Aside from using the Pasadena Gold Line as a form of transportation to and from work, it is a great way to explore the cultures of the communites around Pasadena. If you feel the need to “get away” on a day off you can hop on the gold line from any of Pasadena’s six stations. The Pasadena Gold Line will take you to Highland Park where you can visit the Southwest Museum, to Chinatown where there are many restaurants and great art galleries, or the Union Station to visit the historic Olvera Street for a taste of colorful Mexican culture. It’s much more relaxing to explore the culture’s of Los Angeles when you don’t have to worry about the stresses of freeway traffic and parking. Also, exploring the city from a different “avenue” on the Metro Gold Line allows you to see life from a different point of view.
The Southwest Museum of the American Indian is an ideal destination to learn about the history of the native people that once solely inhabited Los Angeles and all other areas of the Southwest. The Southwest Museum’s collection representing the Native American is second largest, next to the Smithsonian Institute. The Gold Line’s Southwest Museum Station is located at the base of Mt. Washington, just below the museum, and is one of only three stations on the line that includes enhanced architectural design.
Chinatown is home to an eclectic community of shops that sell a wide array of bargain priced items. There is also a diversity of restaurants that are consistently featured in the food and dining section of the Los Angeles Times. Aside from Chinese restaurants, you can come to Chinatown for a variety of Asian cuisine, with many restaurants that serve Teochew Chinese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and Thai.
In addition to shopping and dining, there is a surprising amount of art galleries that will allow you build an understanding and appreciation for the Chinese art culture, especially in visiting the Chinese-American museum. Additionaly, there is a selection of many private owned galleries that display the works of many successful contemporary artists from the Los Angeles area.
Olvera Street is also known as the El Pueblo Historic Monument and is thought by many to be the birthplace of the city Los Angeles. In walking through the traditional Mexican style plaza area that features 27 stores, you feel like you are away in a quaint town in Mexico, where you may shop for many handcrafted items and dine at the few authentic Mexican restaurants.
On weekends there is outdoor entertainment featuring Mariachis, Bollero Musicans and performances by Aztec Indians and folkloric dancing.