*once a week, every week, I embark on a new adventure to check off one of my many LA bucket list items. Follow along my journey being a tourist in my own town and get in on the action!*
Every Summer between July and September the Santa Monica is host to a series of free concerts held every Thursday right on the famed and beloved Santa Monica Pier. This year marks the 31st Twilight Concerts anniversary and with each coming year the love for this LA Summer tradition only seems to grow. Locals and tourists alike come from all over with picnic baskets, blankets, bikinis, volleyballs, and friendship in tow to freely enjoy a bit of fresh ocean breeze and some killer live music. Each week features a different artist from all types of genres including reggae, indie, classic rock, latin, and more. This year Billboard chart acts like Jefferson Starship, Ariel Pink, Morris Day + the Time, Tune Yards, and Ben Browning of Cut Copy are a part of the Summer lineup. As if the ticket prices didn’t already make the concerts totally worthwhile the Pier throws a bonus cherry on top by getting some of the best new/classic acts involved.
In my four years or so as an Angeleno I’ve tried my best to stay away from the Santa Monica Pier, especially during the high Summer month seasons when crowds on Ocean Avenue remind me how many people there are on our planet – it’s not one of my favorite things to think about. But, I’ve heard from so many friends, brave friends, who have been to the Pier for the Twilight Concerts that it’s one of those completely worthwhile LA traditions – and it’s a free one at that. I admit the thing I was most afraid of was event parking, but I soon determined that if you head out early and park a few blocks back (around 5th and Broadway for example) there are plenty of metered spots. AKA: no parking lot prices and obnoxious traffic jams. When you arrive for the concerts there is plenty to eat, a beer garden to enjoy a cold beverage, seating on the pier and even more seating on the beach directly adjacent. I personally did not picnic because there’s no booze on the beach (well… so they say) and sand in my food makes me sad, but I have to admit it sure looked like a totally fun option. If you’ve got a free Thursday evening coming up you’ve got 5 more chances to catch an awesome show at the Pier. Do it!
Where: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
When: Every Thursday night from 7 – 10 pm between July 9 – September 10
Tip: Come early (6ish is sufficient) if you’re picnicking to reserve a spot – either on the pier or in the sand
Bonus Tip: If you want to park close to the pier without the hassle you can actually reserve a spot before hand!