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Los Angeles I

Los Angeles II

Transfer to Santa Monica
From Amtrak, Greyhound, & LAX

Tips for southern California visitors

Santa Monica makes an ideal base of operations for most travellers in southern California, but getting there without a car takes a bit of planning.

If possible, try to avoid arriving at the Los Angeles Amtrak Union Station or the Greyhound downtown Los Angeles terminal by bus or train late in the day or at night, so that you do not have to stay in this marginal area or have to use a very expensive taxi to reach Santa Monica.

If you must arrive in the late evening or at night, when public transportation does not operate frequently or even perhaps safely, you may may have to stay in downtown.

Do not walk around this area at night, and be cautious during the day, although walking the very short distance between the train station and hotel should be okay. If at all possible, however, try to avoid arriving at night.

Also, try to avoid really cheap hotels in this area.

You can also take the MTA Red Line underground train from Union Station to the Hollywood and Highland station.

This puts you within easy walking distance of hostels and hotels.

Learn more about these hotels and their areas on the Enjoying Los Angeles page.

Amtrak Union Station to Santa Monica - Santa Monica Hostel

Travellers going to Santa Monica from Amtrak Union Station downtown should first check out the Los Angeles State Historical Monument, across the street from the station. This was the site of the first European settlement in what is now Los Angeles, and it includes the first buildings in Los Angeles and little shops.

For a description of the Santa Monica Hostel, a great place to stay in a super southern California location near the beach, check out Enjoying Los Angeles, Part I.

Santa Monica Transit's Big Blue Bus route 10 offers the quickest transfer to Santa Monica from Union Station (across the street from the front entrance). Check out its Internet site for the schedules for Route 10.

Daily, the Metropolitan Transit Authority links by a slow but interesting route via Beverly Hills. From Union Station, take red line subway to Wilshire and Western. Then take any Wilshire bus marked "Santa Monica" westbound on Wilshire toward Santa Monica. Get off at Ocean Avenue. Those coaches marked "UCLA" do not go all the way.

Daytime service is super frequent.

The Downtown Greyhound Terminal to Santa Monica.

The area around the downtown Greyhound terminal is not completely safe at any time of the day or night, and avoid walking or using local bus transportation in this area is not recommended.

Use a taxi between the Los Angeles Greyhound and Amtrak Los Angeles Union Station or instal the Uber app and book a car and driver from your smart-phone. The latter lets you track the vehicle as it comes for you. It also tells you the price you will pay. I love it.

Once at Union Station follow the Union Station to Santa Monica directions above.

Because the Amtrak and Greyhound stations are fairly close together you should not expect a high fare. If will use a taxi get an estimate before getting in.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Santa Monica

For shuttle information from LAX to Santa Monica and other areas, see the "Getting Around" section of the Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau site, which includes an overview of transfer choices.

Otherwise, for a budget transfer check out the route 3 schedule of Santa Monica Transit's Big Blue Bus.

From in front of the arrival areas of the LAX terminal buildings, take the free transfer coach to "Parking Lot C", and then transfer to the Big Blue Bus. Get off at the Third Street Promenade in centre city Santa Monica (the driver will tell you), where you will find the Santa Monica Hostel and most hotels.

For fun things to do in the Santa Monica area, see Dr. Voyageur's "Enjoying Los Angeles, Part I."

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