If you’re in the Santa Monica vicinity during July or August, the Pier hosts its 29th Annual Twilight Dance Series every Thursday night, featuring famous and up-and-coming acts from all corners of the globe, in concert. Admission is free. Click here for this summer’s lineup.
Besides the summer concert series, the Santa Monica Pier is a recreation and entertainment center featuring restaurants, shops, an aquarium, and the Pacific Park amusement rides as its daily main point of interest.
First site of note to your left is the Looff Hippodrome, an exotic California/Byzantine/Moorish style fantasy structure that shelters the carousel. It was built in 1916 and has been listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. The current carousel is a hand-carved 1922 Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel that underwent two renovations, restoring this timeless merry-go-round for current and future generations. A Ferris wheel, video game arcade and roller coaster ride make this place a favorite for kids and teens. Underneath the Pier, Heal the Bay Aquarium is also fun for families at just a $3 entrance fee.
Crowds are usually large and festive, so don’t come here if you’re in a meditative state. For more about places to explore and things to discover in Santa Monica, go here