Malibu to Los Angeles: Complete Routes & Transportation Guide

Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu to Los Angeles

Malibu to Los Angeles: Complete Routes & Transportation Guide

Welcome to the scenic journey from Malibu to Los Angeles! Both destinations are jewels of Southern California in United States, offering a plethora of attractions. If you’ve ever felt lost and confused about how to approach your trip, we’re here to show you the easiest routes and share the cool stuff you shouldn’t miss. Our guide keeps it simple; we will guide you through the best options and routes to travel between these two captivating locations.

Best Ways to Travel from Malibu to Los Angeles:

A. By Road:

If you’re a fan of flexibility and amazing views, the road is your canvas. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as California State Route 1, offers an iconic coastal drive. With the waves of the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Monica Mountains on the other, the PCH provides an unparalleled visual feast. You’ll pass by Malibu’s pristine beaches and beautiful vistas before reaching Los Angeles.

Malibu to LA Distance in Map
Malibu to LA Distance in Map


  • Spectacular panoramic views
  • Opportunities for stops at picturesque beaches
  • Freedom to set your own pace


  • Potential for traffic, especially during peak hours
  • Parking can be a challenge in Los Angeles

B. Malibu to Los Angeles Metro:

If you prefer a more eco-friendly and cost-effective option, public transportation is your friend. The Metro’s Expo Line connects Santa Monica (near Malibu) to downtown Los Angeles. It’s an efficient way to avoid traffic and parking hassles.


  • Eco-friendly and affordable
  • No worries about parking
  • Minimal stress from traffic


  • Limited scenic views compared to a road trip
  • Schedules may not be as flexible

C. Best Alternative:

For those seeking a unique experience, you can also consider taking a combination of both the transportation modes. You can first drive from Malibu to a nearby Metro station and then take public transportation into Los Angeles. This way, you get the best of both worlds – the scenic drive and the convenience of public transport.

D. Malibu to Los Angeles by Bus & Tram:

Traveling from Malibu CA to Los Angeles CA by bus is a convenient option. Several bus services operate in the area like line 134 bus, offering a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to commute. You can explore options like Metro Bus, which provides regular services connecting Malibu Beach to various parts of Los Angeles. Another choice is the LADOT Commuter Express, offering comfortable and affordable rides with multiple stops in both Malibu and Los Angeles. Additionally, private bus companies may offer express routes for a quicker journey.

E. Recommendation

The best travel option depends on your preferences and convenience. If you’re not in a rush and want to savor the stunning coastal views, a road trip along the PCH is the way to go. On the other hand, if you value efficiency and need to avoid congested routes, the Metro’s Expo Line is a wise preference.

So, whether you’re a nature’s enthusiast or a city lover, the journey from Malibu City to Los Angeles have something to offer everyone. Pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to create lasting memories on this fantastic voyage.

Malibu to Los Angeles Drive:

A. The Beauty of Coastal Drive

Planning a drive from Malibu to Los Angeles? Great choice! Many prefer driving over the METRO because of the plentiful attractions along the way. The trip is short, the driving distance is just 29.2 miles (47 km), and takes around 40 minutes in regular traffic.

Malibu to Los Angeles by Road View
Malibu to Los Angeles by Road View

As you cruise along, get ready for a nature show! The route from Malibu to Los Angeles offers stunning views, picturesque mountains, and even cool sea caves. It’s a short adventure with a big dose of beauty!

B. Suggested Scenic Routes

Besides the PCH, there are other cool roads to try for a pretty drive. The Mulholland Highway, going through the Santa Monica Mountains, shows off the area’s rough beauty. If you want a shorter but still nice route, the Topanga Canyon Boulevard has green trees and twisty roads. All these roads promise a fun trip from Malibu to Los Angeles.

C. Noteworthy Viewpoints and Places of Interest

Along the way, explore cool stops like Redondo Beach, Santa Clarita, Long Beach, Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach, Pasadena, and Santa Monica. Don’t miss out on must-visit beautiful spots such as Santa Monica State Beach, Santa Monica Pier, the ever-popular Santa Monica Bay, and other gems like Point Dume State Beach in Malibu with its dramatic cliffs, Leo Carrillo State Park known for sea caves and tide pools, and the artistic community of Venice Beach. These are just a few of the many gems waiting to be discovered on your journey.

Malibu Attractions

A. Iconic Attractions in Malibu

Before you start your day trip to Los Angeles, check out some cool stuff in Malibu. The RMS Queen Mary, an old ship in Long Beach, is a must-see. It’s got a lot of history and you can explore it with tours and exhibits. Malibu Seafood is another place you shouldn’t miss. It’s a seafood restaurant that people really like, and they serve the freshest catch of the day. It gives you a true local experience.

B. Tips for Visiting Attractions

When visiting the RMS Queen Mary, check their website for the latest information on opening hours and ticket prices. Additionally, they often host special events, so keep an eye out for those. Malibu Seafood is typically open for lunch and dinner; consider going during less busy times to avoid waiting in line. The prices are reasonable for the quality of seafood you’ll enjoy.

C. Malibu Lagoon Museum:

Drive about 40 miles from Los Angeles to the Malibu Lagoon Museum, taking approximately 1 hour. Enjoy a scenic journey along the Pacific Coast Highway to explore local history by the beach.

D. Malibu Bluffs Park:

Just a short 30-mile drive from Los Angeles, Malibu Bluffs Park is about 45 minutes away. Take in breathtaking ocean views, go for a walk, or have a picnic in this easily accessible and picturesque location.

E. Malibu Legacy Park:

Escape about 35 miles from Los Angeles to Malibu Legacy Park, taking around 50 minutes. This serene spot offers nature walks, providing a peaceful day out within a reasonable driving distance.

Topanga Canyon

A. The Natural Beauty and Alternative Community

Nestled between the Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga Canyon is a hidden gem along the route from Malibu to Los Angeles. This stunning canyon boasts natural beauty and is known for its alternative and artistic community. The lush landscapes and rugged terrain make it a picturesque detour from the main journey. There is another canyon nearby called Malibu Canyon, but it is not yet developed.

Topanga Canyon Road View
Topanga Canyon Road View

B. Los Angeles to Malibu Beach:

Getting from Los Angeles to Malibu Beach is easy for those living in the city or visiting. The two places are only 23 miles apart, so it’s a short distance. The quickest and most common way to go from Los Angeles to Malibu Beach is by car, and it takes less than 40 minutes.

C. Attractions in Topanga Canyon

One of the prominent attractions in Topanga Canyon is the Theatricum Botanicum. This outdoor theater nestled in the heart of the canyon offers a unique cultural experience. It’s renowned for its Shakespearean performances and a setting that feels like an enchanted forest. Moreover, the wild spaces within the canyon are perfect for hiking and exploring, with various trails that lead to breathtaking vistas.

D. Suggest Exploring Topanga Canyon as a Detour

As your journey from Malibu to Los Angeles starts, consider taking a detour into Topanga Canyon. The serene environment and natural beauty provides a break from the road. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an art lover, or genuinely in search of an alternative experience, Topanga Canyon has something to offer for everyone.

Getty Villa

A. The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa

The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa is a cultural gem tucked away on the Malibu coast. It houses an extensive collection of world-famous antiquities, particularly focusing on Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art and culture. The architecture of the Getty Villa is inspired by ancient Roman villas, offering an immersive experience that transports visitors back in time.

B. Significance in Art and Culture

The Getty Villa holds immense significance in the world of art and culture. It serves as a window into the classical civilizations of Greece and Rome. The art and artifacts on display not only educate but also inspire visitors with the beauty and ingenuity of these ancient cultures. It’s a place where history comes to life, and art finds its eternal relevance.

C. Admission and Parking Reservations

To visit the Getty Villa, it’s essential to make advanced reservations for both parking and admission. This makes a smooth and hassle-free journey. The villa often conducts special exhibitions and events, so be sure to check their website for the recent information on the hours of operation and any temporary closings.

The Getty Villa is a unique destination that combines art, culture, and history, making it a must-visit tourist attraction on your journey from Malibu to Los Angeles.

Routes from Malibu to Los Angeles

A. Detailing the Routes and Roads

As you leave the serene beauty of Malibu behind and head towards the vibrant heart of Los Angeles, you’ll have multiple routes to choose from. The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and the US-101 South are two primary options. Each route offers its own unique experience, whether you prefer coastal vistas or a quicker, more direct path to the city.

B. Insights into Traffic Conditions

Keep in mind that Los Angeles is known for its traffic, especially during rush hours. Traffic can be a challenge, so consider starting your journey early or later in the day to avoid congestion. Real-time traffic apps and navigation tools can be invaluable to stay updated on conditions along your chosen route.

C. Landmarks and Transition Points

As you approach Los Angeles, landmarks like the iconic Santa Monica Pier or the gleaming skyscrapers of downtown will become visible. These are exciting transition points that signify your arrival in the city of angels. The view of Los Angeles sprawling before you is a memorable sight, marking the end of your journey from Malibu.

Arrival in Los Angeles

A. Arrival Points in Los Angeles

Upon your arrival in Los Angeles, you have numerous options for where to start your exploration. Whether it’s downtown, Santa Monica, Hollywood, or any other area, Los Angeles offers a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and attractions.

B. Suggested Nearby Attractions

Consider exploring nearby attractions or activities as soon as you arrive. In Santa Monica, the vibrant Third Street Promenade is perfect for shopping and dining. If you arrive downtown, don’t miss the historic Olvera Street and its Mexican marketplace. For Hollywood enthusiasts, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the TCL Chinese Theatre are must-visit landmarks.

C. Tips for Finding Accommodations

If you plan to stay overnight in Los Angeles, finding accommodations in advance is a wise choice. Los Angeles offers a wide range of options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Be sure to book your accommodations early, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure the best deals and locations.


In short, going from Malibu to Los Angeles is like a mix of nature, culture, and city fun. Whether you pick the pretty coastal drive or the faster US-101, there’s something for everyone. We say, go feel the change from Malibu’s beauty to the lively vibes of Los Angeles. It’s not just a ride; it’s a chance to see all the cool stuff Southern California has. So, grab your bags and start this awesome adventure from Malibu to Los Angeles!

FAQs about Malibu to Los Angeles Travel:

What is the distance from Los Angeles to Malibu?

The distance from Los Angeles to Malibu is approximately 23 miles.

How far apart are Malibu and LA? (Answer in kms)

Malibu and LA are around 37 kilometers apart.

What is considered the most scenic part of the Pacific Highway?

The most beautiful part of the Pacific Highway is subjective, but many consider the stretch near Big Sur as particularly stunning.

How much is an Uber from Los Angeles to Malibu?

The cost of an Uber from Los Angeles to Malibu varies but is typically around $35 to $50, depending on factors like demand and time of day.

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