Santa Monica Pier

Frozen2014

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
I'm doing early planning for our LA/Disney trip in August. We'll be spending 4 days in LA and coming with our kids who will be 12 and 8.

If we visit Santa Monica Pier, is it a day event? Half day event? Or a couple hours?
Can our kids swim in the water? My little one is just learning to swim, and I get nervous with my older one with big waves....so am trying to get a sense of the water. I don't know the area at all so if there is stuff to do/see around the pier, then that would be good too.

If it will keep us busy for half day or so, I'm thinking perhaps mixing it with Warner Brothers Tour (e.g. do the tour in the morning and the Pier in the afternoon). We'll most likely be staying in Hollywood so think it's about a 30 minute drive.

Also, if we go to Santa Monica Pier, is it also worth it to go to Huntington Beach (or other kid-friendly beach)?
 
Last edited:

prprincess

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
I haven't been since 2013, but I'd say that Santa Monica Pier is probably more of a half day event. I recall us buying ride passes for our children, and they were done in a few hours. But it's just so nice to walk around...I recall that there was a playground to the left of the base of the pier that my kids really enjoyed. As for swimming, we didn't in Santa Monica but did in Huntington Beach...we spent a half day there before checking into our hotel in Anaheim. We also rented a surrey and cycled up and down the beach, which the kids really loved.

We also took the kids to Venice Beach and they were fascinated by all of the sights and sounds, but I can understand being hesitant about it. I can be a bit much! But if you do go, there is also a playground on their beach, and the boys spent quite sometime there as well. We also walked over to the Venice Beach canals--absolutely beautiful!
 

Frozen2014

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
Thank you. So Santa Monica Pier wouldn't be a beach day?

That's a good idea to visit Huntington Beach on same day as checking into Anaheim....since it's not really close to Hollywood (Sounds like you did the same where you started in LA and then switched to Anaheim for Disney?)

Thanks. Will look up Venice beach too.
 
  • StageTek

    It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
    Joined
    Apr 20, 2007
    Santa Monica is a swimming beach. You won't find much difference in the beach between Santa Monica
    and Huntington but the area is quite different. The waves in both places can be small or large depending
    on the tide. If you're one with the tour by 1PM you'll get to SM by 2PM and that's usually enough time to
    play on the beach for an hour or two and then walk the pier - even enjoy some of the rides - and watch
    the sun set.
     

    SMD

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 15, 2004
    SM Pier could be a whole day. There's Pacific Park, which is kind of pricey for an unlimited wristband. Plus there are a lot of carnival games and they add up. There's also the carousel, which is only $2 and there's a soda fountain there which does tours. Within walking distance there's the 3rd Street Promenade, which is mostly shops and restaurants, however there are several food options on the pier, so it's not necessary to go over there just for food. There are a few movie theaters too. There's SM Place mall, but honestly, it's not that great, and you could walk around for an hour and not find the store you're looking for because the layout is kind of crappy. It's also about 3 blocks from the Expo line which goes right to the Science Center/Natural History Museum. So you could park at one for the whole day, do a half day, then ride to the other for the rest of the day and ride back. The train would take about 40 minutes each way. Not that there's anything particularly great to see on the train. Depending on your level of interest in the museums that could be a nearly full day activity too.
     

    mfleeting

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2014
    I think it depends on what you want to do at the pier. We went 2 years ago and spent like 2 hours there and that included us spending some time in the water. We only did the ferris wheel which was awesome in my opinion because we were already going to do Disney so didn't want to waste time on the other rides. Then we spent some time in the water but we never spend more than an hour in the water. If you all are wanting to do multiple rides at the pier it could definitely take up most of your day especially if you take breaks to go play in the water.
     

    Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    I think it depends on what you want to do at the pier. We went 2 years ago and spent like 2 hours there and that included us spending some time in the water. We only did the ferris wheel which was awesome in my opinion because we were already going to do Disney so didn't want to waste time on the other rides. Then we spent some time in the water but we never spend more than an hour in the water. If you all are wanting to do multiple rides at the pier it could definitely take up most of your day especially if you take breaks to go play in the water.
    Thanks. Sounds like your time is realistic then. Likewise we'll be going to Disney so would rather spend time/money at Disney than the smaller pier rides. I think maybe there is a shopping place to walk around at near by as well?
     
  • mfleeting

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 27, 2014
    I think there is but I cant really remember. We went 2 years ago and explored that area but haven't gone back yet.
     

    Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    Great, thanks. Since we'll be doing Disney and Universal, I don't think I'd want to spend at the Pier rides and games (but $2 for carousel just for the view sounds neat). But we could combine walking at the pier, swimming and shopping/exploring the area. Sounds like it would make a nice afternoon.
     

    hammie59

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 27, 2007
    We did a few hours. Parked at the beach in the lot. You pay at a machine after u park. You could also try and street park, but it’s a pain. The beach is huge, your typical ocean. No cove area for small children so could be a little scary if waves are big that day. The pier is fun with places to eat and shop, but the ride prices are ridiculous (we didn’t go on anything since we were headed to DL the next day). And btw, the pier itself is very crowed. My kids enjoyed playing on Muscle Beach and people watching. There were a lot of interesting characters for sure. Also Route 66 ends on the pier, so that was kind of neat. We got pictures by the sign.
     
  • Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    We did a few hours. Parked at the beach in the lot. You pay at a machine after u park. You could also try and street park, but it’s a pain. The beach is huge, your typical ocean. No cove area for small children so could be a little scary if waves are big that day. The pier is fun with places to eat and shop, but the ride prices are ridiculous (we didn’t go on anything since we were headed to DL the next day). And btw, the pier itself is very crowed. My kids enjoyed playing on Muscle Beach and people watching. There were a lot of interesting characters for sure. Also Route 66 ends on the pier, so that was kind of neat. We got pictures by the sign.
    lol...this is my post from Dec 2016

    Our trip was Aug 2017. As a follow up though...we did go to the Pier. We decided not to rent a car while in LA and thus, we took an uber there. It worked out well. We grabbed easy lunch where he dropped us off, then headed to the Pier for a few hours. Our kids did end up going on rides and enjoyed it. Then they played by the shore in the waves (didnt' let them go deep though). It was too cold for me but this didn't seem to bother them.

    Found a pricey, but lovely and trendy place dinner on one of the streets off of the Pier and then ubered back. We really enjoyed our day there.
     

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