In Santa Monica, just south of the pier, is the Original Muscle Beach, full of gymnast rings, high bars, monkey bars, rails, ropes for climbing, and so forth. The entire area is colloquially just referred to as “the rings” because often times the most spectacular performances can be seen on them, especially on the weekends. It’s literally a free, open playground on the sand where you could very get creative in the way you work out your body. I call it an adults playground, because it really is one and feels that way. It’s not like going inside a gym and working on machines. You have to figure out how to workout your body by being a little creative. Oftentimes I’ll see somebody doing something interesting and I’ll copy them and try to do the same.
Check out the video below to get a feel for what the day is like
In this video below you’ll see a woman swinging on the traveling rings, and then people walking on slack-lines (which people setup voluntarily), hooping, climbing rope and so forth. The video ends with a quick glimpse of the Santa Monica pier with the Ferris Wheel in the distance.
What makes this spot truly awesome are the people that regularly attend the place. It’s like a niche community. You’ll start to notice that the same people keep showing up, and they’re VERY NICE PEOPLE. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions, it’s very rare that someone is an asshole, because I think everyone understands that we ALL didn’t know what we were doing the first time as well, so they are likely to be very helpful if you’re eager to learn. That reason alone, makes the rings one of my favorite places in LA. It’s really a gem. I wish I discovered it earlier in my life.
^ That’s my [upside down] brother! ^
Where is this place?
This google map shows the location of both the large and junior traveling rings.
Where should I park?
For a 10 minute walk away, 4th and Bay Street has completely free, unrestricted parking. Read the signs. Google 4th and Bay St. Some of the side streets there have free parking too.
If you’re going to be there after 6pm (when DST allows for long days), go park on Main Street, between Pico and Colorado. Or on Ocean Ave, between Pico and Colorado. Both of them are a less than 5 minute walk to the rings.
There’s also parking by the pier, which is expensive $7–12 for a full day, but it’s not a big deal if you’re carpooling and want to be there all day and want convenience I guess.
Want to try the traveling rings?
I do too! It just looks so god damn COOL. And guess what, it really IS awesome, but just like all acrobatic/gymnastic things, it requires practice to build up the strength and muscle memory. Check out this article I wrote up on how to use the traveling rings!