Do you think that Santa Monica Pier is only a summer destination? Think again. Santa Monica Pier is one of the most iconic and popular landmarks in Los Angeles, California, and it offers plenty of fun and entertainment all year round. In winter, Santa Monica Pier becomes a festive and cozy place, where you can enjoy the mild weather, the ocean views, and the holiday spirit. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo adventure, Santa Monica Pier has something for you.
You will learn why you should visit Santa Monica Pier in winter, how to get there, where to stay, and what to do. You will discover that Santa Monica Pier is a fun and affordable destination for winter travel.
Why You Should Visit Santa Monica Pier in Winter
There are many benefits of visiting Santa Monica Pier in winter. Here are some of them:
- Fewer crowds: Winter is the least busy season in Santa Monica Pier, which means you can enjoy the pier without having to deal with long lines, crowded attractions, or noisy visitors. You will have more space and time to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the pier.
- Lower prices: Winter is also the cheapest season to visit Santa Monica Pier, as you can find lower rates for accommodation, transportation, and pier fees.
- Stunning scenery: Winter is arguably the most beautiful season to visit Santa Monica Pier, as the weather is mild and sunny, the ocean is calm and blue, and the pier is decorated with lights and ornaments. The sunsets and sunrises are also more vivid and dramatic in winter, as the low angle of the sun creates long shadows and soft light. The pier is a great place to take photos or just admire the view.
The weather and climate of Santa Monica Pier in winter are pleasant and comfortable. The average temperature is around 60°F (16°C), but it can vary from 50°F (10°C) to 70°F (21°C) depending on the day. Average precipitation is about 3 inches (76 mm), mostly in the form of rain. The average sunshine is about 7 hours per day.
Tips and Precautions for Visiting Santa Monica Pier in winter:
If you decide to visit Santa Monica Pier in winter, you should be prepared for the weather and possible road closures. Here are some tips and precautions for visiting Santa Monica Pier in winter:
- Dress warmly: You should wear layers of clothing that can keep you warm and dry. You should also wear a hat, gloves, scarf, and shoes. You should avoid cotton fabrics that can absorb moisture and make you colder.
- Check road conditions: You should check the road conditions before you go to Santa Monica Pier, as some roads may be closed or inaccessible due to rain or snow. You can check the Caltrans website or call 511 for updated information. You should also have a map and a compass in case you get lost or stranded.
- Carry emergency supplies: You should carry some emergency supplies in your car and backpack, such as water, food, blankets, a flashlight, a first aid kit, a shovel, tire chains, jumper cables, and a cell phone.
How to Get to Santa Monica Pier in Winter
There are several options for traveling to Santa Monica Pier by car, bus, train, or plane. Here are some of them:
- By car: Driving is the most convenient and flexible way to get to Santa Monica Pier, as you can explore the city and the surrounding areas at your own pace. You can drive to Santa Monica Pier from several nearby cities or airports, such as Los Angeles (15 miles), Long Beach (30 miles), Anaheim (40 miles), or Burbank (25 miles). You should follow the Interstate 10 westbound until you reach the 4th/5th Street exit. Then you should turn right onto 4th Street and left onto Colorado Avenue. Finally, you should follow the signs to the pier entrance.
- By bus: Taking a bus is another option for getting to Santa Monica Pier, especially if you don’t have a car or prefer not to drive. Several bus companies offer services to Santa Monica Pier from nearby cities or airports, such as Metro, Big Blue Bus, LAX FlyAway, or FlixBus.
- By train: Taking a train is also a possible way to get to Santa Monica Pier, especially if you want to avoid traffic and enjoy the scenery. Several train companies offer services to Santa Monica Pier from nearby cities or airports, such as Amtrak, Metrolink, or Expo Line.
- By plane: Flying is the fastest but most expensive way to get to Santa Monica Pier. There are no commercial airports near Santa Monica Pier, so you will have to fly to one of the major airports in the region, such as Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Long Beach Airport (LGB), John Wayne Airport (SNA), and Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR). Then you will have to rent a car or take a bus or a train to reach the pier.
Where to Stay near Santa Monica Pier in Winter
There are several options for accommodation near Santa Monica Pier, such as hotels, motels, hostels, or Airbnb. Here are some of them:
- Hotels: Several hotels near Santa Monica Pier offer comfortable rooms, amenities, and services. Some of the most popular ones are Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, Shore Hotel, and Ocean View Hotel. You should book your room in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly in winter.
- Motels: Several motels near Santa Monica Pier offer basic rooms, facilities, and rates. Some of the most common ones are the Sea Shore Motel, Ocean Park Inn, and Gateway Hotel. You should check their availability and reviews before you make your reservation.
- Hostels: Some hostels near Santa Monica Pier offer cheap and cheerful accommodation. Some of the most friendly ones are HI Los Angeles – Santa Monica Hostel, Ocean Park Hotel, or PodShare Venice. You should book your bed in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly in winter.
- Airbnb: Some Airbnb options near Santa Monica Pier offer cozy and unique accommodations. Some of the most charming ones are Beachfront Studio on the Pier, Ocean View Penthouse, and Santa Monica Beach House.
What to Do at Santa Monica Pier in Winter
There are many things to do at Santa Monica Pier in winter, depending on your preferences and abilities. Here are some of the best activities and attractions at Santa Monica Pier in winter:
- Riding the Ferris wheel: Riding the Ferris wheel is one of the most iconic and fun things to do at Santa Monica Pier. The Ferris wheel is part of Pacific Park, a small amusement park on the pier that also features a roller coaster, a carousel, and other rides. The Ferris wheel offers a panoramic view of the ocean, the beach, and the city. The fee is $10 per person per ride.
- Playing arcade games: Playing arcade games is another fun and nostalgic thing to do at Santa Monica Pier. The pier has several arcades that offer a variety of games, such as pinball, skeeball, air hockey, or video games. You can also win prizes by playing games of skill or chance. The fee varies depending on the game.
- Watching street performers: Watching street performers is another entertaining and free thing to do at Santa Monica Pier. The pier has a lively and diverse scene of street performers, such as musicians, dancers, magicians, acrobats, and comedians. You can enjoy their shows and tips from them if you like them.
- Shopping at the pier shops: Shopping at the pier shops is another enjoyable and convenient thing to do at Santa Monica Pier. The pier has several shops that sell souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, art, and snacks.
- Eating at the Pier restaurants: Eating at the Pier restaurants is another delicious and satisfying thing to do at Santa Monica Pier. The pier has several restaurants that offer a variety of cuisines, such as seafood, pizza, burgers, or ice cream. You can also enjoy the views of the ocean and the pier while you eat.
Events and Festivals at Santa Monica Pier:
Santa Monica Pier in winter is also a festive and cozy place, where you can enjoy some special events and festivals that take place at Santa Monica Pier in winter. Here are some of them:
- Winterlit (November-January): Winterlit is a seasonal celebration that transforms downtown Santa Monica into a winter wonderland. You can enjoy activities such as ice skating, tree lighting, holiday markets, or live music.
- Ice at Santa Monica (November-January): Ice at Santa Monica is an outdoor ice skating rink that opens every winter near Santa Monica Pier. You can skate on real ice under the sun or the stars. The fee is $15 per person per hour, including skate rental.
- LA County Holiday Celebration (December 24): The LA County Holiday Celebration is an annual event that features performances by local artists and groups from various cultures and genres. You can watch the show live at The Music Center on TV or online.
Santa Monica Pier is a fun and affordable destination for winter travel. You can enjoy the pier’s beauty and tranquility without having to deal with crowds or high prices. You can also experience the pier’s activities and attractions that are suitable for all ages and abilities. Learn about the pier’s facts and features that are interesting and inspiring.
If you are looking for a place to visit in winter that will make you feel happy and relaxed, you should consider Santa Monica Pier. You will not regret it.
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