Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Closed Sun.-Mon.
Bergamot Station looks like a collection of warehouses when you first pull in—but don’t judge this book by the cover! Poke around the galleries and museum, and enjoy a frothy latte in the café, before moving on. In the late 1800s, Bergamot Station was a stop for the Red Line trolley, carrying passengers from the Santa Monica Pier into the city of Los Angeles. In 1953, the trolleys stopped running and the pursuant decades saw the warehouses on the site used for various businesses. Both a celery-packing plant and an ice-making factory came and went, which led to Bergamot Station sitting abandoned for several years. Eventually, the city tapped local gallery owner Wayne Blank to renovate the space, who several years earlier, had successfully developed a vacant city-owned airport hangar into artists’ studios. Blank maintained the complex’s rustic, industrial look, creating a raw space for artistic expression. In 1994, Bergamot Station re-opened as Southern California’s largest gallery complex and cultural center. The eight-acre facility includes a café, shops, and 33 art galleries. It is also home to the Santa Monica Museum, which features rotating local and international cultural exhibitions.