Santa Monica Pier

Jessica Lehmann

I was not raised in Los Angeles. But I’ve lived here long enough to be considered a qualifying Angeleno. And yes, I love the Santa Monica Pier. Now, I’m a major wuss when it comes to all things rides, so this could be a factor. But there are many lovely things that still make the pier a go-to destination for locals and tourists. The old wood planks that comprise the pier date it. Just walking the pier makes me a little nostalgic for a time passed. It’s really not as commercialized as you’d expect.

The Pier is Enchanting. The Parking, Not So Much

Yes, Bubba Gump Shrimp is a chain restaurant. However, the churro vendor, the dude who draws people and the “your name on a grain of rice” booth all have the kitsch, tourist qualities that win me over. Also, the young woman on the pier who murdered Adele’s “Someone Like You” the last time I was there actually kind of made my day with how god-awful she was.

But that’s just me… if you like a healthy does of kitsch in the form of old arcades, lame vendors and lamer rides (sans the Ferris wheel, the Ferris wheel is awesome for all), then you will like the Pier, too. Also, it can be really fun to go to the end of the Pier and see what the fishers are reeling. Catches range from seaweed to giant sting rays, so try your luck.