Santa Monica is a beachfront city in western Los Angeles County, California, United States. Situated on Santa Monica Bay, it is bordered on five sides by different neighborhoods of the city of Los Angeles: Pacific Palisades to the north, Brentwood on the northeast, West Los Angeles on the east, Mar Vista on the southeast, and Venice on the south. The 2010 U.S. Census population was 89,736. Due to a favorable climate and close proximity to Los Angeles, Santa Monica became a famed resort town by the early 20th century attracting many celebrities, like Marion Davies, to build magnificent beach front homes on Pacific Coast Highway.
SANTA MONICA PIER
You know you’ve arrived in Santa Monica, California when you see the iconic Ferris Wheel at the Santa Monica Beach Pier jutting into the inviting waters of the Pacific Ocean. Set at Santa Monica’s westernmost point, the Santa Monica Pier is a staple of this picturesque seaside community. Packed with family-friendly activities, vibrant street performers, restaurants and shops, the public pier also has stunning views and over a century’s worth of history.
For first-time visitors, your first stop should be the Pier Shop & Visitor Center, where you can find maps of the area, branded apparel, visitors guides and a knowledgeable staff. If you’re up for the walk, you can jump on a free Historical Walking Tour; docents will reveal hidden nooks and crannies of the Santa Monica Pier, take you by the famous Original Muscle Beach and divulge stories about celebrity visitors. Tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 11am to 12pm.
The West Coast’s only amusement park located on a pier features the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific wheel. It also features the Santa Monica pier roller coaster, the West Coaster, an exhilarating roller coaster that towers 55-feet above the Pacific Ocean, midway games, food and shopping. Pacific Park is open year-round, although seasonal hours vary.
Twilight on the Pier, the outdoor music festival, is almost as iconic as the pier itself! The concert series is a Pier-wide festival, complete with immersive art, food, a beer and spirits garden, games and interactive activations all along the Pier promenade.
On top of Twilight on the Pier, Santa Monica Pier hosts continual programming throughout the year from seasonal Roga (running yoga) sessions to the family-friendly Front Porch Cinema.
Santa Monica has a coastal Mediterranean climate. Santa Monica enjoys an average of 310 days of sunshine a year. Because of its location, nestled on the vast and open Santa Monica Bay, morning fog is a common phenomenon in May, June, July and early August (caused by ocean temperature variations and currents). It is also in September highest temperatures tend to be reached. It is winter, however, when the hot, dry winds of the Santa Anas are most common. In contrast, temperatures exceeding 10 degrees below average are rare.