On Sunday, March 8th, the LA Marathon returns to Santa Monica for the 35th time. Every year, around 20,000 runners begin their 26.2 mile run at the Dodgers Stadium and continue through Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Century City before ending at the Santa Monica Pier. The LA Marathon brings thousands of runners and spectators to the beach every March. If you are planning to be in Santa Monica on Marathon Sunday, we have a few tips to help you enjoy your day, including navigation and parking suggestions:
Best way to get to Santa Monica during the LA Marathon
If you’re coming into Santa Monica on Marathon Sunday, we encourage you to park and take the Metro Expo Line in. The Metro Expo Line runs from 7th/Metro Center in downtown Los Angeles to the Downtown Santa Monica Station, located at 4th and Colorado Ave. The total trip takes approximately 46 minutes – a fast, economically, and environmentally-friendly alternative to the I-10 Santa Monica Freeway. Regular adult fare on the Metro is $1.75 and includes two hours of free transfers.
According to Metro, Expo Line service will run enhanced weekend service to help with the high demand of riders expected for Sunday morning. To walk to Pacific Park from the Downtown Santa Monica Expo Station, head west on Colorado Avenue along the esplanade, cross over Ocean Ave onto the Pier. It’s approximately a 10-minute walk from the station to the Park.
You can also take ride-share and get dropped off on either 4th and Pico or at Lot 4 South and proceed to walk, bike, or e-scooter to your destination. If your desire is to avoid traffic altogether, we recommend arriving after 1-2 p.m. once most of the streets have been cleared, traffic has gone down to its normal flow, and parking has returned to its standard pricing.
Already in Santa Monica? During the LA marathon, many streets are closed off and traffic patterns are altered to accommodate the marathon runners and spectators. The race officially ends at Ocean and California, but the route extends all the way to Colorado, so if you’re trying to move within Santa Monica, we suggest walking, ride sharing, or using a scooter to get to your destination. Public transit is also another option. A number of buses will be detoured, including the 534, 720, and 733 lines. For more bus and transit information, click here.
Freeway ramps closed during the LA Marathon
Freeway ramps will begin closing as early as midnight the night before. The closed ramps are:
Northbound 101 Freeway
• 3-9:50 a.m. — Spring Street off-ramp
• 3-10:05 a.m. — Grand Avenue off-ramp
• 3:55-11:18 a.m. — Gower Street (left turn lane)
• 3:55-11:40 a.m. — Hollywood Boulevard off-ramp
• 4-10:20 a.m. — Echo Park Avenue/Glendale Boulevard off-ramp
• 4 a.m.-noon — Highland Avenue off-ramp
Southbound 101 Freeway
• 3-10:05 a.m. — Broadway and Temple Street off-ramp
• 3:55-11:18 a.m. — Hollywood Boulevard off-ramp; right turn lane at Gower Street; right turn lane at Vine Street
• 4:05-11:44 a.m. — Highland Avenue off-ramp
Northbound 110 Freeway
• 3-9:35 a.m. — Hill Street; Stadium Way
• 3:10-9:42 a.m. — 110 northbound to 101 southbound Temple Street
Southbound 110 Freeway
• 3-9:35 a.m. — Hill Street; Stadium Way
• 3-9:20 a.m. — Sunset Boulevard
Southbound 405 Freeway
• 4:45 a.m.-2:20 p.m. – Santa Monica Boulevard (left lane)
• 4:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. — Wilshire Boulevard (east- and westbound)
Pacific Coast Highway
• 12:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Right turn lane of Ocean Avenue/Appian Way
Street closures in Santa Monica during the LA Marathon
Street closures in the City of Santa Monica can begin as early as 9:30 p.m. on March 7.
- Ocean Avenue between Montana Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard will be closed to both northbound and southbound traffic at 12 a.m., March 8.
- San Vicente Boulevard eastbound, between Ocean Avenue and 26th Street, will be closed at midnight.
Other downtown Santa Monica streets will close at 6 a.m. March 8. These include:
- Main Street between Pico Boulevard to Colorado Avenue
- Colorado Avenue between Fifth and Fourth streets
- Fourth Street closed in both directions between Colorado Avenue and Broadway (until noon)
- Southbound Second Street closed between Wilshire Boulevard and Colorado Avenue
- Northbound Fifth Street will have left turn restrictions between Colorado Avenue and Arizona Avenue.
For a complete list of all the street closures during the marathon, click here.
Where to park for the Santa Monica Pier on Marathon Sunday
During the LA marathon, many streets are closed and traffic patterns are altered to better move marathon runners and spectators to and from Ocean and Colorado where the race ends. If you are driving to Santa Monica to visit the beach or watch the end of the Marathon, we recommend you look into parking further east and taking the Metro in. There are three parking lots located along the expanded Expo Line, including Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, and 17th St./SMC. For more information, visit Metro.net.
Please note Santa Monica’s city lots will fill up quickly. Lot 1 North, the all day, beach-level lot on the north side of the Pier will increase parking fares on Marathon Sunday to $20 before 7 a.m. and $15 after. If you have to park near the beach, try parking a little further south in all day Lot 4 S and enjoy a 15-minute walk along Ocean Front Walk straight to the Pier. You’ll avoid all of the traffic congestion half a mile up north.
History of the LA Marathon
The Los Angeles Marathon takes place every spring. It began in 1986 after the summer Olympics were held in LA. Anyone is eligible to participate in the Marathon but must complete the course within 6.5 hours if they wish to receive an official time. The Marathon has seen several different course layouts since its inception, many of which started and ended in downtown LA. The current “Stadium to the Sea” course, which begins at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier, was unveiled in 2009 and has been a drawing point for runners worldwide.