El Pueblo and Olvera Street: the Mexican neighborhood of Los Angeles

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Also get to know the People of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of the Porciuncula River, The village is a historic neighborhood located in the oldest area of ​​Los Angeles. The nineteenth century saw the succession of Spaniards, Mexicans and Americans who from 1781, the year of the founding of the city, competed for the area.

Today it is a colorful and lively area that awakens all the senses, from taste, due to Mexican specialties such as churros and tacos, to hearing, thanks to the music of the mariachi echoing in the air.


  • Where is it and how to get there
  • Main attractions
    • Old Plaza
    • Olvera St.
    • Monument of Antonio Aguilar
    • Neighborhood museums
    • Events: Day of the Dead and Cinco de Mayo
  • Where to eat
  • Accomodation
  • Photo gallery: faces from El Pueblo

Where is it and how to get there

The Town and Olvera Street are located in Downtown within walking distance of Union Station. If you don't have a car (not recommended in Los Angeles, read our tips on how to get around the city), this is the metro station you need to reach.

In the car, simply write El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument (125 Paseo De La Plaza) or Union Station on the navigator and park nearby. Among the paid parking lots:

  • The Town Parking
  • 171 St Arcadia Parking
  • 5 Star Parking
  • The Town of Los Angeles Parking Lot 4

Find all the addresses in the map above

Main attractions

Old Plaza

The Plaza was built in the 20s and served as the hub of the economic and social life of the city and today contains three very important statues dedicated to three prominent figures: King Charles III of Spain (who ordered the founding of the city in 1780 ), Felipe de Neve (the Spanish governor of Spanish California) and Junípero Serra (founder of several missions in Alta California).

In addition to the statues, the square includes the following points of interest:

La Placita
Old Plaza Firehouse
Pico House
  • Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church
    Also called La Placita, this church was founded in 1814 and replaced in 1861. It was one of the first three Historical Cultural Monuments in Los Angeles and is now part of the archdiocese of the city. Masses are celebrated in both English and Spanish.
  • Fire station / museum
    The oldest fire station in Los Angeles is located right in the old Plaza. The Old Plaza Firehouse was built for just over $ 4000 in 1884 and operated until 1897, when an open and close of various businesses began, from saloons to hotels. Visit it Monday through Sunday (10-15) to browse helmets, photographs and artifacts of XNUMXth and XNUMXth century Los Angeles firefighters.
  • The Blessing of the Animals al Biscailuz Building
    The Biscailuz Building hides a great work under its arches that narrates the scene of the blessing of the animals of San Francesco.
    Around Olvera Street, during Easter, the animals are blessed by the archbishop every year.
  • Pico House
    As early as 1870, Los Angeles was beginning to shine with luxury hotels and chic places for the wealthiest businessmen. This is the case of the Pico House, a three-story hotel with 82 rooms, all elegant and illuminated by large windows. The inner courtyard was equipped with a fountain and even tropical birds to lull their guests.
    Unfortunately it is closed and you have to hope there is an event open to the public that allows entry to all. However, it is a very beautiful building and one that will remind you of our own: the style is Italianized, born in the nineteenth century in America and England to imitate Italian architecture.

Olvera St.

In front of the square, take a trip to Mexico (even more) by strolling along Olvera Street, the most famous shopping street in the area, perfect for buying original souvenirs such as terracotta objects, sombreros, bags and blankets with Aztec textures.

Avila House
Avila House

Colorful during the day and suggestive in the evening, it is also full of typical restaurants (get ready to eat spicy!) And hides two historic houses not to be missed:

  • Sepulveda House: a small museum worth visiting briefly (entry is free) to learn about the early colonial-era residents of Los Angeles. You will recognize it immediately thanks to the green and white curtains on the outside.
  • AvilaAdobe: the oldest house in Los Angeles, built by Francisco Avila in 1818. It takes its name from the mixture used in its construction, the adobe or adobo, made up of clay, straw and sun-dried sand. The original structure was much larger than what you will see and extended to the center of Olvera Street. Here, too, entry is free.

Monument of Antonio Aguilar

The three-meter tall statue is dedicated to the famous Mexican singer and actor Antonio Aguilar, who died at the age of 88 in 2007. It was unveiled in 2012 and aims to commemorate his mind-blowing career that spans more than 100 films and 150 albums.

Neighborhood museums

Italian American Museum
Chinese American Museum
  • Chinese American Museum
    CAM is the first museum in Southern California dedicated to the vicissitudes of the Chinese in the state. It is located inside a historic building, the Garnier Building, the oldest still standing in Southern California. It has three floors, but you can visit it in about half an hour (look for it because it is a bit hidden).
    Don't miss the acupuncture and herbal room.
    It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 15pm. Admission is on offer and the suggested one is $ 3.
  • The Italian American Museum of Los Angeles
    We leave Mexico for a while: the IAMLA it is dedicated to the history of Italian Americans in the United States and California and is relatively new. In fact, it opened its doors in 2016 and has interesting permanent exhibitions (which you can find here) and others that change during the course of the year.
    It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 15 and admission is free.
  • THE Plaza of Cultures and Arts
    Certainly could not miss a museum on Mexican and American culture! Like the other two museums, this one also traces the history of foreign populations in California, in this case the Mexicans, through films, photographs, music and stories. You cannot miss it because it is next to the church; LA Plaza is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 13pm to 17pm and admission is free.

Events: Day of the Dead and Cinco de Mayo

Il Day of the Dead it is not a day to be sad. There are several days (1 and 2 November) in which Mexico is celebrated with dances and parades to the rhythm of music and food such as pan de muerto and calaveras. The party is renowned all over the world and is no exception in the USA, especially in states with a strong population of Mexican origin. In El Pueblo it begins on October 25th at 19pm with a procession on Olvera Street.

If you are in Los Angeles in May try to visit here for the Cinco de Mayo (5 and 6). This other very popular Mexican festival obviously includes dancing and food as usual and the Taco Madness festival is organized right at LA Plaza De Culturas y Artes. As the name suggests it is a party entirely dedicated to tacos.

Where to eat

The whole area, especially Olvera Street, is perfect to eat Mexican food. These are the best restaurants:

  • The Walk Inn
    Since 1930 El Paseo Inn has been satisfying the palates of Americans, Mexicans and tourists from all over the world. Being an institution it is usually crowded on weekends. Do not despair, be patient and once you have taken a seat, accompany everything with a margarita.
  • The Good Night Restaurant
    Simple interiors, traditional dishes not too elaborate, but definitely one of the best in the area. Especially great for breakfast.
  • Juanita's Cafe
    Juanita's Café is also a very casual and popular restaurant (try the guacamole).
  • Mr. Churro
    Do you fancy a sweet treat? For $ 7 you can eat two stuffed churros. I recommend the cream.

Other restaurants to consider: Cielito Lindo, El Paseo Inn, and El Rancho Grande.


If you want to stay in the El Pueblo district you will probably have to give up, as I do not know there are accommodations within the historic district, however you will find several in the surrounding area. In fact, the neighborhood is not far from the Downtown area which is among other things one of the best areas to sleep in Los Angeles both from a strategic point of view and from the number of available accommodations.

To search in this area you can read our tips for finding a hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, for a complete overview of all the best areas to find accommodation with advice on specific hotels, read our guide by clicking on the button just below:

Our tips for sleeping in Los Angeles

Photo gallery: faces from El Pueblo

Photo gallery by Giorgio Nardini

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