We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Which Los Angeles hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Kenilworth, United...
2 posts
Save Topic
Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Hi all

I'll be arriving into Santa Monica next week for a couple of nights and have a trip to Universal Studios in mind but wanted some advice on the best way to get there.

I will be renting a car but I've heard some horror stories about LA traffic so wanted to know if there was any route between the two that wouldn't be gridlocked and end up taking hours for what should be a relatively short trip? I'll be going on a weekday morning.

Apologies if this has been dealt with elsewhere- I have had a look but couldn't find any threads giving driving directions specifically.

Thanks

Rob

Santa Monica, CA
Destination Expert
for Santa Monica
Level Contributor
16,338 posts
239 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Welcome to TripAdvisor ad the Los Angeles forum, Totallyrandom84. While there is some truth to our traffic, we manage just fine and you probably will, too. If you leave after 9:00 am, it's an easy drive. However, if you prefer mass transit, here are a couple of ideas for you to consider:

Transfer to Hollywood via bus, then take the red line to Universal from there. It's a way to combine both places, as Hollywood doesn't really take very long to experience for most people. Then, take a bus back to Santa Monica. Become familiar with metro.net, the LA transit website, or http://bigbluebus.com/ the Santa Monica bus line (more limited, local service than Metro, LA's transit service).

Starline Tours has hop on hop off buses (HOHO) https:/…santa-monica-tours.asp

The link takes you to the ones that depart from Santa Monica. Check each route to see if Universal or Hollywood and Highland are stops.

Finally, you can cab it, but that will be pricey.

www.taxifarefinder.com/main.php?city=LA

For driving directions, I check Google maps, but if it appears confusing, let us know. I find the routes to be convoluted at time. Don't be afraid to bring your map to the concierge of your hotel (or front desk), they can probably help you with plotting your route, too.

Edited: 15 June 2014, 16:57
Rancho Santa...
Level Contributor
7,008 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Avoid traveling during rush hour and you'll be fine.

The route I would recommend is:

1) 10 east

2) 405 north

3) 101 east

4) Exit Cahuenga Blvd.

5) Follow signs to Universal Studios.

HTH

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
30,394 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Hitch has got it right. Here's a map of the route: http://mapq.st/UDU6Xe

I trust you're aware that the drive from Santa Monica to Universal isn't really a 'relatively short trip'. In fact, it's one of the longer drives you'll make from Santa Monica. The link above shows the 'drive time' to be 30 minutes. That's quite optimistic. Even at 9:00, the drive will take closer to 40 minutes; then, you'll have to deal with traffic AT Universal. There will be a massive queue at the car parks so expect it to take AT LEAST 15 minutes to make it up to the admission booth where you'll pre-pay for parking. Then, expect another 20 minutes to enter the car park, drive up the ramps and down the aisles looking for parking and then make your way to the Park's entrance (on foot or via the tram that circulates through the parking areas).

So, let's look at what we've got:

40 minute drive

15 minute wait to park

20 minutes to find a space and transfer to the Park's entrance

Total 'transfer time': 1 hour, 15 minutes

See? It's not a 'relatively short drive'! And, if you plan to arrive at the Park's entrance 30 minutes before 'opening time' (advisable during peak summer season), you'll have to leave earlier and if you're driving on a weekday, add 30 more minutes of 'drive time' than above.

Kenilworth, United...
2 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Thanks for the tips. We're driving up from Santa Monica to San Francisco over a few days with a few stops along the way so for us the drive between Santa Monica and Universal is one of the shorter ones we'll be doing. Hence relatively short. Also I was looking for ways to minimise drive time between the two places so don't really count parts of the journey that you can't avoid, such as the time between the entrance and ticket booth and parking and then walking in.

We've got the front of line passes for the day so I'm not too bothered about getting up at the crack of dawn and being there before it opens. As long as we can park when we get there and do most things once we'll have a good time

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
30,394 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

Many others will have 'front of the line' passes as well so it's always a good idea to arrive early. If you're not too bothered about that, then you're armed and ready for your visit to Universal. Thanks for the clarification of 'relatively short'. In general, too many visitors are unaware of the size of our city.

6. Re: Getting from Santa Monica to Universal Studios

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 June 2015, 06:15