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The New LA to Santa Monica Expo Line: Where to Stop

Published 30 March 2016

Angela Griffin

Angela Griffin

People like me who frequently find themselves driving around in circles, lost in Los Angeles’ maze of seemly identical palm-lined streets, can breathe a welcome sigh of relief, throw away that complicated road map and board the train instead. Travelling from LA to Santa Monica just got a whole lot easier with the announcement of a new metro line, known as the Expo Line, due to open in May 2016.

Not just for commuters, this new 15-mile connection will allow visitors to tour the City of Angels and its surrounding suburbs with ease, whisking you from LA to Santa Monica in just 46 minutes. And if you’re feeling a little more energetic, you can also cycle the route on the accompanying bike path.

Here’s our guide to the best stops along the route:

Downtown LA


If you like entertainment and glitzy parties, Pico is the stop for you. Serving Downtown Los Angeles, the station is just a short stroll from a number of events venues such as the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Staples Center and a wide choice of bars, restaurants, theatres, ballrooms and cinemas at the LA live complex. Why would you want to leave?

La Brea Tar Pits

Expo/La Brea

A more unusual stop, Expo/La Brea is the jumping off point for the famous La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. Here, among the pools of bitumen, you can swot up on your prehistoric history and learn all about the creatures that roamed these lands 11,000 years ago, which include the American mastodon, the sabre-toothed cat and the dire wolf, the skeletons of which have been found preserved in the asphalt.

Culver City at night

Culver City

Shopaholics and film-lovers rejoice! Culver City is home to MGM studios (now Sony Pictures Studios) and the retail haven of Westfield Culver City. After an exhausting day touring the film sets and numerous boutiques you might want to stay overnight. If so, try the 1920s-built Culver Hotel. Screen legends Clark Gable and Greta Garbo have checked in here and the building was once owned by John Wayne.

The new Westwood/Ranch Park Station

Image: Expo Line

Westwood/Rancho Park

If all those shiny LA cityscapes have got you hankering after a bit of greenery, hop off at Westwood/Rancho Park. Here the trees and open spaces of Rancho Park are a welcome respite from the skyscrapers and make for a peaceful people-watching spot, while the park is especially photogenic in autumn when the fall colours come out. Shoppers are in luck too, for the 150 stores of the Westside Pavilion and a 12-screen cinema are just around the corner.

The new Expo Line route

Image: Expo Line


Expo/Bundy is the jumping off point for the Grammy Museum, where you can learn all about the history of the Grammy Awards and their past winners. Or perhaps take a walk around Sammy Lee Square, named after the first Asian-American to win Olympic Gold for the USA in London in 1948 in the 10m diving event, a feat he then repeated in Helsinki in 1952.

Santa Monica Pier

Downtown Santa Monica

The final stop on the Expo Line, Downtown Santa Monica is ideal for exploring the fairground rides, aquarium, bars, restaurants and concert venues of Santa Monica pier. There’s a great beach here too, the perfect spot for lazing the days away on the soft sand. This is also the end (or for some the start) of the iconic Route 66 drive – don’t forget to pose for pictures by the sign.

The ‘End of the Trail’ Route 66 on Santa Monica Pier

Jump on board the Expo Line with Round the World Experts' Los Angeles Journeys range of tailor-made holidays, or chat to your Expert about adding a stay in Santa Monica into your itinerary.

You might also like:

The Ultimate Guide to Route 66

36 hours in Los Angeles

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