[METRO DAYCATION] Off the Gold Line: Highland Park
Welcome to Metro Daycation, our new series exploring Los Angeles’s Metro system, presenting a host of entertainment and cultural opportunities, all located within one mile of a Metro stop.
In this first installment we explore Highland Park, a diverse neighborhood with excellent cuisine and ample ways to spend an afternoon. It’s also highly walkable, with numerous restaurants, bars, shops and attractions just a brief walk from the platform.
GET THERE: Take the Metro Purple Line to the Gold Line. Take the Gold Line towards Azusa and get off at the Highland Park stop.
5629 N Figueroa Street
Grab a cup at Civil Coffee, founded by brothers Alan and Alex Morales. The shop’s pretty tile floor and mirrored bar make it a lovely start to an adventure-filled day. Try the Arroyo, made with espresso, milk and lavender syrup. Small breakfast bites including pastries and quiche are available alongside heartier fare, like avocado toast, sandwiches and huevos rancheros.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
111 S Ave 59
This trendy San Francisco-based bakery opened its first Los Angeles outpost in Highland Park in the fall of 2016. They’re best known for their cruffins, a Frankenstein croissant-muffin hybrid, though they also serve strawberry jalapeño bear claws, sushi-stuffed croissants and other interesting pastries, both savory and sweet. As any bakery should, they also have coffee, espresso and tea. A neon sign reads, “I got baked in Los Angeles.”
MUSEUMS & ART
Los Angeles Police Museum
6045 York Boulevard
Learn about the history of the Los Angeles Police Dept. (LAPD) and Los Angeles’ most sensational crimes at the Los Angeles Police Museum, a small museum housed in an old police station. An outdoor exhibit features a number of LAPD vehicles including a couple old cruisers and a chopper that guests are allowed to enter. Exhibits include displays of badges and uniforms, a row of jail cells and a display of handcuffs from around the world. For true crime fans, there are detailed exhibits on the North Hollywood shootout of 1997, the Onion Field murder and Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army. The latter contains a rifle believed to have belonged to Hearst. Open Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and every third Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and free for members and children 12 and younger.
5558 N Figueroa Street
Chicken Boy is a statue. He has a man‘s body, but the head of a chicken. He once stood atop a fried chicken restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, but now stands sentry at art director Amy Inouye‘s Future Studio Design & Gallery. The gallery is only open on select Saturdays and for gallery events, but Chicken Boy can be viewed at any time.
Avenue 50 Studio
131 N Avenue 50
Avenue 50 Studio is a non-profit arts organization and gallery emphasizing Latinx and Chicanx art. In addition to their diverse shows, they also host poetry readings, film screenings, workshops, lectures and more. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.
Good Girl Dinette
110 N Ave 56
Good Girl Dinette is a casual eatery with vibrant yellow and green chairs and a red lunch counter. The menu by Chef Diep Tran offers Vietnamese and American comfort food, including wings, fries, pho and rice and noodle dishes. On a cold day, a bowl of Grandma’s Porridge—made with brown rice, cabbage, herbs and the optional inclusion of thinly sliced beef—is sublime. Open for lunch and dinner daily, plus brunch on the weekends. Closed Mondays.
Tinfoil Liquor & Grocery
5900 N. Figueroa Street
An old liquor store reopened as Tinfoil, a market and deli, in late 2016. Alcohol, beverages and snacks are available for purchase in the front, but to get into the deli in the back, guests will have to ask the clerk if they sell birthday candles. The clerk will then buzz open a door adorned with a Julie Newmar as Catwoman poster, leading to a deli selling massive sandwiches and sides like potato and macaroni salad. To put “massive” in concrete numbers, a “full loaf” sandwich will cost you $25, but it’s also 24 inches long.
5904 N. Figueroa Street
Vegetarians and vegans will feel at home at Kitchen Mouse, a sunny diner in pastel green with a patio. Open for breakfast and lunch daily, with popular items including their many bowls, a tempeh reuben, snickerdoodle pancakes and breakfast tacos.
Galco’s Old World Grocer
5702 York Boulevard
Galco’s Old World Grocer sells various classic candies, toys and alcohol, plus it has a deli. Yet what Galco‘s is really famous for is soda. Owner John Nese stocks his shop with over 700 unique flavors, including many from small companies that concoct their brews with cane sugar, not corn syrup. Open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bearded Beagle
5926 N Figueroa St.
The Bearded Beagle began as an Etsy shop in 2012 and has since expanded into three brick-and-mortar locations around Los Angeles. Get vintage and recycled clothing, accessories and home decor at the spacious Figueroa location. Key items include retro dresses, jeans and band tees.
5906 1/2 North Figueroa Street
Several record stores can be found within walking distance from the Gold Line, like Permanent Records and Gimme Gimme Records. For something a little different, try Mount Analog. Darker electronica and other unique selections can be sampled via a pair of listening stations, but they also have books, clothing and art.
5604 N. Figueroa Street
Highland Theater is a small movie theater that screens three different films at a time at affordable prices. It only costs $9 for an adult to see a film on the weekends or at night, while matinees are $7 and all seats are just $5 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The theater has been around for over 90 years and doesn’t have the bells and whistles of its more modern brethren, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper place to see a first-run film.
Highland Park Bowl
5621 N. Figueroa Street
This bowling alley originally opened in 1927, but transformed into more of a music venue in the 1980s. The venue ultimately shuttered, but in 2016 the space was resurrected under its original name: Highland Park Bowl. The space has been beautifully restored by 1933 Group, the same folks behind the nearby La Cuevita, North Hollywood’s Idle Hour and Hollywood’s Sassafras. There are eight gorgeous lanes for bowlers, plus a kitchen serving Neapolitan pizzas and two bars slinging beer and signature cocktails (two of which are on draft). Lane rental begins at $50/hour, and each lane can accommodate up to six people. Open Monday through Friday,
5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Greyhound Bar & Grill
5570 N. Figueroa Street
The Greyhound is an uncomplicated pub with a solid selection of craft beer, wine, cocktails and hearty bar food in ample portions. It’s absolutely the sort of comfortable place you might go for a brew after work or on a lazy afternoon off, perhaps before or after catching a matinee at the theater next door. And while the cocktails could be described as creative, you’ll find most specialty drinks are $10 or less.
5631 N Figueroa Street
Cafe Birdie is pretty with its tiled floor and marble tabletop and bar, and the narrow, sun-drenched patio is perfect for a late lunch or early dinner. American/Mediterranean fare includes flavorful entrees like Moroccan fried chicken, steak and fries, and pork cheek ragu. Open for dinner daily and brunch on the weekends.
5635 N Figueroa Street
Walk through Cafe Birdie and you’ll find a small, stand-alone cocktail lounge hidden behind a door that simply reads, “bar.” Inside, a small menu of clever cocktails are available, like the dangerously drinkable Los Angeles Sour (bourbon, peach liqueur, habanero bitter, egg white, blanco vermouth) or the powerful, but balanced Tears Dry on Their Own (mescal, Amari mix, blanco vermouth, rye whiskey). Bartender Alex Barbatsis named the cocktail after the Amy Winehouse track, as both the song and the cocktail are bittersweet. Open daily, 6 p.m. to midnight.
5922 N Figueroa Street
A sister bar to Highland Park Bowl, La Cuevita has a wide selection of tequilas and mescal-based cocktails, in addition to draft and bottled beers. They have a spacious patio, and nightly entertainment includes DJs, comedies, movie nights and live jazz on Sundays. Open 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily. Happy hour every day 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. with $5 cocktails. Free tacos on Tuesday nights.