The best way to shop for unique holiday gifts at bargain prices while avoiding traffic at the malls is taking Metrolink trains throughout Southern California and discovering treasures within easy walking distance of the train stations.
From Western wear to classic toys, antiques, jewelry, vintage clothing and the latest fashions, hop on the train. And if buyers take Metrolink on weekends, they’ll start their shopping safari with the best travel bargain anywhere – only $10 for unlimited rides Saturday or Sunday.
Here’s a sample of where to shop for holiday gifts via Metrolink, Southern California’s regional rail network. For more information and an interactive trip planner, go to www.metrolinktrains.com.
Downtown Los Angeles
From Union Station, walk or make free Metro Rail or Metro bus connections to:
(Fashion) Downtown Los Angeles is the hub of the apparel industry on the West Coast. Check out Santee Alley at the Corner of Santee and Olympic in the heart of the Fashion District. Shops are open seven days a week.
(Flowers) The Flower District, six blocks of colorful fragrant blooms, also is in the Fashion District but come early in the morning because most shops close by early afternoon.
(Jewelry) Located near the corner of 6th and Broadway, shoppers can find alluring jewelry from $5 earrings to million dollar necklaces and everything in-between.
(Toys) The Toy District stores are scattered on the edge of Little Tokyo or between 6th and 7th streets east of Alameda, also east and south of Santee Alley. Fidget spinners to electronics are sold, and shoppers can bargain on price as they can elsewhere in downtown Los Angeles.
(Ethnic gifts) From historic Union Station, Metrolink riders can, literally, walk around the world and buy unique wares in Chinatown, Little Tokyo and Olvera Street, the birthplace of Los Angeles where merchants sell custom candles to leather goods. And they won’t go hungry, either.
From Union Station, avid shoppers also can take a free shuttle bus to the Citadel Outlets in Commerce. Board buses at Bay 7 at Patsaouras Plaza.
San Juan Capistrano
Antiques to wine tasting are within steps of the Metrolink station, which is only a two block walk to historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.
Historic downtown Riverside, home to the Mission Inn Hotel and Spa, features antique stores and other specialty shops within an easy stroll of the Metrolink station.
Rope in the feeling of the Old West at Cowboy Boots and Western Wear just several blocks from the train station. Along the way, browse in the Back in the Days Antique & Boutique for unusual gifts.
Vogue Indoor Swap Meet is a short walk from the Metrolink Oxnard station, however, service on the Ventura Line is only offered on weekdays.
There are dozens of quaint stores surrounding Metrolink’s downtown Pomona station including Magic Door VI Book Store and Zoinks Records.
Downtown Fullerton offers a rustic old town atmosphere with a cluster of more than 70 historic buildings, beautiful shade trees, and decorative walkways. See the Leo Fender guitar music exhibit at the Fullerton Museum Center, which sells unique art gifts.
Old Town Newhall
Old Town Newhall is an eclectic shopping, dining and entertainment destination that mixes Old West charm with cosmopolitan appeal. There are many boutique shops along with Hoi Polloi Winery and Pagter Brothers Winery & Tasting Room.
Shoppers might have to make two trips to cover all the stores in Claremont Village by the Metrolink depot. There are plenty of tantalizing restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries along with the Claremont Museum of Art, only a three-minute walk from the Metrolink station.
Within easy walking distance of the Metrolink stop, Old Town Plaza Historic District is a one-mile cornucopia of more than 45 antique and other specialty stores. Ruby’s Diner and its railroad-themed Streamliner Lounge are right next to the Orange Metrolink Station.
Metrolink is Southern California's regional commuter rail service in its 25th year of operation. Metrolink is governed by The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. Metrolink operates seven routes through a six-county, 538 route-mile network. Metrolink’s passengers travel approximately 441 million miles each year, making Metrolink the second busiest public transportation provider in Southern California. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.