Editor’s note: With the opening of the Expo Line’s extension to Santa Monica, locals have a new way to explore neighboring areas. The Daily Press will publish a weekly travelogue about what to eat, see and do near each of the stations along the Expo Line, continuing this week at the eastern terminus.
It’s the end of the line, but it’s just the beginning.
When you ride the Expo Line to its eastern terminus at the 7th Street/Metro Center station in Downtown Los Angeles, your options are seemingly endless.
There’s food, drink and entertainment aplenty, not to mention historic architecture, iconic landmarks and numerous attractions in almost every direction.
Whether your journey involves walking, biking or transferring to another Metro station, the highlights of DTLA await. Indeed, there’s probably something missing from this list of ideas, and that’s telling.
Check out the Central Library.
Nearly 89 miles of shelving are packed into the main branch of the Los Angeles Public Library system, whose 538,000-square-foot headquarters were originally constructed in 1926.
Take in the architecture of the Central Library (630 W. 5th St.), located northeast of the station between Flower Street and Grand Avenue, which also features a literacy center and auditorium as well as an adjacent 1.5-acre public park.
It’s an homage to information, a towering tribute to knowledge and those who seek it.
Loop through the downtown core.
Grab your walking shoes, water bottle and sense of adventure and see the many sights of Downtown Los Angeles.
Meander your way to Pershing Square (532 S. Olive St.), a public park that hosts concerts and other events throughout the year. Then head north on Hill Street to see Angels Flight, the now-defunct funicular that for decades carried riders between the downtown core and Bunker Hill.
Now you’re close to Grand Central Market (317 S. Broadway), a longtime food court and vendor emporium whose popularity has soared in recent years.
Make sure to pop in at The Last Bookstore (453 S. Spring St.), where you can walk through a tunnel of books and peruse the store’s selection of new and used titles.
Admire the beauty of Union Station.
It’s much more than a place to catch a train.
There’s something special about walking through Union Station (800 N. Alameda St.), whose age-old elegance earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Its high ceilings and marble accents make it a popular location for private events and film shoots.
To get to Union Station from the 7th Street/Metro Center station, transfer (for free) to the Red Line or Purple Line and ride for three quick stops.
Enhance your journey by walking out the front doors of the transit hub and heading north a few blocks to Philippe The Original (1001 N. Alameda St.), which has been serving French dip sandwiches for almost a century. Pro tip: The pastrami is even better than the classic roast beef.
Fill your belly at Smorgasburg.
Can I interest you in an oversized pork belly taco served with cabbage on Indian flatbread? How about a corn tortilla topped with pollo asado, mildly spicy green sauce and a few French fries for good measure?
Those are just two of the hundreds of items available on Sundays at Smorgasburg, a Brooklyn-born food festival that recently established a West Coast edition on the grounds of the Alameda Produce Market in southeast DTLA.
The array of options at Smorgasburg (785 Bay St.) is overwhelming. And while it’s hard to accept that you’ll only have the stomach space to sample food from a fraction of the vendors, the sheer variety is reason enough to go.
Here’s the catch: Getting to Smorgasburg from the Expo Line terminus requires a significant journey. You can activate your hunger by walking or biking 1.7 miles east on 7th Street, or you can use a ridesharing service. Regardless, it’s totally worth the trip.
The Expo Line now has 19 stations covering 15.2 miles between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. A regular one-way fare is $1.75 and includes two hours of free transfers for riders using a TAP card. A daily pass good for unlimited rides on Metro is $7 and monthly passes are $100. Visit taptogo.net for more information.