The Los Angeles County Metro is one of the greatest developments in Southern California. Connecting the wide array of cities across the region, the Metro has the unique ability to help commuters, visitors, and eco-conscious citizens alike. The overwhelming approval of Measure M this last Tuesday approves a massive expansion of Metro lines. More people are becoming curious about this transit system and what is can connect them to and are embracing a vision for the region that includes expanded public transit. Long Beach is the terminus of the Blue Line, running down into the downtown area and adding an easy way to shuffle around without the hassle of traffic.
Starting from the Blue Line and joining up with others, you can touch on a lot of fascinating locations. Here’s some possibilities:
Metro Stop: Downtown Long Beach
For Long Beach, Downtown is a central focus for those wanting to use the Blue Line and fully take advantage of a single stop on the Metro. Coming into the city at 1st Street and Pacific Avenue, a rider can immediately step off and easily access Shoreline Park and Village, The Pike, and the Convention Center. Additionally, The Aquarium of the Pacific is open year round and is only a few blocks away from the Metro station.
There’s plenty of other lesser known but fascinating places to visit as well. Made by Millworks (formerly Made in LB), can be found on Pine Avenue in the main stretch of shops, businesses, and local restaurants. The main selling point is the merchandise made by Long Beach locals. This store acts as a great gateway for our community artists to display work and keep business in the city and is a great spot to pick up unique gifts. Another fun location not far down the street is The Federal Bar. This wood-paneled and richly detailed historical building once housed a bank. It has since then become a lively bar and restaurant that attracts local events and concerts, as well as a filming location. The Downtown location of Long Beach favorite The Potholder Cafe can also be found nearby.
Metro Stop: 5th Street
5th Street stop is close to the home of Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art. This museum has the distinction of being the only museum dedicated to Latin American art situated in a contemporary setting. With a sculpture garden, rotating shows, and an active calendar of events, this stop on the Metro is well worth the trip. The restaurant Cafe Viva, which sits within the museum, will delight visitors with its Latin based cuisine.
Metro Stop: 103rd Street/Watts Towers
The Watts Towers can be found directly off the Blue Line coming up from Long Beach. A famous site in Los Angeles County, the Watts Towers were built by an Italian immigrant by the name of Sabato Rodia over a period of 33 years. The 17 sculptural towers are an excellent example of found object art, with a rebar and concrete structure that has been covered in pieces and shards of glass, beads, bits of metal, and other interesting materials. The towers have been included extensively in film, music, and video games alike, and are among the most iconic structures in the greater Los Angeles area.
Metro Stop: Pico
The northern urban heart of the Metro Blue Line in in dowtown Los Angeles. The Pico stop offers access to some of the greatest event venues in the west coast region, including L.A. Live, the Los Angeles Convention Center, and the Staples Center. You can catch everything from Clippers and Kings games, major concerts, conferences like E3, and cultural parades with ease from here, skipping the hassle of parking. The sheer number of restaurants and historical buildings near this spot make it well worth the day trip. If you’d like a late night out, the Metro also runs until 2:00 AM on the weekends.
By continuing north to the 7th Street/Metro Center station, Metro riders can connect to more lines to explore Los Angeles with relative ease. The famous Metro Red Line continues up into the Hollywood area, giving access to the following attractions:
- Dolby Theatre
- Hollywood Bowl
- Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Madame Tussauds Hollywood
- Barnsdall House
- Hollyhock House
- Thai Town
Also connecting from 7th Street/Metro Center is the Metro Expo Line, which goes over into the Culver City area. This gives access to some really unique museums and venues such as:
- Natural History Museum
- California Science Center
- The Shrine Auditorium
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take the Red Line east for a few stations and connect with the Gold Line. This route covers areas like Chinatown and Little Tokyo, as well as Pasadena and Glendale. This ride delivers you to a huge number of outdoor parks, art museums, and classic Californian attractions. This line includes:
- Norton Simon Museum
- Rose Bowl
- The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
- Old Chinatown
- LA River Center and Gardens
For a complete list of attractions near Metro stops, check out the destination guide.
For the cost of a few dollars to make the two-way trip, you can get a lot of travelling done, even from just within Long Beach. To take advantage of this system prior to the upcoming expansions, you can find the Metro Blue Line off of Long Beach Boulevard. Stations are off of several major intersections, including Pacific Coast Highway. Try a staycation, and see how much you can see in a single weekend without ever having to get in your car.