A Day of Fun via Metro

Here’s a fun itinerary perfect for tourists and out-of-town friends that requires no driving! L.A. traffic can get rough, and with this, you’ll skip right under it for the most part. You didn’t even know L.A. even had a metro subway? Now you do, and for just $7 you can ride all day, unlimited rides with a day pass. You’ll like LA more if you drive less.

  1. Start by metro’ing to Hollywood & Vine. Grab a coffee or bite at any of the dozens of places nearby, and follow the stars on the sidewalk (the “Walk of Fame”) to walk about 1 km / .5 mile to…
  2. Hollywood & Highland. This is as much of a “ground zero” for hollywood as it gets. This is where the academy awards are held (in the Kodak Theater), and you’ll see Mann’s Chinese Theater, with the celebrity impersonators, handprints in the sidewalk, and a lot of other tourists. If you have kids with you, don’t miss popping upstairs for a bit to Dave & Busters, an arcade / bar / restaurant, or go bowling at Lucky Strike, or catch a movie in the historic theaters.
    1. If you have the time, catch a show most summer evenings at the famous Hollywood Bowl, a beautiful outdoor amphitheater. You can bring a picnic, including wine or beer, most nights (varies by artist due to legal restrictions i.e. whether that artist bought out the theater) – you can walk up the hill.
    2. For small children, the Disney store and theater across the street is recommended.
    3. For history buffs, pop into The Roosevelt hotel for a drink and/or snack, it’s worth it just to poke around. Grab a bite at Musso & Frank’s, it’s been there since 1919 and has the stories to match.
  3. Next, hop back on the metro (from Hollywood & Highland) on the red line toward Union Station, and take it all the way. Union Station is cool by itself, and they’ve shot several movies there (Bladerunner among them!).
    1. Start by crossing the street to “Olvera Street”, a little mexico themed area. It’s a bit disney-ish, but fun, and legit: it’s one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles. By the way, California was originally settled by Spain, and the original missions date back to the late 1600’s.
    2. Next, pop into The Little Jewel of New Orleans cafe, a few blocks over toward Chinatown. It’s a fun taste of the big easy, a tiny mini-vacation within your vacation to New Orleans.
    3. Next, the full Chinatown experience. I recommend not missing 3 parts, all very close to each other: Chinatown Central Plaza, Chung King Road across the street (note: there are cool art-gallery receptions here at night on the weekends. Daytime this area may be a bit dead, but it’s literally across the street from the central plaza, so it’s worth 50m of walking even if there’s no party), and a bit of wandering through Saigon Plaza / Dynasty Shopping Center’s back-alley style shops, which are easy to miss and a bit of fun as they feel like a secret world, hidden from mainstream society, because once they were – with moving walls and secret entrances.
  4. From here you can pick up the metro directly from Chinatown, there’s a chinatown metro stop, and take it home – or double down with a stop downtown for dinner and drinks.
  5. Optional: Little Tokyo is fun, small, and close – just metro to Civic Center / Grand Park Station and walk 1-2 blocks south.
  6. Optional: Metro to 7th & Metro, the central main downtown hub. Grab a drink near the rooftop pool 30 stories up at The Standard, grab a drink in the historic Edison Bar, please everybody in your group at Grand Central Market (lots of choices inside one building), go for a posh drink at the Biltmore Hotel, or stop by Clifton’s for a kitchy fun meal and/or drinks surrounded by redwood trees, animals, and the secret hidden tiki bar.

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