This 928 foot pier is located at the end of Manhattan Beach Boulevard in Manhattan Beach, California. It is the oldest standing concrete pier on the West Coast, and in 1995 was declared a state historic landmark. The gorgeous sunset views from this location make the pier a popular spot for artists, photographers, tourists, and locals alike.
Surfers frequent this area for the waves and can sometimes been seen weaving in and out of the mussel-covered pilings below the pier. This pier played a significant role in the history of surfing. It was a popular spot for Southern California surfers in the 1940s, the early days of modern surfing. Dale Velzy, the first commercial surfboard shaper, started his business building and repairing boards under the pier before renting a nearby storefront in 1949, starting what is considered the first surf shop.
An octagonal Mediterranean-style building sits at the end of the pier which houses the Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab & Aquarium. This free aquarium is host to classes, parties & camps. Inside you’ll find viewing and touch tanks, including a shark tank, tide pool touch tank with animals common to Southern California, lobsters, baby sharks, as well as brightly colored non-native fish and invertebrates.
In 1897, the Potencia Company was incorporated to develop land in the area and proposed a seaside resort with wharves and piers. Originally named Potencia, the city of Manhattan was not incorporated until 1912, with the word “Beach” was added in 1927.
A pier is believed to have been one of the first features built when the Manhattan Beach community was developed. Two wooden piers were built in 1901, one at Center Street (later renamed Manhattan Beach Boulevard) and one at Marine Avenue called Peck’s Pier and Pavilion.
The Center Street Pier was 900 feet long with pylons made by fastening three railroad rails together and driving them into the ocean floor. This “old iron pier,” as it was called, was destroyed by a major storm in 1913. Lack of money, lawsuits, storms, World War I and debates about when and where to build another pier delayed Manhattan Beach from having a pier completed until 1920. The pier went through a few design changes throughout the years, as well as some deterioration from age and storms, but a large restoration took place in the early 1990s with a focus on retention of the old time 1920s appearance.
Roundhouse Marine Studies Lab & Aquarium
2 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Labor Day to Memorial Day:
Mon-Fri: 2 PM – 5 PM
Sat-Sun: 9 AM – Sunset
Memorial Day to Labor Day:
Mon-Fri: 2 PM – 8 PM
Sat-Sun: 9 AM – 8 PM
The Roundhouse is FREE! However, your donations allow them to operate this wonderful facility. Donations of $2.00 per person and $5.00 per family are suggested.
Metered parking is available at the base of the pier for $1.25 per hour (bring quarters).