Destination DTLA: Visiting Olvera Street, The Birth Place of Los Angeles. Day 9 Travel Blog

Olvera Street, The combination of L.A. history, culture, and Art. The historical Mexican market first opened on Easter Sunday, April 20, 1930. If you browse through any Los Angeles Travel guide or google the top ten must-visit places in LA. The one of a kind Olvera Street is bound to appear on it. Whilst wandering in Downtown L.A. I felt like it's only fair that I pay a visit to this unique marketplace.

Most tourists' typical impression of Los Angeles would be its sunny beaches and salty ocean breeze, thrilling amusement parks and the rich and famous Hollywood lifestyle. While all of it is pretty much just like how we imagined. We tend to forget The City of Angels also has its own particular history, a history that is unlike anything you've ever seen before.

On my way to Olvera St.

Passing through L.A. City Hall on my way to Olvera St.

  • Downtown L.A.

Olvera Street is just across the well-known Union Station, and it's only a 15 to 20 minutes walk from Chinatown to Olvera Street (Read more about my trip to Chinatown here.). Being known as the oldest district and the "birth place" of the city that is Los Angeles, just by walking down the street you sort of getting the feeling that you are no longer in LA. The mix of cultures, colorful street arts, the upbeat Mexican music and street vendors selling traditional Mexican ornaments, souvenirs and toys. These are just a few things you could expect from a visit to Olvera Street.

I wouldn't say that I am an expert in the historical background of Olvera Street or the Mexican culture. But I was without a doubt inspired by everything I saw that day. I will briefly share some of my favorite things about Olvera Street and why you must pay a visit there while you are in LA.

A fountain midway down the street

Whilst taking a stroll down this tree-shaded, zigzag brick-lined market, seeing all the colorful, florid artworks and shop signs in cursive Spanish letters. I was instantly fascinated by all the expressive folk art as well as the open-air shops selling ceramic ornaments and embellished pottery. You could also find yourself looking at all the interesting Mexican ponchos, sombreros and pinatas. Hand-crafted leather wallets, shoes and belts can also easily found at almost every craft shops on Olvera Street. Besides the artistic visual stimulation, if you are lucky you can also catch a Mexican musician or two singing and play guitars or ukeleles on the street. Some visitors come here to discover the deep-rooted Mexican cultures and history of this town, some come here hoping to be inspired by the art and music, and others are merely here to enjoy a pleasant, sunny afternoon with satisfactory Mexican cuisine,
I could unequivocally get a strong sense of how much the people here love life. They seem to appreciate every little thing in life. Perhaps it's the never-ending music, the outrageously good weather or the tasty food that somehow makes living in L.A. seems so perfect. But one thing is for sure, the locals' exuberance and their passionate, carefree attitude and positive personalities have not only inspired me but also encouraged me to be more confident and just go out there and live life to the fullest.

Vendors selling various treats on Olvera St.

  • Mexican Food!

You can't possibly visit Olvera Street without getting yourself some Mexican food. When all the sightseeing and shopping finally makes your stomach growl, there are various different food stands and cafes that offer a wide range of Mexican food from tacos, enchiladas to churros.

Statue of Mexican actor, singer Antonio Aguilar

  • The Antonio Aguilar Statue 
On September 2012 during the Mexican Independence Day, a statue of the celebrated Mexican singer and actor Antonio Aguilar was unveiled in a plaza close to Olvera St. Though I didn't know much about the singer/actor himself, just being there you could sense how the much of a cultural icon and a symbol of success he was to the local Mexican residents.

If you are ever here in Los Angeles and you've already done your fair share of theme parks and endless trips to the beach. Olvera Street is a place where you can take a step back from all the hustle and bustle of the city and just spend a fun afternoon immerse in the Mexican cultural heritage and learn a little bit more of the L.A. history.


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