Finally, Historic Route 66 enters Santa Monica. Unlike many of L.A.'s suburbs, Santa Monica was always an independent city in its own right, having established itself as a resort town in the early 1900s.
Today, it's still popular with tourists, as well as being a skateboarding mecca, both on the Three Street Promenade, a three block-long pedestrian mall filled with shops, and on the beaches, which connect all up and down the coast.
Route 66 follows Santa Monica Boulevard almost to the ocean; technically, the road veers south for a few blocks on 4th Avenue before turning west again onto Lincoln for the final few blocks.
During the final years of Route 66, it angled south on 4th Street to Lincoln, where it turned west for the final push to Santa Monica Pier.
The world-famous Santa Monica Pier was built in 1909. The amusement park on it, called Pacific Park, was added mostly in the 1920s. The Looff Hippodrome went up in 1916 and contains the famous Carousel. There are tons of other gift shops, restaurants, and assorted things to do and see on the Pier, and the walkway under the Pier along the beaches also offer a variety of shops, bars and opportunities to watch those who skateboard or roller blade for a living do their stuff.
Now we reach the end of Route 66, After 2,400 miles or so, Historic Route 66 ends on the Santa Monica Pier. A commemorative sign was put up fairly recently and yes, it's a magnet for photographers, tourists, and gift shops.
Celebrate finishing Route 66 at Big Dean's "Muscle In" Café. With roots going back to 1902 when it opened as Laring's Lunch Room, Big Dean's is a Santa Monica institution. And besides, you're done driving for a little while.
Although Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue were never the official endpoint for Route 66, a plaque commemorating this western end of the Mother Road can be spotted in the grass along the walkway on Ocean, right at the intersection where Santa Monica Boulevard ends.
All that driving – from Chicago through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, and across the California desert down to Santa Monica and its world-famous Pier. You've covered over 2,000 miles, spanning much of the United States on the Mother Road.
Now, how are you getting back? Maybe there's a redeye.
|Best Western PLUS Gateway Hotel Santa Monica
1920 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404-1909