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Walkin’ in L.A.

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By Joy Hepp

Olvera Street (top). The Metro station at Hollywood and Vine (bottom)

Despite what you might have heard, there are people who walk in L.A. With over 70 miles of metro, it’s possible to get around town sans automobile.


Out-of-towners have more options now because of the advent of a flyaway service that departs every half hour from LAX to Union Station, the city’s main transportation hub.  Metropolitan Transit Authority Spokesman Rick Jagger says his organization is happy to serve transient tourists.

And with day passes that allow you take unlimited trips on the subway, light rail or bus for only $5, you’ll have more money left over to party.

Here’s a suggested itinerary for walkin’ in L.A.:

Friday 7 p.m. Bienvenidos

Arrive at LAX. In front of each terminal there are green signs that say “ FlyAway, Buses and Long Distance Vans.” Take the FlyAway bus marked “Union Station.”

Union Station was built in 1937 and has been painstakingly renovated to maintain its classic style. Order a gin and tonic at the bar in Traxx restaurant. You’ll feel the urge to find the nearest man in a derby hat and invite him to “come up and see (you) sometime.”

9 p.m. Check-in at the Metro Plaza Hotel

Head north on Alameda Avenue, then west on Cesar Chavez Avenue, go north on Main Street and the hotel is on the left.

The Metro Plaza is within easy walking distance to Union Station and has great amenities around $150 a night.

10 p.m. Cocktails at the Rooftop Bar at the Standard

Take the Purple Line West and get off at the first stop, Metro Center. You’ll be let off at Flower Street. Head northeast two blocks. The Standard Hotel is on the right.

On weekends A, B and C-listers compete for the best spots next to the pool and the cocktail waitresses have their own IMDB pages. Magnificent view of the city.

Saturday 10 a.m. Breakfast at Philippe’s
From Metro Hotel head north on Main Street and keep walking after Main turns into Alameda. Philippe’s is on your left-hand side.

Whether or not this downtown staple is the real home of the original French Dip sandwich is debatable. The important thing is that since 1977, it is the home of 10-cent coffee. After all those mojitos at the Standard, you better bring some extra dimes.

11 a.m. Stroll down Olvera Street
Olvera Street is located directly across from Union Station

Known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, Olvera Street is a great place to go to get a feel for the influence that Latinos have had on the creation of this city. There are 27 historic buildings dating back to the 1700’s, along with Mexican restaurants and crafts shops.

3 p.m. Check out Chinatown

Take the Yellow Line North and get off at the Chinatown stop.

Although most major American cities feature a Chinatown, the one in Los Angeles is the original and received official recognition by the city in 1938.

Sunday 10 a.m. Brunch at the Ivy

Take the Metro Red Line West and get off at Wilshire/Western. Walk to the northeast  corner of Wilshire and Western where you will board the Westbound 720 bus. Get off at Wilshire and Robinson. Head north five blocks on Robinson and the Ivy is on the left.

When a celebrity is starved for attention they head to the Ivy to make sure the paparazzi get a good shot. You can just be starving for a good omelet. Don’t fret that you’re not rolling up in a Bentley. The bus stop is a couple blocks away so the Hollywood crowd will think you just walked over from your fabulous bungalow nearby.

1 p.m. Hollywood and Highland

Walk back down Robertson to Wilshire and take the 720 Eastbound bus back to the Wilshire and Western Station. From there, get on the Red Line West to Hollywood and Highland.

After spending the morning trying your best not to look like a tourist, feel free to run wild here along with the masses of international travelers who unabashedly wield cameras and pose for pictures with SpongeBob SquarePants impersonators. Find your favorite movie star or musician on the Walk of Fame and marvel at how small Cantiflas’ feet were compared to Brad Pitt’s in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

5 p.m. Au Revoir

Take the Eastbound Red Line Back to Union Station where you will catch the FlyAway bus back to the airport. Bon voyage!

If next trip you’re interested in planning your own personal tour, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has a great Web site with maps and a trip-planner page. Visit www.Metro.net.

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