As February comes to an end, I wanted to conclude our month dedicated to getting around Los Angeles focused upon my favorite gateways around the city.
Los Angeles’ expanding public transit system has garnered a lot of recent attention, including from our own team here at AHBE Lab. Although I commute into Downtown L.A. on the Metro Expo line, I envy those people who enter the city through Union Station. Whenever I find myself walking through this architectural gem, I feel a rush of nostalgia as I think back to my first visit and being greeted by friends who walked me through the station’s striking waiting room and garden patios, and then out into the streets toward the city’s historic center, the El Pueblo de Los Angeles. That welcoming experience has stayed with me all these years.
LAX Theme Building
I’ve occasionally made fun of the LAX Theme Building. Opened in 1961, the building was part of a post-war expansion of the airport, designed to portray Los Angeles as a city of the future. Today, the architecture looks outdated rather than futuristic—a gateway to a Hollywood theme park comes to mind. Do you remember George Jetson’s home in the animated series “The Jetsons” by Hanna-Barbera? Can you guess what was the inspiration for the Googie-style residence of the Jetson household? The spaceship-like structure can be seen from a distance and has become a L.A. landmark as significant as the Hollywood sign. Over the years, I have grown fond of this odd looking building.
When I see it at the end of a trip, I know I am home.
Pacific Coast Highway
When we moved to L.A. from Boston, we decided to make it a cross-country road trip. We entered L.A. along the coast from Northern California. The last miles along PCH were as exciting as the start of our road trip. As we crossed the county line from Ventura, the coastal landscape views were just as we imagined for Southern California living. It was August; we could feel the warm air; and miles of beach were ahead of us. I imagine that many people have experienced PCH in much the same way. The drive continues to be a part of my life. I can feel myself relax as I drive the short curve out of the McClure Tunnel and see the beach ahead of me — literally the light at the end of the tunnel telling me I’ve returned home