santa monica directions

Directions to Santa Monica & Santa Monica Transportation

How Do You Get Around Santa Monica?

Santa Monica is located within the greater Los Angeles area, making access to the city easy by public transportation, air travel or car. See below to find directions to Santa Monica, California, as well as Santa Monica transportation information.

aiport near santa monica

Airports in the Area

Only eight non-freeway miles from Santa Monica, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the closest airport, and with direct bus service, shuttles and more, transportation from LAX to Santa Monica is easy to find. Rates for shuttles between LAX and Santa Monica start at approximately $18 per person one-way, or $40 – $60 round-trip per person, not including tip. Shuttles are located on the lower level of the airport.

For up-to-date information on the projects taking place at LAX, click here.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) | 8 mi / 13 km

Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) | 23 mi / 37 km

John Wayne Airport (SNA) | 52 mi / 83 km

Long Beach Airport (LGB) | 32 mi / 51 km

Ontario International Airport (ONT) | 56 mi / 90 km

Public Transportation in Santa Monica

Many public transportation services and routes have stops in Santa Monica, making access throughout Santa Monica and Greater Los Angeles easier than ever. See below for the most popular forms of public transportation in Santa Monica.

los angeles to santa monica
closest airport to santa monica

The Big Blue Bus in Santa Monica, CA

The Santa Monica Bus system is a great way to get around town. You can also take the Big Blue Bus from the Los Angeles airport (LAX) to Santa Monica, all with the Transit App on your phone or a simple TAP card you load with fare ahead of time. TAP cards can be loaded online at, in-person at a transit station or at The Transit Store on 4th Street in Santa Monica.

lax to santa monica shuttle

The Metro E Line

Santa Monica’s Metro E (Expo) Line makes getting around Santa Monica and Los Angeles quick and efficient, and you can also use your TAP card! You can take the E Line from Downtown Los Angeles all the way to Ocean Avenue to see the iconic Santa Monica Pier. There are three Santa Monica stops on the metro line:

  • 26th Street, near Bergamot Station
  • 17th Street, near Santa Monica College
  • Downtown Santa Monica, near Third Street Promenade


Schedule: Daily service from San Diego and San Francisco
Routes: Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited
Connections: Stop at Union Station, connection required (Light rail or Big Blue Bus)
Travel Time: Varies

Light Rail

Metro E (Expo) Line

Schedule: Daily service with operating hours varying from approximately 4:30 a.m. until just after midnight
Routes: E Line
Connections: Direct route from Downtown LA (Union Station) to Downtown Santa Monica
Travel Time: 46 min


Big Blue Bus

Schedule: Mon – Fri morning and afternoon (no midday or evening service
Routes: Rapid 10 (#10 Express)
Connections: Direct route from Downtown LA (Union Station) to Downtown Santa Monica
Travel Time: 45 min – 90 min


Greater Los Angeles is a large metropolitan area with heavy traffic levels at certain times of day. Numerous routes are available to reach Santa Monica, with the Interstate system (I-10 / I-5) and the Pacific Coast Highway (US-1) being the most popular routes.

Once in Santa Monica, directions and a downloadable app are available through the City of Santa Monica to help with navigation.

from lax to santa monica
direction to lax
Coming From:
Downtown LA

Main Road: I-10
Type: Interstate Highway
Avg. Travel Time: 20 – 45 min


Main Road: I-5
Type: Interstate Highway
Avg. Travel Time: 45 min – 1:15 hrs

San Diego

Main Road: I-5
Type: Interstate Highway
Avg. Travel Time: 2:00 – 2:30 hrs

Santa Barbara

Main Road: US-1
Type: Scenic Highway
Avg. Travel Time: 1:45 – 2:00 hrs


Main Road: US-1
Type: Scenic Highway
Avg. Travel Time: 30 min

Where to Park

Get real-time parking information for Santa Monica and learn more about Santa Monica parking, including beach parking, street meter parking and options for electric vehicles.

how far is santa monica from lax
Taxis and rideshare

Getting a Ride in Santa Monica

Taxi Cab Services

Santa Monica offers a number of franchised taxi companies available for your travel needs, all of which offer a flat rate fare from Santa Monica to LAX depending on your location in the city and not including tip (approximately 15% of fare). A $4 surcharge is levied on trips originating from LAX.


On-demand ridesharing companies, Lyft, Opoli and Uber, are available for transportation to Santa Monica and can pick-up at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), as well as transportation from Santa Monica to LAX when it’s time to go home. Fare estimates from LAX to Santa Monica may vary. To leave LAX with a rideshare-based app, head to the LAX-it lot next to terminal 1 via shuttle or a short walk.

Eco-friendly Transportation Options in Santa Monica

Biking in Santa Monica

Biking in Santa Monica is popular, fun and easy to do! There are bike trails, bike paths and multiple options for renting bikes while you visit Santa Monica.

Scooters in Santa Monica

Scootering in Santa Monica is a fun and convenient way of getting around town, and all it requires is downloading an app, entering payment, locating a scooter and safely enjoying the ride.

Walking in Santa Monica

Because Santa Monica is just about 8 square miles, walking is often the most efficient form of transportation within the city.

Santa Monica Circuit

Catching the Santa Monica Circuit is a great way to hitch a ride in the area between Wilshire Blvd. and Marine St. from the ocean to 5th St. This local shuttle service is 100% electric and inexpensive to ride with a download of their shuttle app. It’s also available for use at the Shutters on the Beach Hotel and Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites.


Discover Santa Monica

Explore itineraries, local tips, hot spots and curated adventures to make sure you get the most out of your Santa Monica experience.

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