to the pier from several Santa Monica Hotels, including the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and the Le Merigot Beach Hotel.
- Lesley Bracker