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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Eat Your Way Through Multicultural East L.A.


5. Oddball Day

Check out large-scale artwork at the Geffen Contemporary.  

Devote a day to exploring the arts scene along the Metro Gold Line, starting in the Arts District and Gallery Row, near the Little Tokyo/Arts District Metro station. Enjoy the Hello Kitty foam art topping your organic Spanish latte ($4) at the ecofriendly Urth Caffé, and fill up on breakfast bread pudding with caramelized bananas ($7.50). Then stroll through the neighborhood, which is filled with graffiti art and progressive galleries, making sure to stop into Hive Gallery to check out the selection of “neo-pop” art. From Gallery Row, walk 25 minutes northeast to the Geffen Contemporary, a branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art. Formerly a hardware store and police-car garage, the Frank Gehry–designed space features soaring wire-glass ceilings and large-scale artwork. Show your Metro ticket for that day and you’ll get a two-for-one discount at the museum. Ease into the afternoon over tea at the nearby Chado Tea Room in the Japanese American Museum’s Zen-like Terasaki Garden. Choose from over 335 varieties, including bourbon vanilla ($2.75), and nibble on a Punjab sandwich ($7.95), made with eggs marinated in lapsang souchong smoked tea. Top off the day by heading to Union Station, the nexus of the Metro system and a sight unto itself. The 1939 Spanish Colonial Revival structure houses inlaid marble floors and grand Art Deco chandeliers. Though the station has the requisite grime of an urban crossroads, it still manages to be charming. Relax in one of the thronelike chairs in the waiting room, which is dim and hushed, like an old California Mission, and then hop on the Metro back to your hotel.

Published on Jan 27, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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