Remember the song, “Nobody walks in LA”? Soon Angelenos will change their tune, as the City is launching a slew of new public transportation projects. Here’s what you can expect.
You will ride a subway to Westwood. The city just broke ground on the Westside Subway Extension (yes, LA has a subway), which will eventually extend the purple line all the way to Westwood. The first phase, from Wilshire/Western to Wilshire/La Cienega, will finish in 2023.
You will ride a streetcar downtown. Voters just approved a funding measure that will bring a streetcar back to downtown LA. Pending federal approval, work could start as soon as 2014.
You will get to the beach via train. The second phase of the Expo Line is under construction and will extend all the way to Santa Monica in 2016.
Union Station could rival Grand Central Station. The master planning process is underway for LA’s Union Station. Any actual work won’t start for about a year, but they’re looking at restoring the historic site, making things easier for travelers, and exploring high-speed rail. // Casey Chiotti
The dining scene in Napa Valley is getting more and more Napatastic. Check out The Thomas, which opened this past fall. Housed in the former Fagianni’s bar, itself an old Napa speakeasy, the place is hip and upscale. Order the grilled heritage pork chop with quince glaze. The Pear opened in December, offering reasonably priced Southern fare including a perfect gumbo. In Saint Helena, French Blue (serving American and Cal-Med cuisine, not French!) offers Howard Backen-designed comfy couches and copious natural light, plus a well-considered menu. Goose & Gander, located in the former Martini House, features tasty entrees and sides, and a superb bar. Though Goose & Gander only opened this past summer, they were already in business when the foie gras ban hit California on July 1. They had wonderful goose/duck pâtés and foie gras on the menu, which they removed. However, if you ask for “Fergus” (the name of one of the two geese featured on the menu), they will bring out some delicious, and banned, foie gras. // Bob Ecker
It’s okay to pet the whales.
Gray whales frequent Baja Sur’s Magdalena Bay late January to mid-March. Meet these people-friendly giants with Todos Santos Eco Adventures.
The amount spent each year by visitors who arrive at SAN, according to Airport Authority president and CEO Thella Bowen. “International visitors tend to stay longer and spend more than domestic travelers,” she says. “With the level of international service now in place, it’s the perfect time for a duty-free store.”