Olvera Street is always filled with pageantry, and the historic district of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the birthplace of Los Angeles, is worth strolling anytime to sample traditional Mexican culture and foods and to better appreciate the city’s heritage.
Start in the Old Plaza. Gaze upon the plaza statue of King Carlos III of Spain, who ordered the founding of El Pueblo de Los Angeles in 1781. Pop inside the quaint Placita Church across the street, founded roughly 200 years ago and still an active parish. Check out the three-story Pico House nearby, constructed in 1870.
Next, dive into El Pueblo’s bustling heart: Olvera Street, a tree-shaded pedestrian avenue lined with Mexican eateries and craft shops selling all manner of Mexican tchotchkes and traditional garb. Troubadours roam its brick-tiled pathways. Many old buildings flanking the paseo contain restaurants or small museums illuminating the Pueblo’s rich social history. Stop by the Avila Adobe. Built in 1818, it is the city’s oldest standing residence. A tranquil inner courtyard sports a cactus garden and lovely views of Union Station.
Your most surprising discovery on Olvera Street might be América Tropical, a large fresco by David Alfaro Siqueiros, one of Mexico’s greatest muralists. The once-controversial work has been restored and can be viewed from a rooftop platform.
Comer y Beber: Olvera Street contains several Mexican eateries. Try Las Anitas, housed in Italian Hall since 1951, which serves the “world famous” beef taquitos of neighboring Cielito Lindo (same owners), not to mention delectable carne asada waffle fries. They also pour margaritas and Mexican beer. For a more informal option, try La Noche Buena, a highly rated food stall with tacos and burritos, situated closer to the plaza.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles is located just west of Alameda St. across from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.