The Weekender: Santa Monica Pier

As a New Yorker, I am perpetually envious of southern Californians who get to enjoy beautiful weather all year round. Yes, I enjoy the feeling of moving into another season a few times each year, but sometimes I wish we had the luxury to visit the beach on a whim without worrying about freezing temperatures. Santa Monica Pier, to me, is the image of California I’ve been fed by television shows and movies all my life. An expansive beach with crashing waves, surfers, carnival rides, skateboarders, and immaculately tan and fit residents everywhere.

The downside that is not often shown on TV is, of course, the crazy amount of traffic surrounding the pier. This is a helpful guide to all the public lots around the area, but they were completely full over Labor Day weekend (not surprisingly). We ended up parking all the way out on Lincoln Blvd and walked to the beach. Look, for able-bodied people, if the weather’s nice enough to head to the beach, it’s nice enough to walk the extra distance. We did not want to spend more than $20 on parking.

There is a paved walkway towards the back of the beach for anyone who don’t want their feet in the sand (I believe Tie was wearing sneakers). Bikers, skateboarders, and pedestrians share the road so just be on alert. I could almost hear a Beach Boys tune in my head. Santa Monica Pier isn’t only for beach bums, though. As we walked closer to the carnival rides, to our right we saw many people working out on the public gym equipment. I have never felt more out of shape, haha. I wonder if we’d be more inclined to stay fit if we lived out here? Even the youngest kids and the oldest grandpas were in great shape.

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The amusement park rides looked kinda lame so we didn’t go on any of them. It’s typical carnival fare once you get there: funnel cakes, penny pressing machines, games designed to rip you off, and street performers. There were so many people that the pier gets chaotic, but it does have a great view of the beach down below. We just enjoyed the crashing of the waves and the light breeze on that hot summer day while taking in the smell of the fishing dock. I’ve never watched The O.C. before, but I imagine this is a view for the title credits.

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