Hello! I am back again to talk about my adventures at the Santa Monica Pier! Even though the pier is a bit touristy, it is still a really fun place to visit, and I make sure to take everyone that visits Los Angeles here! One of my favorite things about Santa Monica is the parking…seriously! Parking in LA is notoriously impossible and expensive, I already have one $60 parking ticket to my name, I am trying to avoid another, so Santa Monica is a nice reprieve from the craziness. This is one of the only places in Los Angeles where you can get free* public parking (usually the first hour and a half is free, but I have only had to pay $2 at most). There is an abundance of public parking structures that let you know how many open spaces there are, and even have lights attached to the ceiling that show where the spots are! But ok enough about parking structures, onto my adventures! So the main attraction in Santa Monica is the pier, but there are also a lot of great places to eat all around, and the beach is pretty nice as well! This post will mainly focus on the pier though, just because it is the main attraction and when I go to Santa Monica, it usually is to visit the pier. If you grew up listening to pop-punk or emo music, like I did, you are probably familiar with the song “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard, whose lyrics feature in the title of this post. The actual Ocean Avenue, described in the song is actually in Santa Monica and runs just in front of the pier! Enjoy the picture below:
(Do I always blast Ocean Avenue when driving on this road…maybe)
Another interesting fact is that, Route 66, the historical freeway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles, actually ends right at the pier. There is even a sign that states “this place is the end of the historic Route 66.” In addition, it is also a pretty cool place to take pictures! The main reason of why I love the Santa Monica Pier so much is because of the small amusement park they have that is literally on the pier! There are 3 rides total, including a roller coaster and a ferris wheel! There is an old fashioned arcade and game booths where you can try to win prizes. This amusement park gives off a very old fashioned, Coney Island vibe, and I absolutely love it! If you walk further out onto the pier you will pass by a Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co, of Forrest Gump fame. Just a warning: this restaurant is always busy so be aware you might have a long wait for a table. As you continue walking further out, you can look over the railing and see surfers trying to catch some waves, and on the pier, you see a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people fishing over the edge of the pier. At the very end of the pier, it squares out more and allows you to get some pretty spectacular views looking out at the ocean, and even some nice ones looking back at the beach and the amusement park.
A pretty nice view!
This is what the beach looks like from the pier!
I even found the REAL Hotel California…just kidding, but I have always wanted to stay here just for the name
So I am not going to only talk about the Santa Monica Pier, I am also going to mention how to get some great pictures of the ocean and even the valley from above. What I am talking about is driving up into the hills where you can get some of the most amazing views of the coast line, and even see some crazy-looking mansions! My advice in doing this would be to make sure that you are driving in a smaller car that can handle tight turns and uphill acceleration. Even though I have successfully driven these roads in a giant sleeper van that could fit 8 people, it’s just much easier in a smaller car. If you take the 1 north for a few miles, you can see that the hills are just to the right of the freeway. In my opinion, you can take any off road and just explore from there, but do always have google maps open just in case. Usually when these roads wind up the mountain there are places you can pull off and get some really cool scenic pictures! It is hard driving on these roads if you do not have practice, because of how narrow the roads are, and because of how the people who live here tend to go much faster than the speed limit, making it a bit more dangerous. Now i’m not trying to scare you off from going, just wanted to put a warning so you aren’t surprised when a Tesla comes flying around a bend doing 50 in a 35. I seriously encourage you to go and explore all of these areas, because it is usually pretty empty and you can get some killer pictures without have to deal with a bunch of tourists.
The people who live here get amazing views!
Imagine seeing that view every day!
Here you can kind of see what I am talking about with the narrow, winding roads
And last but not least, a view overlooking the valley
And that is it for this week, check back in next time for more exciting trips around Los Angeles!