Take a trip around the world on Metro this weekend. All you need is a $5 day pass

Korean barbecue at Taoe Galbi. Photo by Kim Upton/Metro

Korean barbecue at Taoe Galbi. Photo by Kim Upton/Metro

Planning a weekend away? Or with gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon — maybe not planning one? Don’t despair. Metro can be your ticket to new countries, customs and cuisines. And the cost? Just $5 for an easy-to-use Metro Day Pass.

Like all truly international cities, Los Angeles is a rich blend of cultures that have produced variegated neighborhoods and world-class cuisines. You may have explored some neighborhoods but do you know them all?

Take Ethiopia. The Metro Local 217 Fairfax Avenue bus, which stops at the Metro Red Line Hollywood and Highland Station, cruises west on Hollywood then south on Fairfax. A  few blocks beyond Wilshire Boulevard is Little Ethiopia: a neighborhood of delicious restaurants (Meals by Genet) and lovely, colorful shops selling clothing in colors as bright as the African sun.

Or how about Cambodia? Admittedly, there’s neither jungle nor Angkor Wat in Long Beach but if you close your eyes just a little you can pretend to be in the steamy Southeast Asia country tucked between Thailand and Vietnam. It’s easy if you’re dining at one of the many restaurants (Sophy’s Fine Thai and Cambodian Cuisine) in Cambodia Town. So hop on the Metro Blue Line and hop off in what could be Phnom Penh — except for the great Southern California weather — and dine on grilled fish, rice, noodles and coconut soup prepared with fresh herbs and veggies.

What about Japan? Everyone knows that Little Tokyo is in downtown L.A., just a short walk from Union Station. But does everyone know that it’s possible to reach it easily aboard the Metro Gold Line to the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station? Not only are there dozens of good restaurants (Suehiro Café). There is great shopping for clothes, shoes, gifts, computer accessories and Asian foods of all kinds in one of the many markets. At night there’s karaoke for the brave of heart.

Then there’s Mexico, of course. There may well be hundreds of Mexican and Central American neighborhoods around Los Angeles and they are filled with shops and entertainment venues and supermarkets and restaurants. Along the Metro Gold Line in East L.A. there are many great places (Al & Bea’s Mexican Food for bean and cheese burritos and Cinco Puntos Mexican Foods for hand-made tamales). So find your way to Union Station and board the Metro Gold Line toward Atlantic Station. Nearly every station on the East Side Gold Line offers something delicious to eat.  

Or take the Metro Purple Line to Korea Town for barbecue. (Tahoe Galbi is a few blocks west of the Wilshire/Western Station.) Think of Korean barbecue as thin strips of beef, pork, chicken and seafood grilled at the table and served with half a dozen or more vegetable side dishes. Think of it as an excellent way to overeat.  

And what about Chinatown, just off the Metro Gold Line Chinatown Station. There are dozens of restaurants and shops selling goods from all over Asia, often at excellent prices. The restaurants are like that too, with Chinese and Vietnamese (Via Café) standing shoulder to shoulder for our dining pleasure.

Are you adventurous? The Metro Green Line to Norwalk connects with Metro Local bus 173 south to Artesia and Little India. Along several blocks there are restaurants and shops with authentic Indian goods and foods (Surati Farsan Mart). Samosa, puri, dosa, thali. It’s worth the ride.       

Have you explored Little Persia in Westwood? Don’t wait until the Metro Purple Line is completed in 2039. Hop on Metro Rapid 720 down Wilshire Boulevard to Westwood Boulevard. There are a number of shops and restaurants (Shamshiri) there to enjoy. And near the Metro Red Line Hollywood/Western Station — between Western and Normandie Avenue — there is Thai Town.

All this can be yours for the price of a $5 Metro Day Pass. And you don’t have to wait in line to clear airport security.

2 replies

  1. Go Metro, Korean BBQ is the best! And Sushi in Little Tokyo or Sawtelle in West LA sounds good… So many places to eat here in diverse and beautiful LA

  2. As an active semi-retiree, I thoroughly enjoy my Day Pass when I’m current with my chores. I keep a shoebox of 3×5 index cards, each with the name of a destination, its address, and a few sentences to remind myself what about it intrigued me. On a free day, I shuffle the cards for the destinations which intrigue me, pick one, and off I go for another adventure. I do keep to my budget, but I’m secure in knowing that my Day Pass will get me home, eventually.