Just by catching the metro in Arcadia, Monrovia or Pasadena one can quickly be whisked away on an adventure
By Madeline Park
Regarded as the third best metro system in the nation in a study conducted by the University of Minnesota, the Los Angeles Metro provides a source of transportation for thousands of people each day. It is therefore no surprise that it is also a great way to visit many of the hot spots throughout LA. With its beginnings in Azusa and endings in East LA, the LA Metro’s Gold Line boasts of many eclectic and interesting sights near its stations.
In fact, with the Metro Gold Line cutting straight through the heart of San Gabriel Valley, these areas provide a change of scene while not being far from home. Whether you have a day off, or a couple of hours to spare, here are some great adventures you can take from the metro, within an hour of home!
Little Tokyo/Arts District
As you enter this National Historic Landmark District, you’ll notice the vibrant art and culture Little Tokyo reflects. This can be seen nearby in the Japanese American National Museum, which exhibits the role Japanese people have played throughout American history. Just a five-minute walk away is the beautiful James Irvine Japanese Garden, a peaceful park that is free of charge all-year round. Next, stop by Galleria Market, a giant shopping mall filled with authentic Japanese stores (including the increasingly popular Daiso), cheap eats, and an Asian market. Lastly, visit the “Home is Little Tokyo” mural that displays 100 years of Little Tokyo’s history. This mural is only one of several unique murals and local pieces of art in this district.
Only 6 stops away from Little Tokyo lies Highland Park, an area that has been undergoing massive gentrification. The eclectic mix of older brick buildings and new hipster-looking cafes is best exemplified on Figueroa Street, home to such places as Via-Mar Seafood, Good Girl Dinette and LA’s oldest bowling alley — Highland Park Bowl. In addition, one of the most notable buildings is the Highland Park Theater. Known for its towering sign and cheap deals, this theater only adds to the diverse array of buildings. Alissa Arunarsirakul, a theater employee mentioned a hidden gem in this area, “There’s this really cool place—it’s called Tinfoil; it’s like a few blocks away from here. But it’s a secret deli; it’s behind this place called The Coldest Beer in Town, and you ask the cash register, ‘Hey do you guys sell birthday candles here?’ And then they’ll bring you to the secret deli called Tinfoil. It’s so good! If you ever go, try the number four”! It’s a great way to end your venture around this station.
Del Mar Station
Travel down three additional stops, and you’ll hit Del Mar Station, an area in the midst of Old Pasadena. Upon leaving the station, you are immediately hit by the numerous shops and eateries that border Colorado Blvd. Luggage Room Pizzeria , Fish on Tap and Katie’s Bakery are only a few of the unique experiences for the palate in this area. While in Del Mar, make sure to visit the many quaint one-of-a-kind stores and side streets that make Del Mar special. Just a few blocks down lies Del Mar’s popular sites, with grand stately buildings like City Hall and the Pasadena Public Library. Memorial Park is also there, being not only beautiful, but also a great spot to watch outdoor concerts and shows.
Nearing the end of the line lies Monrovia Station, a station that borders Old Town Monrovia and Arcadia. Just a couple of blocks away is Arcadia’s famous Santa Anita Racetrack and home to the 626 Asian Night Market. Further down the street is the Los Angeles Arboretum, an expansion of land covered in a variety of exotic plants and beautiful free-roaming peacocks. Located in the opposite direction, Old Town Monrovia is a small, but very charming stretch of restaurants and shops that are almost all completely family-owned.
Living in LA, it may be easy to take for granted the lively neighborhoods that are right in our backyard. Yet, the metro makes it easier to access these places, and hopefully, give you a new perspective on the many opportunities this city provides.