Summer Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier

Summer Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier

There’s something about L.A. in the summertime that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. You see, in day-to-day life, we Angelenos are really good at ignoring each other and sticking to our own little social cliques. Indeed, La La is not a land of welcoming locals, and I’ve had more than one out-of-towner transplant confide to me that L.A. is a tough city to adjust to if you move here without already knowing people or if you don’t at least make a real effort to make friends. As socializing goes in most big cities, you’re either in or you’re out.

Which brings me back to L.A. in the summertime when hotter than usual weather gives us all the more reason to soak up the outdoors more than our norm at outdoor movie festivals, urban garden theatre productions, concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and the like.

So on a Thursday evening a few weeks ago when Jave announced that he was taking me to an outdoor concert to see ¡Cubanismo! at the Santa Monica Pier, I was game. I usually don’t need any convincing to go to the beach, but add Afro-Cuban music to the mix, and I’m all over it.

Unfortunately, neither one of us was thinking straight that night as we forgot to bring food and beach chairs or even a blanket to sit on! So we spent most of the night walking around until we found a spot on a nearby wall where we perched ourselves as we talked, laughed, and watched folks working out on the beach. And of course, we enjoyed the music!

With so many people out, there were lots of police on hand. But perhaps because the environment was so kicked back, everyone seemed extra chill.


Beach parking
Beach parking
L.A. out in full force!
L.A. out in full force!

Although there are eateries along the pier, and although there were food vendors on top of the pier where the stage was set up, none of the available options were really appealing. So our grumbling bellies pulled us away from the concert before it was over, and we decided to treat ourselves to Churros Calientes, a restaurant I’d been wanting to try, a few miles away. Honestly, I went there expecting to only eat dessert (screw dinner!), but after realizing that the restaurant offers more than just churros, we opted for dinner followed by churros.

I ordered the Tortilla Española, not expecting it to be served sandwich-style; so I was kind of bummed about my meal. Jave, on the other hand, loved his Atun Escabeche and took the rest of his sandwich and mine home for his lunch the next day. On the other hand, the churros didn’t disappoint!

(l) My Tortilla Española; (r) Jave's Atun Escabeche
(l) My Tortilla Española; (r) Jave’s Atun Escabeche
The main attraction
The main attraction

Overall, the Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier are a fun, free way to spend a night with your friends or your boo. But more importantly, it’s refreshing to see Angelenos out together under the setting sun, enjoying the summertime vibes and good music together like an actual community…imagine that!

Plan Your Visit

*September 10 marks the last night of this summer’s free Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier. For more info and to check out the remaining lineup, click here.

*Be sure to arrive early to find street parking. I believe you can stop feeding the meters after 6pm in Santa Monica, but read the signs carefully (I’ve had my fair share of Santa Monica parking tickets).

*Remember, bring beach chairs and/or a blanket, and it doesn’t hurt to bring your own food.

IMG_4963 (edited)

IMG_4961 (edited)

This post is a part of Date Nights L.A., a series on the blog wherein I highlight local points of interest that Jave and I explore during some of our weekly date nights. In any relationship, it’s important to keep things fresh, and the same is true of my relationship with Los Angeles – my home, my friend, my nemesis, my love. So here’s to gaining a new, fresh perspective of L.A.!




Do you like summertime outdoor concerts? Is there a summer concert series wherever you live?

Comments 2

  1. Kemkem
    Aug 18, 2015

    Oh yeah..I used to like going to the free concerts at the beach, especially when l lived in Santa Monica. My best memory was seeing Afro Celt.. :-). The churro looked good. You’re so right about it being hard to make friends in L.A!!! Summer though makes everyone just a little bit nicer..

    • Dana Carmel
      Aug 24, 2015

      Summertime does have that effect on Angelenos. But fall/winter is right around the corner, and I hear that El Niño is going to be pretty bad this year…


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