Always open; check website for aquarium and carousel hours.
This nearly 2000-foot-long attraction took 16 months to build, and was swarmed by thousands of delighted Angelenos when it opened to the public in September 1909. Within a few years, a New York amusement park entrepreneur named Charles Looff had moved his carousel factory to Southern California. He had built Coney Island’s first carousel in Brooklyn and saw Santa Monica as a potential new market. After negotiating with the city, Looff began construction. Today, his carousel is a National Historic landmark, and brings delight to small children and adults who still ride it. This pier, like others in the area, was severely damaged during the devastating storms of 1983. Its future was debated for years, and finally $30 million was allocated by the local government for its restoration. Bigger and better than ever, today’s pier features a rollercoaster and other carnival attractions, in addition to several restaurants and free weekly summer concerts. The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium—located just beneath the pier—aims to teach children and adults about conserving ocean life.