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Exhibits > 2016 Exhibits > SF → LA

SF → LA (Transportation Museum 2016)

Learn about the past, present, and future of transportation between San Francisco and Los Angeles. How did the long drive cause the need for the creation of the first motel? What is the cheapest option when traveling? What's going on with High-Speed Rail? Scroll down to learn more.

From Missions to Motels

Today, hundreds of travelers move between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. About 300 years before today, the route we know now as Highway 101 was a Native American trail. What followed included the establishment of 21 missions, the creation of train lines, and, eventually, the founding of the first motel.

Learn about historic El Camino Real and how the long drive between the two cities required the invention of the first motel by reading the exhibit here.

Want to see historic photos of bells along El Camino Real? Click here.

Think you know hotels?

Do you travel a lot? If so, play the Matching Hotel Logos game to test your knowledge of hotel chain logos. Here's one for you to try. What hotel has this logo?

Traveling between San Francisco and Los Angeles 

(per person, based on a random weekend)

One-Way Costs and Times
By Car
By Plane
By Train
By Bus
Travel Time
6 hours
4.5 hours
12 hours
8.5 hours

Traveling Today

Skip ahead some decades, and you'll find yourself in 2017, with plenty of ways to get between San Francisco and Los Angeles. You can fly (fastest), drive (cheapest), take the bus (next cheapest), or take the train (most scenic).

Learn about the different options and view a chart that compares cost, travel time, and other notes here.

*Want to calculate your fuel cost? Click here!

What Will Come in 2020?

​In 1996, 70,868,000,000 miles of California interstate freeways were driven on. Imagine how many miles are driven 21 years later! Two new methods of transportation, the California High-Speed Rail and the Hyperloop, have been in the news a lot lately. In this part of the exhibit, you'll learn more about these ideas.

California High-Speed Rail

You've heard a lot about the High-Speed Rail. Want to know more? Check out the project cost, fare cost, route, expected completion, environmental benefits, noise information, and other thoughts here.

Our local commuter train service, Caltrain, is getting some new updates. Learn more about the Caltrain Modernization program and the Caltrain/High Speed Rail blended system here. If you're interested in learning more, watch the video below or visit this website.

We want to hear your input! Would you ride the High-Speed Rail instead of flying? Do you have any concerns about the train? What are the most important amenities? Let us know!


Imagine traveling between San Francisco and Los Angeles in just over 30 minutes. That's the idea behind the Hyperloop, which uses electric propulsion to accelerate a pod carrying passengers or cargo through a long tube. Click here to learn more about the system.

Electrification and the Future of Caltrain

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