picture
inazakira/Flickr

Key Info

380 Santa Monica Pier

Price & Hours

Free
10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily

Details

Amusement Parks, Entertainment and Nightlife, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Whether you're traveling with children or craving an adrenaline rush, Pacific Park delivers. Located on the Santa Monica Pier, this ocean-facing amusement park is packed with arcade games and thrill rides. Like carnivals and fairs hosted annually across the country, Pacific Park offers a variety of classic games, including Whac-A-Mole, ring toss and water races. But the park's main draws are its 12 exhilarating rides. Soar above the pier on the world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel, swing back-and-forth on a sea dragon-themed ship, plummet 44 feet on a tower ride or go racing around the pier on the West Coast's only oceanfront steel roller coaster. When you're not enjoying the park's heart-pumping activities, buy a souvenir from a gift shop or grab a bite to eat from one of several quick service food stalls.

Many previous travelers loved visiting Pacific Park, citing its family-friendly atmosphere and superb setting as highlights. However, a few cautioned that park can feel crowded at times due to its small size and popularity. Others warned that the ride prices are high. Though you can pay for rides individually, several reviewers suggested buying the unlimited rides wristband for every member of your party so you can enjoy multiple rides more than once.

Rides are currently closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but they typically cost $5 to $10 each. Unlimited ride wristbands will set you back $17.95 for every child younger than 8 and $32.95 for every person age 8 and older. If you plan on playing arcade games, know that they each cost $2 to $6 and are not covered by unlimited ride wristbands. Admission to the park itself is always free.

During the pandemic, opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Hours of operation for stores and eateries vary by location. Metered street spaces and parking garages can be found within walking distance of the park. You can also easily get to the park from the Marvin Braude Beach Trail, the LA Metro's Downtown Santa Monica Station and numerous Big Blue Bus stops. For additional information, visit the official Pacific Park website.

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#1 Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Santa Monica's 3 ½ miles of shoreline, known as Santa Monica State Beach, are renowned as some of the area's best thanks to the soft sands, ideal weather and bevy of attractions. In addition to the gorgeous stretch of sand, the beach is home to unique amenities like the Original Muscle Beach (a 1930s-era beach park with retro gym equipment) and the International Chess Park. What's more, the beach offers traditional facilities, such as the North Beach Playground and the Annenberg Community Beach House. But perhaps the beach's best-known attraction is its famous pier.

Stretching from the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Ocean Front Walk (the end of Route 66) to a spot above Santa Monica Bay, the Santa Monica Pier is the beach's most recognizable landmark. Not only will you see it in countless photos of the city, but you'll also catch a glimpse of it in several films, including "Forrest Gump." Some of its most popular amenities include a historic carousel, Heal the Bay Aquarium and Pacific Park, which boasts an assortment of arcade games, rides and food stalls.

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