Santa Monica, California Southern California leads the country in cool piers. Most started as cargo/passenger terminals.
The coastline provides few close-to-shore anchorages, so shippers built their own. From its start in 1916, the Santa Monica Pier has never bothered with practicality. It’s all about fun: an arcade, an amusement park, an aquarium, shops, restaurants, and a 1922-vintage carousel; 310-458-8901 or santamonicapier.org.
PHOTO: ANA FRANCISCONI / EYEEM / GETTY