The Metro Gold Line is an easy way to travel for work, school, shopping, and entertainment. Residents and visitors can travel to Chinatown, Colorado Boulevard, Old Pasadena, Pasadena City College, the Southwest Museum and so much more.
See the cultural sights of Chinatown, explore the history of Old Pasadena, learn more about Southwest history, take a class at Pasadena City College – there's plenty to do and the Metro Gold Line can take you there! (This tour includes Chinatown and El Pueblo de Los Angeles tours.)
To get to the start of the tour:
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Important Note: Please make sure to always check times and schedules for transportation, destinations and events.
This tour makes the following stops along the Gold Line:
Southwest Museum Station
Del Mar Station
Union Station (Metro Red / Gold Line Transfer)
From Union Station/Gateway Transit Center Metro station proceed to exit the building at the Alameda Street entrance. As you exit the building, continue to walk west towards Alameda Street. At the crosswalk, proceed across the street to South Los Angeles Street. You will see a plaza immediately in front of you.
Although nothing remains of the original pueblo built by the 44 settlers who founded Los Angeles in 1781, there are 27 historic buildings at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Park, eleven of which are open to the public.
At the heart of El Pueblo de Los Angeles is the Plaza (1825-30). Highlighted by a wrought-iron bandstand, beautiful statues, and the site of many fiestas and concerts, you will find the Pobladores Plaque commemorating the 44 founding settlers of Los Angeles. Moving around the Plaza, notice the two beautiful bronze sculptures commemorating two figures that played a role in the founding of Los Angeles,Felipe De Neve and King Carlos III of Spain.
At the corner of Main and Arcadia streets, explore three buildings that are Italianate in style, and grand in history. The oldest building south of the Plaza, Masonic Hall (1858) (416 ?N. Main St.) now houses a museum of Masonic memorabilia. Right next door, the Merced Theatre (420 N. Main St.), built by William Abbot in 1870, was the first theatrical center for performances in Los Angeles. Finally, walk past thePico House (1870), commissioned by Pío Pico, the last governor of Mexican California.
Anchoring the southeast corner of the Plaza is Firehouse No. 1 (1884) (134 Paseo de la Plaza). Los Angeles' original fire station until 1897, it also served as a saloon, boarding house and store. Restored in 1960, the building currently holds a museum filled with late 19th century fire-fighting equipment and memorabilia.
Across the street from the Plaza and to the west is the Old Plaza Church (535 Main St.), first established in 1784 as a chapel. The oldest Catholic Church in the city, the interior displays ornate designs of wrought iron and gold leaf. A collection of religious canvases adorns the altar and murals grace the ceilings. Today,Our Lady Queen of Angels serves as an active church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Just east of the Plaza, cross Los Angeles Street to Father Serra Park, site of the Lugo Adobe. Here, a statue of Father Junipero Serra depicts him draped in priest's robes as he gazes at a cross held in his raised right hand while holding a medal of Mission San Carlos de Borromeo in his left hand. This memorial to Father Serra honors the Franciscan padre's role in the colonization of California and his founding of the first nine of California's eventual twenty-one missions.
Originally the United Methodist Church Conference headquarters, the Biscailuz Building (1925-26) is named in honor of Eugene Biscailuz, former Los Angeles County Sheriff. Having housed the Mexican Consulate General for almost 30 years, it is now home to the Mexican Cultural Institute (125 Paseo de la Plaza;213/624-3660), which offers an impressive collection of Spanish-language literature, traditional Mexican handicrafts, as well as exhibitions of traditional and contemporary Mexican art in its gallery. At the entrance, don't miss a mural painted by Leo Politi entitled, Blessing of the Animals. Capturing a colorful mix of animals and people to depict a popular event that has been an annual tradition on the Plaza since 1938, Politi's mural recalls some of the people who have participated in the ceremony over the years.
Scheduled to open in 2003, the Chinese American Museum (125 Paseo de la Plaza;213/626-5240) is the first museum in Southern California dedicated to the Chinese American experience and history. Housed inside the oldest surviving Chinese buildings located in the City, namely the Garner Building (423 N. Los Angeles Street) and the adjacent structure (425 N. Los Angeles Street), the 7,200 square foot museum site stands at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument. Constructed exclusively for use by the Chinese community in the 1890s, both buildings housed shops, schools, temples, churches, and businesses as well as hold dances and theatrical performances between the 1890s to the 1940s. The Garner Building was once regarded as the unofficial "city hall" of Los Angeles' Chinese community, and is now a perfect cultural symbol for housing an institution dedicated to the Chinese American experience.
A colorful marketplace lined with merchants offering a wide variety of Mexican and Latin American merchandise and artisan goods, Olvera Street opened on April 20, 1930. Representing many of the customs and trades of early California, Olvera Street's shops have leather goods, jewelry and western wear. You may even catch a glimpse of a glass blower at work. For lunch, venture into the Pelanconi House (1855-57), one of the earliest buildings made of fired brick to experience some authentic Mexican cuisine at Casa la Golondrina (17 Olvera St.; 213/628-4349).
Along Olvera Street, several buildings that provide a window into early Los Angeles are open to the public. Avila Adobe (ca. 1818), built by Don Francisco Avila, is the oldest existing house in Los Angeles. Serving as headquarters for Commodore Robert Stockton during the Mexican-American War, and later as a boarding house and restaurant, it now houses a museum representing the lifestyle of Los Angeles in the 1840s. Be sure to visit the Christine Sterling exhibit and the History of the Water in Los Angeles exhibit donated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Just a few steps away, an example of Victorian Eastlake architecture was built to combine residential and commercial activities by Eloisa Martinez de Sepulveda. Today, the Sepulveda House (1887) hosts historical exhibits and the Park's Visitor Center.
Just before leaving Olvera Street, take a second to look down at the Path of Zanja Madre. Abandoned in 1904, the Zanja system served as the first water system for Los Angeles. To show where the original Zanja Madre (or mother ditch) had brought water to the pueblo, its path is marked on the street with diagonal bricking.
Chinatown Station (Metro Gold Line)
From the Chinatown Gold Line Metro station, proceed to street level and walk west on College Street to Broadway. Walk north on Broadway to Bernard Street, and turn left.
By the 1860s a Chinese settlement emerged in the area of the old Plaza, expanding eastward across Alameda by the turn of the century. A combination of political, economic, and social pressures caused the relocation of Chinatown to make way for the construction of the new Union Station rail terminal. One of the remaining structures of Old Chinatown, the 1890 Garnier Building in El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, houses the Chinese American Museum.
Find the headquarters of the Chinese Historical Society of Southern California (415 Bernard Street). Next door, the Chinatown Heritage and Visitors Center (411 Bernard) provides exhibits, which include historic photos and archeological artifacts, as well as a library and bookshop, focused on the history of Chinese Americans in Southern California. Call 323/222-1918 for information and Visitor Center hours.
Across the street, Bamboo Plaza (988 N. Hill Street) is home to the famous Empress Pavilion Restaurant (213/617-9898) featuring Cantonese cuisine and dim sum. Bamboo Plaza also has a variety of shops.
Proceed east on Bernard Street, returning back to North Broadway and turn right.
Have a craving for something sweet? Phoenix Bakery (969 N. Broadway; 213/628-4642) is the oldest and largest bakery in Chinatown with a citywide reputation for its strawberry whipped cream cakes.
Continue south on North Broadway.
Be enchanted by the quaint walkways and tiny shops at Central Plaza (947 N. Broadway). Hear the sounds of clicking mahjong tiles from upstairs windows and open doors, where many of Chinatown's family associations hold their social meetings. A popular place for filming, Central Plaza is known for its distinctive "Gate of Maternal Virtues," a statue of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, founder of the Republic of China, and a wishing well dating to 1939. Within Central Plaza, Hop Louie Restaurant (950 Mei Ling Way; 213/628-4244), formerly the Golden Pagoda Restaurant, boasts a five-tier pagoda originally constructed in 1941.
Return back to Broadway, and walk south.
Continuing south, on the left side of the street are Saigon Plaza, Chinatown Plaza and Dynasty Center(800 block of North Broadway). Chinatown’s newest ethnic Chinese immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos own most of the shops and stalls. These bazaars offer real bargains on clothing, toys, and knickknacks of all kinds. As you walk on the east side of the street your attention will be caught by a number of jewelry stores sparkling with 24K gold and exquisite jade creations.
On the corner of Alpine and Broadway is Cathay Bank (777 N. Broadway), the first Chinese American-owned bank in Southern California. Established in 1962, Cathay Bank has grown to be one of the strongest banks in the Region with offices throughout California and other states. This distinctive building was designed by noted Chinese American architect Eugene Kinn Choy.
Also on this block is Far East Plaza, considered the first modern ethnic shopping mall in America. Originally a retail plaza exclusively for food, Far East Plaza still houses several restaurants serving varying styles of Regional cuisine that can be found nowhere else in Chinatown. It is home to Wing Hop Fung Ginseng and China Products Center (727 N. Broadway; 213/626-7200), the largest store of its kind in Los Angeles, its fragrant with herbs and tea, and overflowing with chinaware, garments, arts and crafts. A pharmacy and acupuncturist are also located inside.
As you walk south on North Broadway, notice the Chinatown Gateway (600 N. Broadway). This monument stands 25 feet high, featuring twin dragons appearing to descend from the clouds while resting on four steel pillars. Erected in 2001, the design symbolizes luck, prosperity and longevity, a popular theme in Chinese Art.
At the corner of North Broadway and Ord Street, turn right and walk west on Ord Street and continue two blocks to Yale Street and turn right again.
A little detour will take you into another world: the incense-filled Ten Ho Temple (750 Yale Street). This ornately decorated temple serves as a focal point of the immigrant community and is one of the most beautiful of its kind. As with any religious institution, please be respectful of worshippers and staff on the premises.
Walk north on Yale to College Street, and make a right on College Street.
As you walk down Yale Street, you’ll pass Castelar Elementary School, the only elementary school in Chinatown, and the second oldest continuing elementary school in the entire city. The school used to be home of the Chinatown Branch Library, one of the busiest branches in the city, until February 2003 when a brand new building was built to house the library on the corner of Hill and Ord streets.
At the corner of Yale and College streets, you will pass the Pacific Alliance Medical Center (531 W. College St.). Formerly the French Hospital, it was one of the first hospitals in Los Angeles to serve the city's French population and boasts a statue of Joan of Arc on the front lawn. Today, the hospital is run by enterprising doctors and serves the local Chinatown community.
Along College Street, walk one block east to Hill Street. Turn right on Hill Street and walk south.
Along Hill Street, the Chinese United Methodist Church (825 Hill St.) exemplifies a unique blending of Chinese and American architecture dating to the 1940s designed by Gilbert Leong. The Chinese United Methodist Church was established in 1877 as a mission for the growing Chinese community, and is the oldest Chinese Christian Church in Los Angeles. The Church offers Sunday services as well as providing social services to the community.
Turn around and walk north on Hill Street to the 900 block.
Further north on Hill Street is West Plaza (940 N. Hill St.). Built in the late 1940s, West Plaza houses businesses on the ground floor and residences upstairs. In addition to an eclectic collection of specialty Chinese shops with souvenirs, furniture, and clothing, the plaza is also home to a burgeoning new art community of avant-garde galleries, with several located on Chung King Road.
Return back the Chinatown Station and continue on the Gold Line to Southwest Museum Station.
Southwest Museum Station (Metro Gold Line)
Exit the Southwest Museum Station and proceed up Museum Drive to the Southwest Museum
The Southwest Museum (234 Museum Drive; 323 / 221-2164) holds one of the nation's most important museum, library, and archive collections related to the American Indian. In addition it has extensive holdings of Prehispanic, Spanish Colonial, Latino, and Western American art and artifacts. For eighty years it has supported research, publications, exhibitions, and other educational activities to advance the public's understanding and appreciation of the Americas, with particular emphasis on the Western United States and Mesoamerica.
The collections of the Southwest Museum represent Native American cultures from Alaska to South America. The museum contains some of the finest examples of Indian art and artifacts in the United States. Beyond this primary emphasis, the Southwest Museum holds important collections of Mesoamerican and South American pre-Columbian pottery and textiles, and Hispanic folk and decorative arts.
Stop by the Casa de Adobe, located directly below the Southwest Museum. It was completed in 1918 by the Hispanic Society of California and donated to the Museum in 1925. Modeled after the Rancho Guajome, a pre-1850s Spanish California rancho, the Casa was designed by the office of architect Theodore Eisen and constructed in the traditional manner by local adobe craftsmen. It comprises a series of rooms surrounding a central patio.
Plan to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the afternoon at Sycamore Grove Park ( 4702 N. Figueroa; 323/256-7721) the nearest of the many parks along the Arroyo Seco. In the shade of the sycamores are many picnic tables and lots of room to play.
Return to the Southwest Museum Gold Line Station and continue on your way to the Del Mar Station.
Del Mar Station (Metro Gold Line)
Bordered by Marengo Ave. on the East and Pasadena Avenue on the West, Old Town Pasadena stretches from Holly Street on the North to Green Street on the South. The Del Mar station is on the southern edge of Old Pasadena and within walking distance of an abundance of shops, restaurants and theaters. Across the street is Central Park, the site of many special events including the city's annual jazz festival. The station itself is surrounded by several residential buildings, public plaza areas, retail stores and the restored Santa Fe Depot.
Better known as the street on which the major portion of the annual Rose Parade takes place, Colorado Boulevard is the main strip of Old Pasadena and is packed with pedestrians and vehicles nightly. A mecca of entertainment, dining and shopping, Old Pasadena and bordering areas including South Lake Avenue have become increasingly popular as tourist attractions and night spots.