Monday, August 8, 2011

#202: Metro Art Tours

Let's take a poll: Have you ever ridden the L.A. Metro Rail System? I'm gonna place my bets on "No, never" and "Wha? We have a Metro?!" Being part of the "No, never" group, I was curious to see how our system stacks up to other cities' rails. I got my chance this past weekend on the Metro Art Tour which runs every first Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of the month. Each tour lasts 2 hours and takes you on a walking and riding exploration of 4 or 5 stations. Best part: it's free!
Last Saturday Brad and I took the 10 am tour that starts at the Hollywood/Highland station. There were about 30 people who showed up, and we split up into two groups. I was amazed to discover that each station is designed by a different artist, and each has a unique theme that reflects its neighborhood. Since the Hollywood/Highland station is right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it pays homage to the cinematic and theatrical side of Hollywood.
Our tour leader began by showing us light projections at the entrance to the station, which were meant to represent the eyes of a glamorous Hollywood starlet looking out at her audience. We then descended into the "belly" of the starlet, represented by steel structures that look like vertebrae, and light fixtures which were modeled after fallopian tubes.
The "belly" is meant to show the human side of the Hollywood starlet
Next we headed to the Vermont/Sunset Station. Since the station is surrounded by three major hospitals and has a great view of the Griffith Observatory, the artist designed it with a futuristic space theme.
The star filled ceiling at the Vermont/Sunset station
Our next stop was the Hollywood/Vine Station which is across from Pantages Theater. Fittingly, the station features old cameras from Paramount and a ceiling covered in 19,000 film reels!
The station also has a Wizard of Oz theme. The artist wanted to have a yellow tiled "road" that led all the way through the station. Unfortunately, the people who implemented his design scattered the tiles around instead of laying them out in a neat path:
Our last stop was the Universal City Station which is next to the historic Campo de Cahuenga where the 1847 treaty was signed in which Mexico relinquished control of California to the U.S.. This station features the Trees of Califas. Each tree trunk is covered with vibrant tiles that chronicle the events leading up to the Capitulation of Cahuenga.
a tree
The party doesn't end once the tour stops. As a parting gift, you get to keep your fancy little Metro pass which lets you ride the Metro for the rest of the day, free of charge!

With 5 lines servicing 70 stations, the Metro Rail is a quick and reliable way to get around the city. Day passes cost only $5. Check it out!
Have you been on the Metro Art Tour? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!
Metro Art Tour


  1. Wow, this looks awesome! Can't wait to check it out.

  2. I LOVE THIS! Great find Jolene!

  3. Here's a link to the Metro Art web site where you can find out more about the free tours. Click on the "Art Tours" tab when you get to the page.