Ride the Metro Expo Line from Culver City to the LA Convention Center and Other Fun Spots

metro.jpgNew Yorkers, don’t laugh. San Franciscans, no snickering. Atlantans, give us some pity. We Angelinos don’t know what to do with our Metro line.  Is it a subway? Is it a train? CORN-fusing to natives addicted to our cars.

The time had come to embrace it.  If you’re a regular of Worth The Whisk, you know that we sold our home in Westwood as part of our downsize adventure. We then moved 10 miles south to a leased condo in Playa Vista to see if we liked the lifestyle here. The hard part behind us, time to explore.

Next door is Culver City, where the newest Metro line ends – Expo (called that because it follows Exposition Boulevard.) This portion is above ground, “train.” When it gets into downtown and starts going under the buildings, “subway.”  But, we Angelinos call it everything – subway, train, metro, expo.  (And, our bus system is also Metro, which adds to the confusion when researching how to actually travel on any part of it.)

WARNING, WARNING – attempting to use the Metro website to learn anything about this system is pretty futile. It is overly hyperlinked to excessive yet useless information.  See for yourself.  (e.g., their map online shows the Culver City station “future.” I added the Now Open here, for you, dear readers.)


Let me simplify for you (step by step instructions below)…

Expo is VERY good news for Trojan Larry — $3 round trip, park free in the roomy Culver City lot and take directly to the Coliseum. Or Galen Center. Or Staples Center. No fear of being boxed into a parking space. No stress racing out before a tidal wave of humanity getting into their cars.

IMG_7905So, what’s in it for Patti?  Well, when I received my press badge to the Los Angeles Times Travel Show, it was a perfect opp to get to the convention center efficiently and cheaply, and so far, the Metro feels pretty safe.

So, Westsiders, here is what to do.

  1. Drive, walk or bike to the Culver City Metro parking lot (CLICK HERE) where Culver Blvd. meets Venice Blvd.  It’s also flanked by National Blvd.  Surfas Restaurant Supply is right there. Invisible signage from the street, but if you look up, you see the elevated train.
  2. Park. Free.  You can take a bike onto the train.
  3. Go to the pay machine first.  You don’t have to do this every time, but you need a TAP card with money on it to pay your fare.
  4. Cash or credit card, buy a TAP card ($1, keep the refillable card) and put maybe $6.00 onto the card.
  5. A one-way fare, no transfers, is $1.50.
  6. You are legally “required” to TAP this post flanking the stairs to pay the fare. People ignore it VERY often and ride for free. However, on a recent trip, two sheriffs at the top of the stairs were checking TAP cards of every exiting rider. Seriously, folks, pay your fee.
  7. Go to the second floor platform via stairs or elevator to the waiting train. It only goes ONE WAY from Culver City, this is the end of the line.
  8. Every 12 to 15 minutes, the next train leaves.
  9. If you get motion sick, walk inside to the end of the train and find seats facing the direction you want.
  10. There are signs above your head that show you the stops, plus they announce each one. For the Convention Center, get off at Pico.
  11. Screw your head on straight and don’t just walk across any train tracks. Yes, those flashing red lights and clanging bells mean A TRAIN IS COMING. Don’t try to beat it, stupid.
  12. When ready to come back home, go to the same platform but READ THE TRAIN DESTINATIONS on the front of the train.  Pick Expo Culver City.  Other trains use the same track.
  13. I am not going to post train times because, my guess is, they change during seasons and different routes. For that, yes you have to drudge through the website.

Once you have this under your belt, or maybe even your first try, you can go lots of fun places. So far, we’ve taken the Metro from Culver City into Hollywood (exit at 7th and change to the Hollywood line) for the Pantages. You walk right out of the Metro station and it is RIGHT THERE.

We also took it to a Lakers game at Staples Center.  And, met up with friends at the California Club downtown for a glam dinner.

In the summer, while it will be a hefty hike, I want to take it to the Hollywood Bowl, exit at the Kodak theater and walk up Highland to the Bowl. We used to take the Westwood Park & Ride bus, which was convenient but a mad, somewhat stressful dash. There is no Flyaway option closer to Playa Vista than Westwood, might as well try the Metro. We are good walkers, at least once.

Another destination is Union Station.  Go for Chinese food in China Town. Or Philips French Dip sandwiches across the street.  Or Mexican food at Olvera Street. And, of course, catch trains to further exciting destinations – San Diego, San Francisco, Portland.

And, it would be fun to take the Metro to Pasadena, will see if I can get Larry to give that a try.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Worth The Whisk September 14, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Kyle, follow the directions backwards. The train goes both directions.

2 Kyle September 13, 2015 at 11:22 am

How would I get back from Downtown to Culver City? You mentioned that the train only goes one direction from Culver City.

3 Worth The Whisk February 2, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Hi Christine, I agree that the Metro website sucks. It is useless when it comes to planning. Get on at Culver City, the Expo train all the way to the end. That gets you to 7th street. You get off there and change to the line to Union Station (there are signs). That gets you right into the station. Unfortunately, I don’t know how long you can park in the Culver lot. And if you are traveling on the train at midnight, I wouldn’t recommend that AT ALL. Rethink this trip and use your car, I would suggest.

4 Christine January 27, 2015 at 2:20 pm

So if I were to hop onto the metro from Culver City…. where would I get off to switch over to get to union station? I’m terrified of public transportation and I am having trouble navigating on the web sites. I need to get to union station and get there from culver city…. so which stop would I get off of and which train would I take to go North and is there a stop off the metro right in front of union station, or should I be prepared to carry all of my stuff and walk a bit? Also… how many days can you park in the culver lot? Say…. if I leave on Friday night and return Sunday/monday Midnight?

5 Linda April 12, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Wish I’d found your site a bit earlier–we rode Metro once with an experienced friend, on the first day TAP cards were being introduced and he and Metro reps helped us with pay station. Trying to ride again tonight (Music Center) and made a trial run to the Culver City station to check out parking and load up TAP card. Could not find Day Pass option (under which subhead is this?) and ended up putting $10 each on our cards. We’ll be $1 over (est. 4 swipes RT), but sure would like to know how to navigate to what we really wanted! TIA for any tips!

6 http://www.youtube.com/user/PartyBusesRentalinla March 6, 2013 at 10:08 am

Good post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day.
It’s always interesting to read through articles from other authors and use something from other web sites.

7 Worth The Whisk March 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

Yup, Greg, at your station it is subway. Fun!

8 sippitysup March 2, 2013 at 8:58 am

We can walk to the Vine Street Station and regularly use the “subway” from Hollywood to Downtown for plays and restaurants because we don’t have to pay the $10.00 parking fees for lots in DTLA. I call it a “subway” because it’s underground. GREG

9 Worth The Whisk February 28, 2013 at 3:10 pm

Nancy, THANK YOU for the info. Probably a better option than Metro to the Hollywood Bowl, with or without running to the bus at the end.

10 Nancy Rose Eisman February 28, 2013 at 2:57 pm

There’s a shuttle to the Bowl from Westchester – Sepulveda/Manchester. And thanks for the inspiration to ride the rails.

11 Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious February 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Brilliant advice!

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