Memorial Day Weekend: Avoid nightmare traffic with a transit staycation

Memorial Day weekend travel traffic is nothing new, but this upcoming weekend is supposed to be record-settingly terrible. So instead of joining the throngs on the road, why not take advantage of the long weekend to stay in town and rediscover parts of Los Angeles you haven’t seen in awhile?

But first, a note about Metro service during Memorial Day weekend. This Friday through Sunday, May 27 to 29, all buses and trains will follow their regular, posted schedules. Metro Rail runs until 2 a.m. every Friday and Saturday, making it easy to celebrate to the fullest while getting home safely (and sans surge pricing). On Memorial Day Monday, Metro will run on a Sunday/Holiday schedule. Bus riders please note: lines that don’t operate on Sundays won’t run this Monday, May 30.

Some Metro buses will experience detours due to the following Memorial Day events, and you can find that information on the Planned Service Advisories page.

And now, here are just a few places worth exploring from the mountains to the beach. All of them can be reached without having to sit in traffic or paying for parking.

japanese garden

  • The Japanese Garden: A beautiful place to find a moment of tranquility in Van Nuys and the Sepulveda Basin. The garden is open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for seniors 62+ and children under 12. To get there, take the Orange Line to Woodley Station. (Please note: not open on Memorial Day Monday.)
  • Battleship IOWA MuseumThe only battleship museum on the West Coast. Open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $19.95. To get there, take the Metro Silver Line to Harbor Boulevard and 1st Street in San Pedro.
  • California Science MuseumHome to Space Shuttle Endeavour, and now home to massive space shuttle fuel tank ET-94. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Exposition Park, south of DTLA. Admission to the Science Center’s permanent exhibition galleries is free. To get there, take the Metro Expo Line to Expo Park/USC Station.
  • Natural History Museum: Dinosaur bones, obviously, but the museum in Exposition Park also has a lovely garden and special seasonal exhibits. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $12. To get there, take the Metro Expo Line to Expo Park/USC Station.

    Photo used with permission from The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

    Photo used with permission from The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

  • Grand Central Market: Fresh fruits and veggies, barbecue, seafood, pizza, ice cream, vegan ramen — basically plan on spending the entire time stuffing your face. The DTLA market is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday. To get there, take the Metro Red or Purple Line to Pershing Square Station.
  • Grand ParkDTLA’s park for everyone! Take some food with you to picnic with and have some fun at the splash pad. To get there, take the Metro Red or Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station.
  • Aquarium of the Pacific: Cute otters, penguins, sharks and more! Open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. General admission is $29.95 and you can purchase packages that include whale watching or a visit to Queen Mary. To get there, take the Metro Blue Line to Downtown Long Beach Station.
  • Hollywood Walk of FameI know, it’s really tourist-y, but sometimes it’s fun to play tourist! To get there, take the Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Vine Station.
  • Santa MonicaIf you don’t already know by now, the Expo Line has opened to Santa Monica. You should definitely take advantage of train access to the Pier, Santa Monica Place and SO MUCH MORE.

If you’ve already made plans to fly away this weekend, you can still skip traffic on your way to the airport. The LAX FlyAway bus picks up at multiple locations around the county, or you can take the Metro Green Line to Aviation/LAX Station and transfer to the Green Line shuttle to the airport. BurbankBus runs free weekend/holiday shuttle service to Bob Hope Airport and you can connect to the shuttle from the Red or Orange Line North Hollywood Station.

Finally, make sure to follow us on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metroLAalerts for real-time service updates, and have a safe and happy Memorial Day. Summer is finally here!

7 replies

  1. Me and my Fiancé were headed into Santa Monica from the South Bay on Sunday. Before we exited the 405 to merge onto the 10, we realized how packed SAMO would be and how much of a headache it would be to find parking. We decided to park our car at the EXPO/Sepulveda station and take Metro in to the city. Even though the train was absolutely packed, it was still a more enjoyable experience than driving into the city. We plan on driving to Metro stations and utilizing Metro more and more in our lives. Thanks Metro!

  2. That’s “California Science Center” (formerly California Museum of Science and Industry).

    And the Natural History Museum also has a really good mineral/gem department (something San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences sacrificed when they rebuilt). And don’t forget its sister facility, the Page Museum, or the Page Museum’s neighbor, LACMA.

  3. I haven’t been to the Japanese Garden, so I looked it up. There’s apparently another point of interest: it was used as a filming location for Star Trek. The adjacent water reclamation plant was used in establishing shots for Starfleet Academy. They just cleverly edited in a shot of the Golden Gate Bridge to make it look like San Francisco.

    • Pat,

      That is information I also did not know and I’m so happy to know it now!!! (Can’t wait for Star Trek Beyond)

      Thank you,

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

    • The Japanese Gardens are on the grounds of the water reclamation plant. There have been a number TV shows and movies filmed there, some more recognizable than others. Biodome with Pauly Shore was filmed there, in part.
      The tea house is a wonderful spot. It is available for rental.

  4. I want to point out that, Line 79 Arcadia terminus was relocated right next to Arcadia Station a while ago, but the change has not been updated on the timetable, Nextrip, etc. The bus headsign in fact still shows “St Joseph & 2nd”, the old terminus location.

    By the way, love the great atmosphere at the Expo Line II opening weekend!