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.