Sitting on top of the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California, is the famous Santa Monica Pier. If the name doesn’t ring a bell for you, you must have at least seen it in many movies. A long and wide pier with many attractions including the trademark roller coaster and Ferris wheel. When we had the opportunity of going to California this was on our top to-do list.
On an afternoon in December of 2015, we drove up to the Santa Monica Pier to have the experience of walking down the pier while seeing the beauty of the place. From the moment we arrived at the beach, I started to grow impatient and anxious. I just wanted to park and get out of the car already.
One of the places that for sure you must have seen in movies is the popular Ocean Front Walk. It is a long walking path where you get to see families strolling down the area and people on their daily running routines. The view from there was breathtaking. Everywhere you looked you had something to remember the place for.
On one side you would see the Original Muscle Beach, a workout area at the foot of Santa Monica Beach, where gymnasts and acrobats practiced their skills on the rings. Body builders tested their strength on the bars and athletes just worked out. There is not a more pleasant view to motivate you to work out than the Santa Monica Pier and Beach altogether. That fitness area also had a playground for kids and common people. It had swings and small rings for children to try out. If you think for a second that their being smaller makes it very easy, the blisters on my hands beg to differ.
Next to this area was the spectacular pier. My growing impatience for walking down the pier finally came to a halt. The grand entrance already had me on cloud nine. As we walked around, we spotted talented artists in every corner. From musicians to painters and so on. The pier was also surrounded by many shops, places to eat, and even an arcade.
Everything was better than I had pictured. You can dream of visiting amazing places and see a million pictures of them, but the rush of feelings experienced when you see it for yourself will always exceed expectations. I guess it lies on the fact that you’re seeing it in person, smelling the place, breathing the air, opening up to your senses in ways that no picture can. I was there! Walking down the pier I had only dreamt about and seen in movies and experiencing it all with my family.
One of the things that make the pier so remarkable is its amusement park, Pacific Park. You will not need guiding to get there as the roller coaster and the Ferris wheel clearly make themselves stand out. We got there and my face displayed my emotions like an open book. I was overjoyed and so was my family. The admission park was free because the rides and games are paid separately. There are a total of 12 ride attractions in the park including the popular solar powered Ferris wheel and the roller coaster. We debated whether to ride on one or the other, but in the end we decided we would take a well-deserved rest in the Ferris wheel.
“I am on top of the world” -popular quote and song lyric that clearly describes my experience in the Ferris wheel. I could see everything. The park, the pier, the sand, and the beach, were all just calmly waiting for me as I sat on top of all of them. The ride was very high, but I couldn’t hesitate and risk not seeing the perfect view. We just kicked back and relaxed for a few minutes. I let the cold breeze whip my face as the sun surrendered for the day and my only thoughts were “I can’t imagine myself anywhere else.” That was, of course, until our ride was over and we were again in the real world facing everything together as a family.
We continued our walk further into the pier and saw more talented street musicians and fishers this time. Santa Monica Pier is just the place for that afternoon saunter with your family or friends. It’s the place to go out on the weekend with your friends and have a lot of fun. Don’t forget it also has many places to eat and snack around. California, I consider, is the mother of all traffic. After leaving the pier we were stuck in traffic for four hours in a ride that was supposed to take one hour. Don’t say I didn’t warn you about traffic, but Santa Monica is definitely worth it so don’t let that stop you. Next time you see a movie with the Santa Monica Pier, be able to say “I was there,” trust me, it’s one of the most gratifying things you can say even if you had to abide by some traffic.