Los Angeles has a longstanding reputation for being one of the most unfriendly cities for tourists and residents who don’t have a car. But things have been changing, and now, the most popular L.A. attractions can be accessed with a train ride on the Metro Rail.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood offers a behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood with some of the best theme park rides in Southern California. In addition to its famous backlot tour through sound stages that are often in use for movie and TV productions during park hours, rides like the Simpsons, Jurassic Park and Transformers entertain guests at the park. Adjacent to the CityWalk offers a selection of shops, restaurants and cinemas and Saddle Ranch Chop House serves Texas-style BBQ and steaks. The Hilton and Sheraton in Universal City provide convenient accommodations near the park. To access with public transportation, take the Red Line to the Universal City Station.
Also on the Metro Rail Red Line is the Griffith Observatory. The Observatory features a wide selection of exhibits for astronomy enthusiasts, and because of its location at the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, it allows visitors an unobstructed view of many parts of Los Angeles including an up-close look at the Hollywood sign.
Plan ahead for this stop. Public transportation to the Griffith Observatory is only available on Saturdays and Sundays. Take the Red Line to the Vermont/Sunset stop and jump on the shuttle to go directly to the front door of the Observatory.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Best accessed by taking the Red Line to the Purple Line and getting off at the Wilshire/Western stop, the L.A. County Museum of Art is one of the world’s premier museums. Commonly referred to as LACMA, the museum houses approximately 100,000 objects dating from ancient times to the present. In addition, there’s a rotating selection of coveted exhibitions making their way in and out of the museum on a regular basis. In late 2012 and throughout 2013, visitors can see works by artists such as Stanley Kubrick, Caravaggio, Walter de Maria and an installation from the classic movie Metropolis.
Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
As part of the “Music Center,” the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Ahmanson Theatre and the Mark Taper Forum are all accessible by taking the Purple Line to the Civic Center Station. The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion is a regular performance spot for the Los Angeles Opera and the L.A. Philharmonic now performs at the Disney Hall.
Once the Purple Rail ends at Union Station, the Gold Rail takes over and will bring adventurous visitors into Chinatown. There’s something for everyone in Chinatown: from Americanized traditions like lighting the Christmas tree and ice skating to more ethnic happenings such as the Chinese New Year Festival in February. Chinatown also features a world class swap meet and the annual Firecracker 5k and 10k race.
L.A. Live Entertainment Complex: Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and the Los Angeles Convention Center
By taking either the Red or Purple Line to the Blue Line and getting off at Pico Station, visitors can experience the best that L.A. has to offer in terms of concerts, sporting events and giant conventions. The Staples Center is the official home of four professional sports franchises: the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. It was also the site of the site of the 2000 Democratic National Convention and the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships, along with 12 Grammy Award shows and the annual X Games competitions. The Staples Center has been a concert venue for legendary acts like Bruce Springsteen, U2, Garth Brooks, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake and Sade.
The Nokia Theatre has an equally impressive event roster, though the venue is tailored for less mainstream acts like the NPR’s comedic show called, “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” and up and comers like Prince Royce and Frankie J.
The Los Angeles Convention Center hosts everything from trade shows, special meetings and events like the Greater Los Angeles Auto Show, the Anime Expo, and the Electronic Entertainment Expo, commonly referred to as E3.