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bachslunch Apr 21st, 2017 05:15 AM

Proposed Los Angeles itinerary, almost exclusively without a car
Am in the last stages of planning a trip to Los Angeles. Will be staying near the Allen Metro stop, and that is non-negotiable. Have already secured tickets for the two baseball games, the two studio tours, the Getty Villa visit, and the two Pasadena historic houses (Fenyes and Gamble). With the exception of one day (when driven by relatives who live in the area), will not have a car (also non-negotiable, cannot drive) and will be relying on the Metro, buses, and commuter rail.

Have posted this in significant detail, including Metro/bus/commuter rail specifics. Yes, I realize travel times are lengthy, but I'm okay with that.

A few observations:

--wanted to see the two presidential libraries in the area, both of which are challenging to reach without a car, especially in the same day. Have been to several other such places (Adams, Lincoln, Coolidge, Hoover, Truman, Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton) and wanted to include these. Hope also some day to visit those of FDR and LBJ.

--am not going to Universal. Research strongly suggests that the rides and studio tour involve a lot of jostling/jolting and/or IMAX type experiences, which won't work for me -- even the representative spoken with over the phone felt this was unwise -- and lots of shopping, which holds no interest. Disneyland is less of an issue in this regard, so have planned to go there.

--the second Sunday has a bit of flexibility. Will start with the Lummus House regardless, but after that will either do a second visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art or go to Little Tokyo and the Japanese Museum. Still undecided about the Watts Towers but will only do it in conjunction with Little Tokyo. Will be interested to see how the Metro ride on the Blue Line to Long Beach goes, as that will help decide.

Gold Line Allen to Union Station, Red Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Expo Line to Expo Park (1.5 hr)
--Natural History Museum (9:30-5)
--California Science Center (10-5)
--California African American Museum (10-5)
--USC Doheny Memorial Library (Pacific Asia exhibit, closes at 8 pm)
Expo Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Red Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen

Gold Line Allen to Union Station, Red Line to Civic Center/Grand Park (1 hr), then walk to all
--Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (6:30-6)
--City Hall (8-5)
--Bradbury Building (9-6)
--Grand Central Market (8am-10pm)
--Walt Disney Concert Hall (10-2 usually, check first)
--Museum of Contemporary Art (11-6)
--Los Angeles Central Library (10-8)
--Grammy Museum (10:30-6:30) at LA Live
Walk to 7th St./Metro Center, Red Line to Union Station, Gold line to Allen

Gold Line Allen to Union Station (.75 hr)
--El Pueblo de Los Angeles (9-5, Avila Adobe VC opens, gen tour 10)
Gold Line to Memorial Park (.75 hr) then walk to all
--Fenyes Mansion, 470 W. Walnut St. (12:15-1:30 pm tour)
--Gamble House (2-3 pm tour)
--Norton Simon Museum (12-5, to 8 S-S may add on to Sunday later)
Gold Line Memorial Park to Union Station (.75 hr), shuttle to LA Dodgers evening game (1.5 hr before game time, .75 hr after)
Gold line Union Station to Allen

Gold Line Allen to Union Station, Red Line to 7th St/Metro Ctr., Expo Line to Downtown Santa Monica, bus #534 (2.5 hr) to
--Getty Villa (10 am, hours 10-5)
534 bus to downtown Santa Monica, Expo Line to Expo/Sepulveda, 234 bus to
--Getty Center (10-9)
234 bus to Expo/Sepulveda, Expo Line to 7th St/Metro Ctr., Red Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen.

Walk to
--Huntington Library and Gardens (10:30-4:30)
Walk to Gold Line Allen to Union Station, red line to Vermont/Sunset, shuttle bus to
--Griffith Observatory (10-10)
shuttle bus to Vermont/Sunset, Red Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen.

Gold Line Allen to Union Station, Red Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Blue Line to Downtown Long Beach (2.5 hr)
--Aquarium of the Pacific (9-6)
--Queen Mary (10-6)
Blue Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Red Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen

7:15am, Gold Line Allen to Del Mar (.5 hr), 7:53 am, 501 bus to W. Olive/N. Hollywood (1 hr)
--Warner Bros. Studio Tour (9am)
Riverside & Hollywood Way (ca. 11 am) Bus #155 to Glenoaks/Verdugo, Bus #96 to Zoo
--Gene Autry Center (10-4)
--Zoo? (10-5)
Bus #96 to Griffith Park/Los Feliz, Bus #180/181 to Hollywood/Vine. Red Line Hollywood/Vine to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen

Gold Line Allen to Union Station, Red Line to Hollywood/Vine, DASH bus Hollywood-Wilshire line from Hollywood and Argyle to Melrose/Windsor (2 hr)
--Paramount Studio Tour (9:30)
Melrose & Windsor DASH bus Hollywood-Wilshire line to Hollywood/Vine, Red Line to Hollywood/Highland
--Hollywood Museum (10-5)
Walk to Grauman's Chinese Theater, Movie Stars Homes Tours (Starline? Every half hour until sunset, 2 hrs)
--Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Egyptian Theatre, Capitol Records Building, Hollywood Walk of Fame
Red Line Hollywood/Highland to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen.

Gold Line Allen to Union Station, Red Line to Vermont/Sunset (1.5 hr)
-- Hollyhock House (Th-Su 11-3:30)
Vermont and Barnsdall 204 bus south, Vermont and Wilshire 720 bus to Westwood and Wilshire (1.5 hrs)
--Hammer Museum (11-8)
Westwood and Wilshire #1 Big Blue Bus to Main and Venice (1 hr)
--Venice Beach boardwalk to Santa Monica
--Santa Monica Pier
Expo Line Downtown Santa Monica subway to 7th St/Metro Ctr., Red Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen.

Gold Line Allen (ca. 7:45am) to Union Station, Purple Line to Wilshire/Western, Bus #20 to Wilshire & Curson (1.5 hr)
--Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits (9:30-5)
--Peterson Auto Museum (10-6)
--Craft and Folk Art Museum (11-5)
--Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M, Tu, Th 11-5, F 11-8, S-S 10-7)
Bus #20 to Wilshire/Western, Purple Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen.

Rides to
--Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, 40 Presidential Dr., Simi Valley (10-5)
--Richard Nixon Presidential Library, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda (10-5, 11-5 Sun)
LA Angels game
AMTRAK back, 11:00 pm to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen

Gold Line Allen to Southwest Museum (.75 hr)
--Lummis House (10-2)
Gold Line Southwest Museum to Union Station, Red Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Blue Line to 103rd St. (1.25 hr)
--Watts Towers (Fr 11-3, Sa 10:30-3, Su 12:30-3)
Blue Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Red Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District
--Japanese American National Museum (Tu-Su 11-5, to 8 on Th)
Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District to Allen.
Blue Line to 7th St./Metro Center, Purple Line to Wilshire/Western, Bus #20 to Wilshire & Curson
--Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M, Tu, Th 11-5, F 11-8, S-S 10-7)
Bus #20 to Wilshire/Western, Purple Line to Union Station, Gold Line to Allen.

5:50am Gold Line to Union Station, 6:50am Orange County commuter rail to Anaheim, 430 bus, OR
6:40am Gold Line Allen to Union Station, 7:58am Orange County commuter rail to Anaheim, 430 bus (2.25 hr)
--Disneyland (8 or 9-5) (Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, New Orleans Sq., Enchanted Tiki Room, Main Street, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln and Disney Gallery, Town Sq., Partners Statue, Fantasyland, Sleeping Beauty Castle Walk-Through, It's a Small World, Monorail, anything else there is time for)
5pm 430 bus to Anaheim Station, 5:39pm Orange County commuter rail train to Union Station, Gold Line Union Station to Allen (2.25 hrs)

BigRuss Apr 21st, 2017 08:36 AM

What is your question?

Jean Apr 21st, 2017 09:31 AM

I commend your very thorough research into the many public transportation options in the L.A. area, but I fear some of the days will not unfold as planned.

It's unclear whether you understand the time required to walk between many of the points and the time needed to (even minimally) explore the sights on your list. (You can search walking times on You will need time for lunch and/or snacks, bits of time will be lost throughout the day waiting for buses and trains, and there will be distractions along the way that eat up time. Time, time, time. You'll be a slave to the clock most days. You should prioritize each day's list and accept that you may not see everything and on some days not even half.

You'll need a timed reservation for the Getty Villa even though you're arriving by bus. The driver needs to punch your reservation ticket in order for you to enter the Villa. Some galleries are currently closed for exhibit changes and part of the Outer Peristyle is closed for maintenance, but you can check to see if the work will be complete when you will be there.

If this trip is in summer, how well do you handle high temperatures?

Tabernash2 Apr 21st, 2017 10:02 AM

I applaud your intent to use public transport, as well. I hope the buses run on time for you. They are not exactly reliable.

janisj Apr 21st, 2017 10:31 AM

The OP is nearly as long as the trip ;) (only a slight exaggeration) and I haven't read the whole thing yet . . . but I skimmed to find the presidential libraries bits. That Saturday is totally 100% impossible. Even IF the two were no so far apart, each takes quite a bit of time for even a cursory visit.

travisblue Apr 21st, 2017 11:12 AM

If you don't already have it, install the "transit" app. Shows real time bus arrivals/departures, I use it daily and find it is about 95% accurate. I like it better than the Metro app, but you should install that one as well. Good luck!

bachslunch Apr 21st, 2017 11:22 AM

A few answers, and thanks all for the feedback. Am hoping Metro and buses run okay, and will just have to improvise if they don't. Did leave some leeway in travel times. Other feedback welcome, but have tried to anticipate problems. Hopefully have managed to do so as much as possible.

Jean: Yes, fine with high temperatures. Have gotten timed 10am reservation already for Getty Villa, and while it looks like some of it is closed for renovation, there's a sufficient amount open to warrant the trip. Usually not much for lunch and almost never a sit-down, usually skip it or grab a fast snack on the go.

janisj: The presidential libraries was the driving day. Was planning ca. 2 hours at each (which is about the amount of time I've spent at presidential libraries in the past) and travel time via Google driving on a Saturday says ca. 2 hours. Add in lunch (the folks driving likely won't go for my usual quick snack grab) and am figuring that's:

10-12: Reagan Library
12-3: drive and lunch along the way
3-5: Nixon Library

No good?

jamie99 Apr 21st, 2017 12:07 PM

Be very careful on the Blue Line (I would drop it altogether, the Queen Mary is not all that interesting and we stayed on board the hotel several times in the past). In fact read the Yelp reviews:
You pass through some less than stellar neighborhoods like Watts and Willowbrook and your travel companions may or may not be familiar with soap.

michelhuebeli Apr 21st, 2017 12:16 PM

Congratulations on your wonderful program!

As a longtime former L.A. resident and - these days - frequent visitor who absolutely loves the city and region and all it has to offer, I am throwing in the towel: If you succeed at executing your plan, you will have seen more in two weeks than I have in all my years, and, I guess, more than most longtime residents have.

And all this by public transport (which largely didn’t exist when I lived there)- fabulous!

If you leave in time to get to the Reagan library as it opens, you should make it to the Nixon library as you outlined it. Yes, at first it seems impossible, but it should work out.

Be aware that the Moma has three locations, and the one almost across from Disney Hall may not have the most exciting exhibit (for your tastes) at the time of your visit, look it up at

Unless the exhibit interests you, a visit is not really recommended, the building is nothing special, inside or out, just a sober modern functional edifice.

Also check out the pretty Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (where the L.A. Phil played before the Disney opened), a few steps down the street, at least the plaza if you can’t get inside.

The Norton Simon is an absolute gem! Make time for a contemplative moment in the lovely sculpture garden. They offer nice sustenance out back.

Make sure to look at the interior of Union Station (the train station itself).

I’m not sure if you stated when this trip will happen, but Angels Flight should be open again by Labor Day, so check into it - see

You’ll be sort of in the neighborhood of the Ambassador Auditorium - maybe visit on the same day as the Norton Simon? And see if there are any performances of interest? and

In addition to the Huntington I like the (quite different) Arboretum - at 301 N Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, CA, 91007 -

If “real” modern lively Jazz is your thing, my favorite place is the Blue Whale, - usually from 9 to midnight, casual, no-frills, it’s all about the music.

If your friends can spare a few hours, ask them to drive you up to the Griffith Observatory - - at least as much for the location as for what’s inside. An amazing oasis in the middle of L.A., and the views aren’t half bad, either.

I could go on and on, but your plan is soooo good already, I wish you the stamina to execute it, and I thank you for reminding me of many items I have yet to explore!

janisj Apr 21st, 2017 12:28 PM

I assumed you were using public transport that Sat because you mentioned the train back to LA. Driving, it would <i>just about</i> be doable. Just.

bachslunch Apr 21st, 2017 01:57 PM

michelhuebeli, thanks so much for the feedback. Very helpful!

jamie99: agreed, will keep wits about me on the Blue Line, given where it runs. Am basing any prospective visit to the Watts Towers in part on my experience going to Long Beach and back. Reports suggest folks have gone to the Watts Towers via Metro without issue, otherwise would not consider such a visit.

janisj: sorry if was confusing on the car day. My error.

maitaitom Apr 21st, 2017 02:32 PM

Reagan and Nixon on the same day will be interesting. Saturday afternoons in the southland can be a busy freeway day, especially the 210 east, which is one route to consider. Today at 2:30, it shows the fastest drive from Reagan to Nixon will take you 2 1/2 hours. A Saturday will be faster, but the 210 east from noon on is usually a zoo on Saturdays.


Guenmai Apr 21st, 2017 03:27 PM

I agree about the 210 East. Yikes!

It's good that you're staying here in Pasadena as our city is beautiful and there's lots to do. I'd also throw in the Norton Simon and there's also the California Museum of Art. The Norton Simon is a 5-minute walk from the Gamble House. I lived down the street from the Gamble House, between the house and the Rose Bowl, for nearly 20 years. Nice area. It's very easy to get around here in Pasadena. I live in downtown Pasadena now and walk all over the place, from Lake Ave to the east to Old Town to the west. I was just at a really fun, Playhouse District social yesterday evening. You'll have plenty to do.

Happy Travels!

maitaitom Apr 21st, 2017 03:49 PM

Some good Pasadena restaurants...

Union (reservations required)

Breakfast or dinner - Cafe Verde

Celestino Ristorante

Straight up Allen is AltaEats...haven't eaten here in a couple of years, but our friends just went and said as good as always.


Jean Apr 21st, 2017 05:32 PM

Disney Hall and MOMA are in the same couple of blocks as the relatively new Broad Museum. For modern/contemporary art, I'm of the opinion the Broad is more interesting than the MOMA. I'm more into history than contemporary art, and I find the Japanese American Museum more interesting than both art museums. I admit these are my personal preferences, and yours may not agree.

Entry to the Broad is free, but you need a timed reservation.

FWIW, I've ridden the Blue Line solo many times (although not later than 6:00p and not recently on the segment between the Green Line and Long Beach) and have never felt less than safe. Having said that, while the aquarium is interesting, the QM and Long Beach in general would not to me be worth the travel time on public trans. Again, personal preference. However, if you eliminated the Long Beach day, you'd have lots of time to cover the other things on your list.

michelhuebeli mentioned Angel's Flight (featured in the movie "La La Land") being open by Labor Day (first weekend in September). That would be great, but I wouldn't count on the timing. The operation of AF has a very long history of delay after delay after delay interrupted by long periods of neglect.

Iwan2go Apr 21st, 2017 08:25 PM

Your itinerary would be exhausting for me, but different strokes and all that. I live in the Northern San Fernando valley, and am thrilled that you're staying in Pasadena. It's the most walkable city and has such great restaurants! We love Racion on Green street for Basque tapas.

Our daughter was married in the gardens of the Feynes mansion, which is beautifu, but if I had to cut something, that would be one I'd consider. The Gamble House is an architectural masterpiece. I'm glad to see that you've given a good amount of time to the Huntington.

bachslunch Apr 22nd, 2017 12:47 AM

Thanks all! Excellent information.

Great to know about the Broad Museum, which will have time for and flew totally under my radar -- will get ticket for this.

mlgb Apr 22nd, 2017 07:49 AM

Great research. I'd suggest at least two days for downtown. I used to work downtown and loved walking to all of the many things to see and do, there is also a DASH circulator bus if you get tired. ..I haven't visited the Grammy museum though. For City Hall, you have to go through airport type screening, so don't carry any guns or knives! Try to see if there are any hearings in either the Council Chambers or Public Works Hearing Room, both are gorgeous. There have been many movies and TV shows which filmed in the "rotunda" my favorite being that it was the Vatican for Thornbirds.

Are you a fan of Contemporary Art? I am not but always have to drag a friend to those museums. The one in Financial District I probably like the best. The Broad is next to Disney Hall so might as well visit. There are other museums I'd rather spend more time in.

I might also not do the trip to Long Beach, and I live here. instead I'd make sure to allow a second full day for downtown.

maitaitom Apr 22nd, 2017 10:29 AM

Just an FYI...right now at 10:30 on a Saturday morning, the drive is 1 hour and 40 minutes between Reagan and Nixon libraries. Bring your patience.


DebbieDoesDulles Apr 22nd, 2017 01:28 PM

Perhaps you can find a slot one day to take the Gold Line to Union Station and the Metrolink Train to Reagan Library (Uber ride needed from train station to library)...leaving you much more time on that Saturday to enjoy Nixon Library and something else in Orange County with your driver.

I don't understand how you have a driver all day but then take the train home from the Angels game, but I'm sure you have an interesting explanation.

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