Los Angeles may have invented the traffic jam! In a city with so much to see, it can be frustrating to try and fit everything in. You don't want to be wasting time sitting in traffic but there is a great cheap way to see so many of the things on your list. Dodge the smog and pay just $5 for the privilege.
A simple subway network cruises silently beneath the town, connecting to light rail and buses, taking passengers from LA International Airport to Long Beach and Hollywood and everywhere in between. The system is easy to understand, and is clean and safe with undercover guards on 24-hour patrol.
There's a lot of art and quirky architecture decorating the stations, and canny locals reckon it beats the freeways hands down. People who hadn't visited downtown in years and years now go regularly.
Red, Gold and Blue lines appear on the Metro map, but the Red Line is the one you need to take to see the biggest attractions. Many people use it as a way to have a culinary tour of LA. There's a large Chinatown, Koreatown, loads of Mexican areas, Cuban restaurants you name it and chances are you can find your favourite cuisine.
Grand Central Markets, the first market in the city, has been a bustling place since 1917. It's like the United Nations of food under one roof. Expect to see traditional snacks and fresh fruit and vegetables alongside stalls selling catfish soup and shrimp tacos. It's all very affordable and a great way to sample the cuisine of other nations. The market is open every day between 9am and 6pm.
Hollywood/Highland Station takes you right to the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards. You'll see the famous Hollywood sign and Hollywood Hills and there's the opportunity to do some good shopping at the Hollywood and Vine Shopping Centre.
Opposite Universal Studios Station is a free shuttle bus to Universal City Walk just outside the studios. It's an attraction in itself with food, retail outlets and entertainment. Make sure you drop in to the Saddle Ranch Chophouse. It has free entertainment. Shuttles run every 15 minutes until 8pm.
Around Los Angeles.
Subway all-day passes are around $5.
For further information
Metro Red Line
Grand Central Market
317 S Broadway
Los Angeles, California 90013
United States of America
Ph: +1 213 624 2378
Fax: +1 213 624 9496
Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months validity after the departure day, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. From January 2009 Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at www.cbp.gov/esta.
Electricity: Electric current is 110V-115V, 60Hz AC. Outlets take two-parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.
Time zone: The United States has nine standard time zones. California is on Pacific Time which is GMT-8 hours.
Currency: The American dollar.
International dialling code: +1.
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