All About Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

A little history: The Santa Monica Pier was first opened in 1909 and was
not originally created for amusement purposes. In fact it was originally a
for helping the city deal with its sanitation needs, i.e. how to deal with its
sewage! However, the pier quickly became popular with the local fishing
community and local businesses started to see the potential for entertainment on the pier. Carousel manufacturer Charles I.D. Looff built the first amusements on the pier, including the Blue Streak Racer roller coaster, and a carousel with 44 hand-carved horses was built in 1922. Muscle Beach was established in the 1930s, helping build Santa Monica’s reputation for physical fitness and healthy lifestyles. The neon sign at the top of the pier was installed by the Santa Monica Pier Businessman’s Association in 1940. The Gordon family established the Playland arcade
in the 1950s and has been running ever since.
After struggling through destructive storms and attempts to replace the pier, the city made efforts to maintain and restore the pier, such as
the ongoing summer Twilight Dance series in 1983. In 1996, Pacific Park was opened, giving a visitors a small amusement park with modern
rides to enjoy. Today, the pier welcomes more than 4 million annual visitors including locals and people from all over the world.

Pacific Park: The west coast’s only amusement park on a pier features a dozen rides, midway games, food outlets and seaside shopping. Take a ride on the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel.


The Original Muscle Beach: The Works Progress Administration installed exercise equipment that helped the city park earn its nickname and become a catalyst for the fitness movement in Southern California. Try out the equipment or watch amazing athletes use them daily.


Pacific Park Solar Ferris Wheel: As befits environmentally conscious Santa Monica, the 2008 redesign of the world’s first solar-powered Ferris wheel uses 160,000 LED lights and offers a magnificent view of Santa Monica, Malibu, and Catalina Island.

Santa Monica Firsts: California is known for trying out new things, and Santa Monica is no exception. Along with the first solar-powered Ferris Wheel in the world, Santa Monica is also the first city that professionalized lifeguards and hosted the first professional beach volleyball match. The Hot Dog on a Stick located by Santa Monica Pier is the first in the world.

Dolby Theatre

The stairs leading up to the entrance of the Dolby Theatre have a glittering effect created by the mosaic tilework.

The current site of the Academy Awards is located within the Hollywood and Highland shopping complex. While the inside of the theatre is not open for visitors, there is still plenty to see. Imagine the red carpet entrance with Hollywood Boulevard blocked off to create the entrance for the stars through the 5-story tall arches, down the hall between the pillars commemorating every Oscar winner starting from Wings, with spaces reserved all the way to 2074. Take a photo on the staircase with its glimmering mosaic effect, then go up to the entrance and take in the grandeur of the space and its contrast with the surrounding shopping mall; it will make you appreciate the Hollywood magic that goes into making the Oscars a glamourous ceremony!

You can visit the Dolby Theatre and many other places in a single day through a private 1-day tour of Los Angeles while respecting social distancing guidelines. See the best sights of LA and learn more about the City of Angels! Inquire at http://www.egctours.com for more details.

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood

Top 10 Socially-Distanced Places to Visit in Los Angeles

10 Socially-Distanced Places to Visit in Los Angeles

Lockdown orders, travel restrictions, and the desire to socially distance has forced us to reimagine traveling in Los Angeles, or in any city. Here are 10 places in Los Angeles that are well-adapted to the current circumstances.

Griffith Park

The crown jewel of LA’s park system, this expansive area is six times larger than New York’s Central Park and offers an impressive array of outdoor activities. The Griffith Observatory’s art deco architecture can be appreciated any time of year, as can the many hiking trials, some of which offer outstanding views of the Hollywood Sign. Cycling, horseback riding, and tennis are among the many other activities possible.

The Huntington Botanical Gardens

While the Huntington also boasts a respected art gallery and library manuscript collection, as these may be closed for an extended period of time, take the opportunity to reserve a ticket and visit the magnificent gardens, including the newest addition, the Chinese Garden that is remarkably true to the serene gardens that inspired classical Chinese poets and philosophers.

Venice Boardwalk

There are few places in LA that characterize the essence of the city as well as the Venice Boardwalk. Here you will find skaters, surfers, street art, fitness fanatics, hip eateries as well as some of the grimier aspects of living in LA. Take a walk along the shops, use the bike path with rollerblades, or spend some time by the sea. Take the chance to drive by the nearby restored Venice Canals for a taste of LA history, or take a picturesque walk to tourist (and local) favorite Santa Monica Pier.

Rodeo Drive

The world-famous posh shopping district is a way to experience the glamour of the Beverly Hills lifestyle. Join the Prada-loving devils and see filming locations from Pretty Woman, Clueless and other movies and TV shows. At the time of writing, most shops and hotels are open for business.

Bunker Hill

Downtown’s Bunker Hill has seen numerous transformations, from Victorian mansions to urban blight. Nowadays, it is a hub of high culture in the city, with its architectural highlight being Frank Gehry’s astonishing Disney Concert Hall. Concerts may not be on the schedule for the time being, but the architecture alone makes it a worthwhile visit, while the little-known garden on top makes it a delight. Take the iconic Angel’s Flight funicular down to Grand Central Market for a variety of local eats.

Malibu Pier/Surfrider Beach

For an afternoon living the surfer or celebrity lifestyle, going to Malibu Pier and Surfrider Beach is an excellent option. The Pier, less crowded than Santa Monica, offers gorgeous views of the shoreline and a lovely opportunity to dine by the sea at Malibu Farms. Adjacent Surfrider Beach is the birthplace of worldwide surf culture and still attracts many surfers, while the beach somehow avoids overcrowding most of the time.

Farmer’s Market / The Grove

For outdoor dining and options for shopping, it’s hard to beat Farmer’s Market and The Grove. With local eateries, fresh food vendors, fine dining by the musical fountains, occasional celebrity sightings, and luxury shops, the combination of these two adjacent shopping and dining centers is perhaps more attractive than ever in the social-distancing era.

Malibu Creek State Park

Even at this idyllic slice of nature on the outskirts of Los Angeles, the Hollywood connections are clear. Hikes can take you to the shooting location of the television show MASH, where you can still find old remnants from the show, and numerous other movies have taken advantage of Malibu Creek State Parks natural beauty. But even without these associations, the park is a must visit in the social-distancing era for its incredible natural scenery.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Stretching along several blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, The Hollywood Walk of Fame can provide a socially-distanced, fascinating walk through Hollywood history. Highlights include TCL Chinese Theatre, the El Capitan Theatre, the Capitol Records building, and over 2,600 terrazzo and brass stars celebrating famous entertainers.

Watts Towers

The towers reaching up to 99.5 feet in height built single-handedly over 33 years by Italian immigrant Simon Rodilla are a testament to the ingenuity that ordinary people are capable of. Made of sea shells, pottery shards, soda bottles, and other random objects, the Watts Towers have the power to inspire and fascinate any visitor.


You can visit many of these places in a single day through a private 1-day tour of Los Angeles while respecting social distancing guidelines. Inquire at http://www.egctours.com for more details.

6 Tips to Survive (and enjoy) The Hollywood Walk of Fame

It may be one of the most famous places in Los Angeles, but for reasons deserved and undeserved, the star-filled Hollywood Walk of Fame has a less than stellar reputation. Between the crowds, the griminess, the noise, and the difficulty of access, you may be tempted to skip the area when you visit Los Angeles. But the Walk of Fame can be a very enjoyable experience with a few tips and a little preparation. Here our 6 ways to make the most out of your visit.

  1. Do a little research. The Walk has almost 2,700 stars, so if you are interested in taking that picture with one of your favorite stars, check http://www.walkoffame.com/starfinder before you get to the Walk of Fame to know exactly where to go. Check out some of the more unique stars, such as the one dedicated to the Apollo XI astronauts who landed on the moon, or Muhammad Ali’s star, the only one that is off the ground.
  2. Pick a good time to go. Weekends and weekday evenings are very busy times for the area near the Chinese Theater, so consider mornings and weekday afternoons if you want a more peaceful experience. There are movie premieres and other events happening regularly on Hollywood Boulevard, so check ahead of time if you are interested in seeing a red-carpet spectacle with some celebrity sightings. Be aware of road closures beforehand so you know if you have to avoid driving on Hollywood Boulevard.
  3. Take a look around. A lot of visitors to the Walk of Fame spend much of their time staring at the stars on the ground, so they tend to miss some interesting sights at eye level. Some storefronts will make little nods to nearby stars. For example, Lynda Carter’s star may be near a poster of her in her signature role as Wonder Woman. There are also unique and historic buildings to see, such as The Egyptian Theater, the oldest movie theater in Hollywood, and the Capitol Records building.

4. If you’re trying to take a nice picture of the TCL Chinese Theatre or the Dolby Theatre, you may actually be better off taking it from the other side of the street, where you will have a better angle and much fewer crowds.Consider your transportation options. Some visitors may skip the hassle of parking near the Chinese Theater by using the Metro, which has a stop on Hollywood and Highland. Taking a taxi or rideshare may also save you a lot of time. If you are driving, consider parking on a side street a few blocks away from the Chinese theater. This will save you some money, allow you to see more of the Walk, and may even be time-neutral as you won’t be wasting time searching for a spot or waiting in traffic.

5. Be ready for solicitors. There are many people trying to make their living on the walk: people hawking ‘celebrity tours’, guys ‘offering’ CDs that they are actually selling, people dressed up as characters inviting you to take a picture for a tip. You are not obliged to pay any attention to them. If you choose to take interest in their goods or services, be prepared to pay.

6. Have Fun. It is easy to focus on The Walk of Fame being dirty, crowded and seedy, and if you do so it is easy to let that define your experience. But there are many enjoyable things to see and do, so temper your expectations and you will have a great and memorable experience in Hollywood.

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