I love the energy of the Santa Monica pier. It is about as touristy they come, but the energy and fun added to the beautiful beach setting always makes me smile. We visited on a cool, windy night and we were able to enjoy the setting as much as any time we have visited.
The pier sits well out in to the ocean, it is filled with restaurants and an amusement park, street vendors and fisherman, tourists and circus goers cover the boardwalk. Cirque d’soliel is currently set up on the beach in their big tents and streams of people come down to watch the show.
I love walking the boardwalk and watching the people, but the night lights are definitely my favorite. The bright lights of the ferris wheel are so vibrant right there on the ocean. The Pacific Park brings so many things to life.
Add in the great restaurants, everything from funnel cakes to burgers, the restaurant at the end of the boardwalk is a little more upscale, but if you are looking for fun, Bubba Gump’s is the place to be. If you haven’t seen the movie, Forrest Gump lately, refresh your memory and watch it. Not only is it an American classic, but your wait staff is likely to test you on your knowledge. Haley and I got a 100% until we were asked the real name of one of the main character’s, neither of us knew that. So for reference, keep Benjamin Buford Blue at the top of your list. You will blow away the staff if you know that one!
Santa Monica is also the end of Route 66. So after traveling 2,448 miles down a long dusty road, you can finish the trip with a gorgeous ocean view.