It’s that time of year, Los Angeles: LA County Fair time. Once a year, the county fairgrounds are filled with amusement park rides, grotesque fried combinations of foods that should never be united (jelly donut chicken sandwich), pig races, and adorable baby animals, and we all get to go and partake. But first, we have to get there.
Fair organizers are trying to make it easier to take non-car transportation to the Fairplex, though those who drive will find a sea of huge parking lots awaiting them. We’ve broken down all the ways you can get to the big event, which starts Friday, September 2. The fair is open from Wednesday to Sunday each week until Sunday, September 25. (The fair is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.) For fair hours and special Labor Day weekend hours, see the fair’s official site.
On weekends, the Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line makes a special stop in one of the fairgrounds' parking lots. From there, fairgoers can either wait for the parking lot tram to ferry them to the fair entrance or just hoof it. (Weekend Metrolink day passes are $10 and last all day, so don't pay extra for a roundtrip ticket.)
Weekday visitors unfortunately don’t get to take advantage of this in-grounds stop. It’s just under a mile walk from the Pomona North station to the nearest fairgrounds parking lot—in this case, Gate 9, which can be entered from Arrow Highway—where you can catch a shuttle to the fair entrance or just walk it. (Official map of the gates and grounds here.)
Anyone walking to the fair has to enter through a parking lot, Fairplex spokeswoman Renee Hernandez tells Curbed. Some of the parking lots are smaller—including the ones by Gate 1 or by the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel—meaning a shorter walk through them, but those are unfortunately farther from the Metrolink stop. There are gates on White Avenue, but none of them are open for pedestrian entry, Hernandez says.
Taking Foothill Transit and Metro
Foothill Transit operates a special bus line (Line 196) for people heading to the fair on weekends and on Labor Day. It runs from Azusa to Pomona and connects to the Gold Line’s Azusa Downtown station; it only makes three stops before getting to the fairgrounds. The Source says the bus drops fairgoers just outside the grounds, where they can connect with a free fair shuttle to take them in.
Weekday fairgoers can use Foothill Transit Line 197, which connects to the Montclair and Claremont stations of the Metrolink's San Bernardino Line and passes by the Fairplex’s gates 1, 3, and 9. It also stops a short walk from the Pomona North Metrolink station on the same line, and the Downtown Pomona Metrolink station on the Metrolink's Riverside Line.)
Foothill Transit buses cost $1.25 to ride; the fare can be paid with stored value on TAP cards. Transfers from Metro are 50 cents. Foothill Transit riders can also buy discounted fair tickets by using promo code FOOTHILL when buying online.
Getting a ride from someone/Lyft/Uber
Hernandez tells the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin that Uber and Lyft will have stands of their own next to admission areas at Gates 9 (White Avenue between McKinley and Arrow Highway) and 17 (at Fairplex Drive and McKinley Avenue).
There’s also another, unbranded drop-off area just west of Gate 1 ("across from the Soroptimist Redwood Grove on McKinley Avenue," if you’re familiar with the area).
Fair attendees who are driving their own cars have plenty of places to park them. "Parking lots feed into the fairgrounds" from gates 9 and 17, says the Bulletin. Regular parking costs $15, but Gate 17 also offers VIP parking, which costs $25 and theoretically puts cars closer to the entrance. Trams run through the lots to bring people straight to the gate.
Those really splurging on parking can opt for preferred parking or valet parking, which cost $30 a pop. They are available only at Gate 3, which is over by the Sheraton. Gate 1 is parking for Fairplex staff only.
Season pass holders to the fair and those planning to visit four times or more might as well spring for a seasonal parking pass, which costs $60. It’s good for unlimited parking at lots through gates 9 and 17 for the duration of the fair.
- How to take Metrolink or Foothill Transit to the L.A. County Fair [The Source]
- How to park — and how much to pay for parking — at the LA County Fair [IVDB]