The last or first three stops of the Expo Line reside in Santa Monica depending on which end you start from.
Visitors riding the Expo Line to the very end, finding themselves at the Santa Monica beach while locals are starting here but either way, you can take a day of your weekend and hop onto the Expo to explore the Pier, the food and the countless number of activities.
Whether your day involves walking, biking, or taking the Big Blue Bus around Santa Monica the city adventures are endless.
Walk through the Creative Masterpiece
Traveling west, your first stop in Santa Monica is at 26th and Bergamot, the creative, artsy destination otherwise known as Santa Monica Bergamot Station.
The Bergamot Station is a gallery complex located at 2525 Michigan Ave dating back to 1875, back when the it was a stop for the Red Line Trolley.
The modern and rustic look captures your eye immediately leading you to walk into one of the 40 art galleries around. Make sure to stop by William Turner Gallery if you want to experience contemporary art, or stroll through the BG gallery to feel the authenticity of around town paintings.
When it comes time for a bite, the Bergamot café offers fresh morning pastries along with warm, toasted hickory smoked ham and Swiss sandwiches. You can enjoy a meal on their terrace in the middle of the Arts Center or you can jump back onto the Expo and head down to the 17th and SMC stop.
The station is located a mile from the Santa Monica College and around the corner from the 18th Street Arts Center, the longest running artist residency center in Southern California. It’s also close to several food options.
To quench your thirst make your way over to the 18th St Coffee House offering a range of coffees, from sweet and savory to organic and tasty. (1725 Broadway)
Hungry for a hearty Mexican dish, whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner, Tacos Por Favor offers burritos, enchiladas and the asada torta. (1406 Olympic Blvd)
Feeling more of a Korean cuisine, head south from the Expo toward the Garden Barbeque. The restaurant is a hole in the wall, close to Santa Monica College offering large portions, and the popular BBQ beef and chicken plates. (1707 Pico Blvd)
If you are craving to try a new brew, work your way to the Santa Monica Brew Works. Santa Monica’s only brewery in town, serving five favorites on tap, WIT, XPA, PCH, 310, and IPA. (1920 Colorado Ave)
Take a detour in your trip to head to Memorial Park. A park offering a baseball field, tennis courts, a basketball gym to shoot some hoops along with a dog park. Particularly known for the 20,000 square foot skate park, The Cove. (1401 Olympic Blvd)
Jumping back onto the expo, and make the one last final stop, the Downtown station.
The Heart and Gem of Santa Monica
It has been more than 60 years since a rail has made the 45-minute trip from Downtown to Santa Monica.
The station is located next to the Santa Monica Place, a five-minute walk to the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park, Santa Monica Civic Center and the Promenade.
The Promenade is known internationally for its shopping but there are some interesting entertainment options on the street. Enjoy some live comedy performances at at the Promenade Playhouse (www.promenadeplayhouse.com), 1404 3rd Street Promenade or M.i. Westside Comedy Theater (http://westsidecomedy.com), 1323-A 3rd St.
Just a few steps off the bustling Promenade is Magicopolis, a 150 seat theater hosting a live magic performances Friday, Saturday and Sunday (http://magicopolis.com)
The Downtown stop has various activities and even longtime locals can enjoy a trip to the Santa Monica Aquarium (www.healthebay.org/aquarium). Touch a sea urchin, learn about the sea life and the Santa Monica Bay. Kids 12 and under get in free and adults are only $5 per person. (1600 Ocean Front Walk)
Across the street from the Expo station is The Leaf & Petal Co. offering interior, exterior, and organic flowers. (302 Colorado Ave). The store has options for interior/exterior decorating and there’s nothing wrong with taking home a cactus as a souvenir given Santa Monica’s natural climate is more arid than people realize.
The Expo Line now has 19 stations covering 15.2 miles between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. A regular one-way fare is $1.75 and includes two hours of free transfers for riders using a TAP card. A daily pass good for unlimited rides on Metro is $7 and monthly passes are $100. Visit taptogo.net for more information.
By Marina Andalon