Everyone knows the Santa Monica Pier, visable from Malibu  to Manhattan Beach.  It stands out along the coast as not only the point where the 10 begins, but where fun is had, old school.  The famous Ferris Wheel, cotton candy and games, its fun for all ages, day and night.   And in the summer on Thursday nights, it becomes a fun place for families and friends to come for some free, outdoor fun.

This year, July 2 through September 3 Santa Monica Pier is host to the Twilight Dance series (nothing to do with teen vampires,) now in it’s 25th year.  It’s a popular activity for people from throughout the city and a great time.  

Check out the Santa Monica Pier website for more info, although I will say this, it is an eclectic, talented bunch. Joan Baez played last week, and upcoming bands include Salsamuffin (and don’t even pretend you aren’t curious what a Salsamuffin is) and the Global Groves (Spain/France), Squirrel Nut Zippers (Big Band Fun and on this night free dance lessons starting at 6pm), Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited (Zimbabwe) and Lila Downs (Mexico).  The series ends with Patti Smith on September 3.  

Most people bring picnics (read: some food to help your consumption of wine and beer, which is not allowed by the way) and hang for a while.   It’s a place to bring a date, some family from in town, and/or a crew of friends, just make sure that they are up for the outdoors as evenings can get slightly chilly along the water, and the style of music.  I think Salsamuffin and SNZ is for everyone, but they may not. 

Starting at 7pm it’s good, free fun by the beach for all ages.

July 30  Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited (Zimbabwe)

August 6: Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women (Downey)

August 13: Idan Raichel Project (Israel)

August 20: Venice

August 27: Lila Downs (Oaxaca, Mexico)


September 3: An Evening with Patti Smith and her Band

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