Okay, Red Car, but close.
Atwater Village may have a Red Car Mural, but here in San Pedro we have an authentic Red Car (along with 2 replicas) running along our waterfront. One commenter referred to them as running “from nowhere to nowhere,” but that depends on how you look at it (it also depends on how favorably you view the proposed waterfront redevelopment).
After driving past it a thousand times, we finally made a point of going down and taking a ride. The line starts at 22nd Street (where “nowhere” is actually a fantastic seafood restaurant called 22nd Street Landing located about half a block from the Red Car stop). Along the way to the Cruise Ship Terminal (where “nowhere” is a recently redeveloped promenade that features local art, comfortable teak deck chairs, and at night, lovely lighting), the Red Car passes the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, formerly the Municipal Ferry Terminal and a rare, original Art Deco classic for you architecture fans out there.
The $1 fare will get you up and down Harbor Blvd (though days around the holiday are frequently free) as many times as you want and the line runs every 20 minutes from 10:00am to 6:00pm, Friday through Monday. There was a time when the Pacific Electric Railway was the largest interurban rail system in America. Believe it or not, you could get from San Pedro to Downtown L.A. without waiting for an uncomfortably MTA bus that probably isn’t going to show up anyway. Cars 500 and 501, the replicas, and Car 1058, the vintage car, are all representative of the early 1900s “Pacific Electric 500-class design.” They’re surprisingly comfortable – must less confined than most of the fleet of restored cars operating on San Francisco’s F-line.
And while you’re at it, hop off and check out the Maritime Museum. It’s well constructed, crammed with local artifacts representing the harbor area’s commercial fishing, general maritime, and naval history. The gift store has plenty of salty-flavored local books, art, and gifts for your last minute holiday needs. Check out their website for more information.
It’s fun. It’s history. And kids dig this kind of stuff. Enjoy the ride!