One of the most iconic locations in Santa Monica, the area boasts a laidback vibe and breathtaking views overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Spend a day on the pier before visiting The Lobster for an authentic seafood experience, or wander along Ocean Avenue and find some fantastic alfresco dining spots, boutique shops, and photo-worthy pastel hotels. Fancy a relaxing afternoon? Soak up the sun in the palm tree-lined Palisades Park or Tongva Park, both of which are ideal for kicking back and enjoying the views.

The Santa Monica Pier and Ocean Avenue area truly has something for everyone.

Essential Experiences

Pacific Park

Located at the end of the iconic Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park® is the perfect place to spend a day out with the family. From rides to games, seaside boutiques, delicious eateries and uninterrupted views, the park is suitable for all ages and offers a unique once-in-a-lifetime amusement park experience. It is also home to the world’s only solar-powered LED Ferris Wheel. Buy your tickets ahead of time to get a discount!

Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Guaranteed fun for the whole family, Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is just steps from the pier’s iconic carnival rides, and is home to more than 100 local species of marine animals and plants. The environmental not-for-profit group, Heal the Bay are responsible for the aquarium, and encourage guests to be hands-on with their exhibits and learn through their daily educational programs. It is also free for kids aged 12 and under.

South Bay Bike Trail

Known to locals at “The Strand”, and often referred to as the Marvin Braude Beach Trail, this 35 kilometre paved path runs from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades all the way to Torrance County Beach. Riders will zip past popular surf breaks along Santa Monica State Beach, before riding underneath the Santa Monica Pier right past the world-famous Original Muscle Beach, before continuing on through Venice and Redondo Beach, to the path’s end.

Where to eat

BarBelle

With its name inspired by two of the original stars of Muscle Beach, this highly-anticipated restaurant made its debut earlier this year and has quickly cemented itself as a California go-to. Located within the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, and boasting picturesque oceanfront and poolside views, the stylish yet casual Californian restaurant offers a new element to dining, with its farm-to-table concept proving a popular choice for guests. Offering innovative lunch and dinner menus that have been created by Executive Chef Zach Dallessandro, guests will enjoy mouthwateringly fresh dishes and photo-worthy signature cocktails that look right at home by the beach.

The Lobster

Originally opened in 1923, it was a little-known dishwasher named Mateo Castillo who worked his way up to be the owner, establishing The Lobster as the go-to seafood shack for locals and tourists alike, and it’s popularity has shown no signs of waning. A Santa Monica institution, The Lobster is located across from the Santa Monica Pier, making it the perfect pit stop for people coming off the beach, off the pier, or even those wanting a reprieve from the sunshine. The restaurant is open seven days a week, but get there early to grab a seat as it’s always packed!

1 Pico

Located within the iconic Shutters on the Beach, 1 Pico sits just above the bike path, offering diners uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean, and is said to be one of the most scenic dining experiences in Los Angeles. Serving delectable Californian cuisine, the menu features seasonal ingredients and an extensive wine list. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, and although its dishes are world-class, the atmosphere is relaxed, enjoyable and family-friendly. It is also the most idyllic place to enjoy a cocktail whilst watching the sunset!

EXPLORE HOTELS IN SANTA MONICA