Santa Monica is one of my favorite places in the world that I’ve been. Yes it is extremely touristy in some places, but it’s so beautiful, fun, exciting, and relaxing to be there. I make sure to go by at least once if not all the time every visit I take to Los Angeles.
I really enjoying walking along Ocean Avenue (singing that Yellowcard song in my head) and taking in the environment around me. Ocean Avenue is popular for people exercising and walking their dogs, there are often street performers, and it’s great for people watching all the tourists and different kinds of people who come to see the famous pier. It’s peaceful even with so much going on because the beach and ocean are below you and with the sun and breeze, it just feels amazing.
From Ocean Avenue, you can walk down some stairs along the cliffs and take a bridge over the Pacific Coast Highway to the beach or keep making your way down the road until you hit the Pier.
The famous pier has so much energy, I just love to be there. In the summer it’s crazy crowded, which can be good or bad depending on how you feel, but in the winter or off season, there are far less people. Regardless, it’s so much fun to walk around and look at all the chaos going on with tourists, performers, and locals. If you’re a Forrest Gump fan you can visit Bubba Gump Fishing Co. and grab lunch or just some souvenirs from their shop. There are stores, coffee places, food stands, restaurants, and even a trapeze lesson area! Lots of people come to fish off the end of the pier.
You can sign up for tours around the area, rent bikes to bike along the beach, play arcade games, and ride the ferris wheel. It is beautiful to be so close to the water, and if you’re really lucky, you can even see dolphins in the water! I’ve seen packs of dolphins swim by and they’re so beautiful.
If you need a break from all the excitement of the pier, you can take the stairs down to the beach and find a more private area to relax. In the summer on my beach days, I like to find a spot relatively far from the pier and there are usually very few people around, but you can see the pier so it still feels close.
I highly recommend a visit!