There are many free and cheap things to do In Los Angeles. As a traveler, the problem is getting to them. From Los Angeles International Airport, rental cars recently were around $75 a day before taxes and gas. Taxis and app-based rides between the airport and the city center cost between $40 and $70, depending on the time of day. Then there’s overnight parking: $50 to $60 isn’t unusual.
But there’s a cheap alternative: the subway, a bargain at $1.75 per trip, $5 per day approve or $18 for a week.
In Los Angeles, a land of traffic jams, the vehicle of reference is the car. But for decades, the Los Angeles County public transportation authority, Meter, has been trying to wean Angelenos away from their cars, building more than 100 train stops on seven lines since 1990, including the new K Line, which opened in October and runs through South Los Angeles. In June, the Regional Connector Transit Project consolidated downtown connections, making it possible to travel east-west between East Los Angeles and Santa Monica, and north-south between Azusa and Long Beach without transferring. Another extension, scheduled for 2024, will connect to Los Angeles International Airportone of nine future stations that will open before the city hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The utility of the system to residents varies depending on where they live in the sprawling city. But, said Michael Juliano, the Los Angeles editor of Time Out Media, who has written about the system, “As a tourist, quite a few places you want to go are on a Metro route.”
Nothing makes me feel more familiar with a destination than successfully navigating it. From my point of view, going places is not knowing places unless I can find my way using local means of transportation. When I told my friends I was headed to Los Angeles to see the city on the subway, one joked that it would be “a very short story.” An Angelina who admitted she had never taken the train advised me to pack pepper spray.
But three days of riding the rails proved them mostly wrong. The subway is not only well connected to popular sites, from the beaches of Santa Monica to downtown museums, but its trains run frequently. Although my experience was not threatening, the system has fought with an obvious influx of homeless people traveling on the trains. On several occasions I have traveled with Metro ambassadors, employees who tour the system to educate the public and help ensure safety.
In a county that covers more than 4,000 square miles and 88 cities, there were places you couldn’t get to by subway. A tour company offering guided walks to the iconic the hollywood sign He told me that his starting point was not close to public transport. Bus lines and transportation services can fill the gaps, but with one notable exception: the Fly Away Busthat circulates approximately every half hour between the airport and union station Downtown ($9.75): I stuck with the trains as proof of their usefulness. This is what I found.
All lines lead to the center
The FlyAway Bus dropped me off at Union Station, a 1939 Mission Moderne gem that serves not only as a hub for Amtrak trains and regional trains Metrolink service in Los Angeles County and five surrounding counties, but also as the nexus of three Metro lines, the A, B and D.
These subway lines make several stops in the city center, an area full of cultural attractions, including the original Mexican settlement in Olvera Street across from Union Station, and many hotels, such as the los angeles freehand.
About four blocks from the nearest subway stop downtown, the retro hotel occupies the 1924 Commercial Exchange Building and offers multi-bed hostel-style rooms popular with students, as well as private rooms like mine with macrame wall hangings and eclectic art reminiscent of thrift stores (I paid $150 per night).
The next morning, I recognized other cheap guests—a French family in town to watch the Lakers games, a couple of Danish backpackers, and a group of Irish students—at the nearby tube stop.
“Guests will ask for the closest stops and times, and it’s kind of funny because we drive everywhere,” said Rich Oken, the hotel’s general manager, referring to the staff.
Between the metro and walking, I found the city center easy to get around and rich to explore, starting at The width museum (free), an impressive home to collectors Eli and Edythe Broad’s collection of contemporary art, filled with works by Basquiat, Lichtenstein and Warhol. In the next block, I took a break in the quiet gardens behind the Walt Disney Concert Halla swooping steel landmark by architect Frank Gehry.
Nearby, I rode the shortest train from Los Angeles, flight of angelsa 1901 funicular that goes up a block-long hill for 50 cents if you have a Metro card ($1 if you don’t).
Next stop: Hollywood
From downtown, the B line runs northwest to the heart of Hollywood. Surfacing at the Hollywood/Highland station was like stepping out into sunny, low-rise Times Square. Actors dressed as Spider-Man and Michael Jackson posed with tourists for tips. Touts advertised TMZ bus tours of celebrity hangouts. I immediately came across the star of Groucho Marx in the The Hollywood walk of famewhere Tom Cruise shares the sidewalk with Weird Al Yankovic and fans took selfies at Snoop Dogg’s license plate.
The starry route passed through the 1927 Grauman’s Chinese Theater (now known as TCL Chinese Theater) where I sized my footprint against Robert De Niro’s among the many celebrity salutes cemented into the pavement before his driveway.
The B line also offers access to less frenetic neighborhoods, including Koreatown, where I stepped back for umami oil-drenched salmon from the conveyor belt sushi place. kura ($3.65 per plate).
The route also offers a ready-to-go solution Griffith Park, the lush preserve of the Santa Monica Mountains, with panoramic views of the city and dozens of walking trails. From the Vermont/Sunset B line stop, I caught a SIDE LANE bus to the Griffith Park Observatorypopular for its rooftop views, and saw an exciting star show in the planetarium ($10).
train to the beach
First-time visitors are often surprised by the size of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which encompasses Long Beach in the south, Malibu in the west, and the San Gabriel Mountains in the east.
“People come to California and they want to go to the beach, but they don’t realize that Santa Monica is about 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, and it’s a long 12 miles, either by driving or by public transportation,” said the Mr. Oken, Freehand’s manager.
On a Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., Google Maps put the train ride in the E line from the center just over an hour, the same as the journey, excluding the search for parking.
Running primarily over the ground, the E line provided a car route past the University of Southern California campus to Culver City and finally Santa Monica. Recorded announcements identified attractions near each stop, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History and Exhibition Park at the Expo Park/USC stop.
Line E ends a few blocks from the popular Santa Monica Pierfull of rides and restaurants, which were mostly closed in the morning, while a guitarist played standard Latin solitaire “Perhaps perhaps Perhaps” to walkers enjoying peaceful views.
Rent a beach cruiser bike from hot saddles ($13 for an hour) At the pier, I pedaled south about three miles to the waterfront neighborhood of Venice, where twirling quad skaters drew onlookers.
With its well-kept boutique hotels and trendy restaurants, Santa Monica felt exclusive, an impression corrected by the colorful Jamaican shack. Cha Cha Chickenjust a block from the beach, it serves spicy chicken dishes (starting at $11.95) on a shady patio amid Bob Marley paintings.
“Connect to Creativity”
Metro sells the new K line with system-wide signage encouraging riders to “Connect to Creativity,” a reference to the South Los Angeles communities that have nurtured artists like artist Kehinde Wiley and actress Issa Rae and to public art in every season.
“The art is one component of an introduction to the system,” said Maya Emsden, who oversees Metro’s public art programs, including the commissioning of art for each of the seven current K Line stations. revelation”.
On my last afternoon, I rode the K, departing from its northernmost stop at Expo/Crenshaw, where it meets the E line, through the communities of Crenshaw and Inglewood, home to sofi stadiumwhere the NFL Rams and Chargers play.
At Crenshaw, some of the route’s most intriguing artwork has yet to be revealed. The economic development organization. Fate Crenshaw is commissioning works by more than 100 black artists to be installed in a central park and along 1.3 miles of Crenshaw Boulevard alongside grade-level train tracks. The project will represent “the talent, creativity and passion that we have for the community,” Jason Foster, the organization’s president and chief operating officer, said over coffee at hot and fresh coffee close to the Leimert Park stop.
From the cafe, we walked a few blocks to the site of the future Sankofa Park, a wedge-shaped block with gardens and a pedestrian ramp to a second story. Scheduled to open next February, the park, part of the $100 million project, will display a sculpture of Mr. Wiley’s “war rumors” series and “car culture”, a work by Compton, California-based artist Charles Dickson, featuring African figures surmounted by automobiles.
“When the connection to the airport is complete, this will be the first thing people will see in Los Angeles,” Foster said, adding that he hopes the park will become a neighborhood attraction along the lines of little tokyo either mariachi squareboth accessible by train.
In three days, I never made it to the Hollywood sign. But everywhere I went, I saved money, emissions, and untold traffic jam-induced stress.
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