The Day Pass Diary: Riding the Metro Orange Line

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When people in LA County hear “bus rapid transit,” the first thought is the Metro Orange Line. What’s bus rapid transit? In the words of LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, “It is like a rail line on rubber tires.” The Orange Line has made great strides since its opening in 2005 by improving mobility through the San Fernando Valley, bringing faster travel times, and a chance to discover the rich history and beautiful scenery of the valley. With the help of Metro, you can experience BRT all day for only $5 with a $5 Day Pass.

Here are some historic stops along the Orange Line:


1. North Hollywood is the first stop on the Orange Line and it’s a great way to start the adventure. Here you can explore the Noho Arts District filled with historical sites like the 17 Hertz Studio where Metallica recorded their album Black, theaters, museums, and fine dining. One sight to see is the Life Size Bronze Statues of T.V. Stars, where you can meet Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, and the 40-feet tall gold Emmy Statue at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Love live theatre? Then catch a live show at the historic El Portal Theatre. Since its opening in 1926, the stage has seen vaudeville, silent movies, Academy Award winning films, and now live theatre.

2. Grab a bite in Noho at a discounted price with Metro at the Federal Bar. Show your valid TAP card and receive 10% off all food items. The exclusive discount is part of Metro’s Destination Discounts program. Go Metro to participating locations and events and you’ll save on admission, get discounts on meals, and receive free gifts.

3. Off Valley College Station is one of the most historic murals in Los Angeles. Located along the concrete sides of the Tujunga Wash, the Great Wall of Los Angeles depicts the history of California through several panels; the first few panels begin with prehistory and colonialism and the following panels deal with events of the 20th century. It was created in conjunction with the rise of the Chicano Movement of the 1960s-1980s. The mural was designed by Judith Baca and executed by community youth and artists coordinated by the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC).

4. Van Nuys City Hall contains more than 49,000 square feet of space within an eight-story tower on a two-story base. The building was designed by Peter K. Schabarum at the height of the Great Depression. Because of the Northridge earthquake, the building underwent renovations in 2002 to retain its function as a city hall. The Van Nuys City Hall is located in the Civic Center, which has also been renovated to include more retail, office and restaurant space, and it’s accessible off the Van Nuys stop.

5.  Hop off the bus at Woodley Station to go to the Japanese Garden. Here you can stroll through six and a half acres of three classical designs: a dry karensansui, a wet garden with promenade chisen, and an authentic tea ceremony garden incorporating a 4.5 tatami mat tea room. The purpose of the garden is not only for a peaceful getaway, but also to relieve the overburdened portions of the wastewater collection system between the San Fernando Valley and the city’s main wastewater treatment facility. Enjoy beauty and serenity while saving the valley at the Japanese Garden.

6. Lake Balboa Park hosts a 1.3 mile jogging/walking path, a bike path, cherry blossom trees, a fly fishing area, and a lake where fishing is allowed. Also in the park is a hidden gem for aircraft lovers. At the Apollo XI Model Aircraft Field, you can find a model aviation enthusiasts from all over Southern California who enjoy building and flying radio controlled model aircraft. In other words, this park has everything.

7. The Orange Line has now been extended all the way to Chatsworth, home of the Wild West movies. But Chatsworth is more than just a Hollywood backdrop for Western movies. Here you can be a real cowboy and ride horses on trails at Stoney Point Park  or with the help of equestrian services from CB Sporthorses.

8. If you would rather take a more recreational route, the Orange Line provides a bikeway spanning from North Hollywood all the way to Chatsworth. This gives LA bikers a far greater reach into the San Fernando Valley. The bike path is protected, making it a fun ride for the whole family. And every stop along the Orange Line is just as accessible to bikers along the path.

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1 reply

  1. About #8… unfortunately, since the Orange Line is still a bus line, it really isn’t that bike-friendly.

    A group of four cyclists would have to be split up for two buses… and even more if there is already a bike on a rack.