Santa Monica Pier and the Original Muscle Beach

We took a break from Disney and headed to the Santa Monica Pier today. Unfortunately we picked a chilly overcast day, but the pier does not disappoint.

Nearly 120 years old, the Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909. Although, it is a romantic rendezvous now, that was not always the case. The Pier was originally built to transport sewage. It carried sewage 1600 feet beyond the water line. This provided less chance of it floating back to the beach. Soon after the pier was built it became a popular fishing spot.

Despite the sewage in 1916 Charles Loof decided it would be a magnificent place to build an amusement park to compete with other seaside beach towns. He built the Loof Hippodrome. It began with a carousel. Once the carousel was established as a success he added a fun house, some billiards, and a roller coaster. By the 1920s the city had redirected the sewage.


The pier was almost lost forever during a storm in 1983 when it was severely damaged. The community rallied around a new project to restore the pier and today the pier is alive with carnival rides & games, buskers, and merchants selling all sorts of wares. Believe it or not fisherman still fish here despite the loud party happening all along the pier.

Walk the boardwalk on the beach below and you will find the original Muscle Beach. A muscle beach is a beach where people hangout and workout. This beach was the birthplace of the physical fitness movement in the United States that started in the mid 30s. This park still serves as a place for people to get together to workout and practice gymnastics.

If gymnastics and acrobatics isn’t for you visits the adjacent Chess Park.

There is also a wooden and a paved boardwalk that runs along the beach. Fun for bicycling, walking, skating, or jogging.

There is also some great shopping down by the pier. If that’s your cup of tea.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    thank you for sharing this! I was just there and did not know all the history that you shared.

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