On the shoreline of Southern California sits a jewel of the Los Angeles region — the city of Santa Monica. From shopping on Rodeo Drive to enjoying the sun in Venice Beach, the City of Santa Monica has many spectacular sights you won’t want to miss. Best of all, it’s just a short trip away with a car rental from LAX.
The Santa Monica Pier is right on the Pacific coast of the city. From funnel cakes to trapeze lessons, there are dozens of things to do and see at the Pier. The Santa Monica Pier is a great destination to drive your car rental to for shopping dining, fun, and spectacular views of the ocean. Here are a few of the attractions you can enjoy while visiting the Santa Monica Pier:
Fabulous Eats at Great Restaurants
You can sample some of the best cuisine in Santa Monica right at the pier. Enjoy classic hamburgers and fries at the Pier Burger. There is an old-style soda shop, with real ‘soda jerks’ where you can have a hand pumped soda or ice cream sundae. For fancier dining, you can sample fine Italian dining above the pier at the Ristorante Al Mare, or traditional Santa Monica seafood at The Albright. No matter what kind of food you desire, there’s somewhere on the Santa Monica Pier to satisfy your cravings.
Shop Till You Drop
Within a short car rental drive away of the Santa Monica Pier are several shops that you can check out to see some of the latest styles, fashions, accessories, shoes, and more! It’s easy to park your rental car and wander to familiar stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, Adidas Shoes, and American Apparel. The Santa Monica Pier has lots of local flavor, too. The Oatman Rock Shop is a fun place for beachgoers, with a beautiful assortment of local sea shells, along with a gorgeous collection of crystal and jewels.
Take a Selfie At Palisades Park
On top of California Sandstone bluffs, Palisades Park is a beautiful oceanside park that offers breathtaking views of the ocean and beaches below. In addition to the beautiful views, the park boasts a wide variety of trees, flowers, and other native California plant life. At over 26 acres, the park extends over a mile north of the Santa Monica Pier. This makes the park a great place not only for beautiful pictures, but for exercise buffs. The park provides a perfect place for walking, running, and biking. In fact, many fitness groups use the park to train for sporting events.
Take the Full Walking Tour of the Pier
If a lesson in history is your game, the Santa Monica Pier holds a fascinating story over its 100-year history. All you have to do to join in one of these tours is to head to the Pier shop on Saturday or Sunday at 11:00 AM or noon. The tour guides will take you though a free, three-hour tour of the Santa Monica Pier. It’s interesting to see how the pier has changed over the past 100 years.
A Hidden Gem: Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Heal the Bay’s public marine education center is just underneath the historic carousel building. Children and adults alike can get a genuine hands-on experience with live sea creatures. There are hundreds of local species on exhibit to see and enjoy, as well as daily educational programs. The aquarium is a great way to enjoy and understand our vast seas and oceans, without getting your feet wet.
Leave Your Car Rental Behind and Hop on the Bus
If you’re tired of driving, it’s relaxing to park your rental car and take a ride with Starline Tours. Their iconic double decker buses offer trips all around Santa Monica and LA. They also include tours of the homes of famous stars, the breathtaking beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu, movie studio tours, and more.
Take a Ride at the Pacific Park Amusement Park
Pacific Park is the only amusement park on the West Coast situated on a pier. The Pacific Park is home to the first solar-powered Ferris wheel, an icon of the Santa Monica pier. Besides the Ferris wheel, guests can take also a ride on any one of a dozen rides. Rides include a roller coaster, a 9-story sky tower, bumper cars, and more. When you’re done, you can enjoy some of the many carnival games.
Grab a Rod and Reel and Catch a Winner
Whether you’re a novice fisherman or an expert reel master, the Santa Monica Pier is home to many fishermen vying for ‘the big catch’. At the local pier bait and tackle store, fishermen swap stories of the one that got away. Grab your rod and reel, buy some bait, and enjoy the pier while hoping for a big catch of your own.
See a Piece of History at the 66 to Cali Shop
At the traditional end of historic route 66 lies a tiny historical shop dedicated to the mother of all roads in the United States. Route 66 stretches From Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. At 2,400 miles in length, federal authorities decided to decommission the road in the late 1980s, but over 80% of the road still remains intact. The 66 to Cali shop is a 25 year traditional stop at the end of this historic highway. Take a picture at the scenic ‘end of highway 66’ sign, designed by the shop’s owner and Santa Monica native, Dan Rice.
Dance to the Early Morning at Rusty’s
There’s always a party at Rusty’s Surf Ranch. In addition to offering lunch and dinner fare, Rusty’s features live music every Friday and Saturday night. With a full bar, they have been serving up great live music and good times for more than 20 years. The bands vary from Doo Wop and classic rock to grunge, new wave, and indie rock. That guarantees that every night at Rusty’s is a different and special experience.
LAX Car Rental Makes It Easy
The Santa Monica pier has something for everyone to enjoy. And since it’s just a short distance from most LA locations, getting there in your car rental is easy. Join the millions of people who have come from all across the world since 1909 to this iconic location. Value Rental Car offers affordable, short and long term car rentals that are perfect for seeing Santa Monica. Their Inglewood location is close to LAX, and they offer free pickup and dropoff service.