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Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

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Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

Staying in Hollywood area this summer (Franklin Ave/Kodak Theatre) and obviously want to visit Santa Monica and Venice areas/beaches - really confused on the travel aspect. Hate driving abroad, and the info on driving in LA sounds terrifying!

Also seems taxis and public transport not advised time and money-wise. So, any advice out there? Budget not overly tight so for day trips to the beaches over the period taxi there and/or back isn't necessarily out of the question - any ideas how much, ball park?

Time-wise buses seem to be a problem. Have considered the hop on/hop off tourist buses which seem to be specifically geared to circling the main spots, inc the beaches.

All advice much appreciated!

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1. Re: Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

PS. Going with my son - he's 21. Any ideas on restaurants/bars/shops etc he'd enjoy? Loves mexican/sushi/pizza, music, and is a budding film maker (film studio VIP tours already booked!) so funky, urban or rock-fuelled, eclectic places would be great. Both into food, atmosphere and music big time. Would like to go to at least one high end restaurant.

Once again, all advice appreciated! :-]

Santa Monica...
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for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
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2. Re: Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

I highly advise renting a car, the beach is an hour away by car, double that on a bus. Driving here is extremely easy and parking is plentiful. Taxis are beyond expensive here.

For restaurants - are you asking about Santa Monica for dinner? You'll find live music at Harvell's, Casa del Mar's lobby (with excellent food and views), Dakota Lounge, Rusty's on the Pier (more touristy than locals, though), and The Pier on Thursday nights all summer (google Twilight Series Concerts). For eclectic scenes, just stroll up and down Main Street and take your pick of any bar! I also recommend The Otheroom on Abbot Kinney and The Brig.

Los Angeles
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3. Re: Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

The tour buses won't help you cut down on the transit time. To get to Santa Monica from Hollywood on the hop-on/hop-off tour, you need to use two of the hop-on-hop-off loops (the red loop and the yellow loop), each of which is about 2 hours round trip, so its 4 hours round trip to the beach this way. By public bus, once you're at Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave. which is the big bus hub near your hotel, you can do it in right around 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 hours each way. If you go via taxi, you're probably looking at 45-60 minutes each way, but the taxi fare is going to be around $45-50 each way.

West Hollywood...
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4. Re: Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

Hi, JM.

Welcome to the Forum. I'm not sure where you're getting all your info from but you might look at our TOP QUESTIONS BOX at the right side of this page and you'll be surprised how easy it is to transfer between Hollywood and Santa Monica.

Just to get you oriented, here's a 'driving map' from the Kodak Theater area (I'll use the corner of Hollywood Bl & Highland Av) to downtown (city centre) Santa Monica which is on the sea.


This shows one of many possible routes but what is nice about this route is that it's simple:

a. Drive south on Highland Av to Santa Monica Bl, then

b. Turn right onto Santa Monica Bl and drive it to the end. Easy!

The mapping program estimates the 'drive time' at 33 minutes. It's probably more like 40 minutes WITHOUT TRAFFIC and closer to 75 minutes WITH TRAFFIC. Hint: do not drive during 'high traffic' periods which is Mon-Fri between 6:00 and 9:00 or between 15:00 and 19:00.

Just before you reach the end of the route, you'll come to the corner of Santa Monica Bl & 2nd Street. If you turn right onto 2nd Street, you'll see a number of car parks there. Pick one (and remember it's number -- each is assigned a number!).

Driving has its advantages and disadvantages. It APPEARS to be quicker than public transit but when you include the time it takes to retrieve your car from your hotel's car park, the time it takes to make the drive and the time it takes to enter a local car park in Santa Monica, drive up the ramps looking for a space, then parking, and then making your way to the lift and back to the street, driving is not a big time saver -- and it's a lot more expensive than public transit.

The big advantage to driving is that you can explore in all directions with little limitation. So, if you wish to drive up the adjacent Pacific Coast Highway, admiring the views of the ocean and stopping to sightsee, you can't beat having a car. If, however, you plan to explore Santa Monica on foot (as many do), using public transit between Hollywood and Santa Monica is a valid option.

So, let's look at what that involves, time-wise: Our TOP QUESTIONS box at the right side of this page explains how to look up public transit routes by simply providing starting and ending points, time of day traveled and day of the week desired. Let's look at two weekday transfers (one, during 'rush hour' and one in the mid-to-late morning. Our 'rush hour' transfer -- originating at Hollywood & Highland at 8:00 and heading to the corner of Santa Monica Bl & Ocean Av -- would look like this (this is one of several possible routes. Note: Orange Drive is one block west of Highland Av):

1. Ride Metro Rapid #780 Bus [marked 'WASHINGTON/FAIRFAX TRANSIT HUB'] heading west

From: NE corner of HOLLYWOOD BLVD/ORANGE DR Leave: 08:03AM

To: SE corner of ELECTRIC DR/FAIRFAX AV Arrive: 08:33AM

Pay $1.50, or use your DAY PASS

2. Transfer to Metro Express Bus #534 [marked 'MALIBU - PCH-TRANCAS'] heading north

From: SE corner of FAIRFAX AV/ELECTRIC DR Leave: 08:41AM

To: SW corner of OCEAN AV/BROADWAY Arrive: 09:10AM

Pay $2.20 or use your DAY PASS plus $0.70


The bus ride takes 1 hour, 7 minutes -- about the same amount of time as driving on the above route. The reason that the bus is as fast as it is (even though it stops a number of times) is that part of the route is on the freeway (motorway) -- a route not recommended for all drivers during 'rush hour'.

Let's look at a departure of 9:30 a.m.: The same route is recommended but it takes 1 hour, 3 minutes. So, the bus will take about 20 minutes longer during 'non rush hour' periods than driving, but as previously mentioned, when you include the time it takes to park (and unpark) the car and to enter and exit the car park, the transfer time between the 2 options is about the same.

The cost is not, of course. If you buy a DAY PASS, it will cost $5 for each of you (plus a $1 'one time' charge for the reusable plastic TAP CARD onto which the DAY PASS is loaded). So, that's $6 apiece plus the 70-cent surcharge for the #534 bus, each way -- a total of $7.40 for a full day's transit (to as many destinations as you please -- including bus rides around the beach areas).

A car will, of course, cost more. Besides the car hire ($25+, per day), you'll probably have to pay to park it overnight at your hotel (between $10 and $20 per night), plus the cost of parking in Santa Monica (and anywhere else you park it) plus the cost of petrol.

A taxi will cost between $45 and $75 (depending on when you travel -- during 'rush hour' or not). So, you might consider taking public transit to the beach and a taxi for the return to Hollywood.

5. Re: Travel to Santa Monica/Venice

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