A landmark on this beach since 1908, the pier means different things to different people, but is a must for everyone on Santa Monica holidays. For anglers it's a place to fish; for couples a place to stroll and watch the sunset; and for holidaymakers somewhere to eat fresh seafood, buy souvenirs, play on the amusements, and ride the iconic carousel and Ferris wheel.
Santa Monica Boulevard
Hire an open-top car and cruise Santa Monica Boulevard all the way through to Beverly Hills and Hollywood. Celeb-spot along the way then stop off at iconic Sunset Strip to hit the bars and clubs. There's live music at the famous Whisky a Go-Go and Viper Room, and cool hotel bars where you can mingle with the in-crowd.
Ride a bike or walk the 2.5 miles to kooky Venice Beach to see South California at its most eccentric. Watch the street performers doing their thing all along the boardwalk; peruse the stalls for temporary tattoos and a glimpse into your future; admire the six-packs on Muscle Beach; or hit trendy Abbott Kinney Avenue to hang with the hipsters.
The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is run by conservationists and dedicated to preserving the local marine environment. Learn all about the creatures that live in the ocean here and get touchy-feely with star fish, crabs and sea urchins, as well as viewing over a hundred other marine animals and plants.
Third Street Promenade
Three blocks' worth of quality shops, restaurants, bars and cinemas are what you'll find at this pedestrian-only open-air mall. All this comes amid carefully landscaped spaces complete with street performers and bands to entertain the passers-by. It's the perfect place to shop and eat on Santa Monica holidays.