Travel: A Short Guide to LA's Olvera Street

12:16 PM

Olvera Street is one of my favorite places to spend a sunny, margarita-filled LA afternoon.

It's Los Angeles' original city center and the plaza is surrounded by the oldest buildings in the city, some from the 1800s.

It's also home to an important 1932 mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros. "American Tropical" is painted along the exterior of the second floor of Olvera Street’s Italian Hall. Its anti American-Imperialist message made it pretty unpopular and it was white washed shortly after it was finished which actually ended up preserving it much better than many of Siqueiros' outdoor murals. It was only recently re-unveiled in 2012.

Olvera Street
(photo by The City Project)

The plaza is now an open air market filled with all sorts of Mexican candies and toys, embroidered dresses, and magical talismans.

Olvera Street hosts Mexican cultural events throughout the year with traditional dancers, open air dance floors with DJs playing Mexican dance music, and great excuses to dress up.

Day of the Dead on Olvera Street feels like you are actually in Mexico - everyone paints their faces and wears elaborate costumes and there are traditional healers or brujos who will perform a sage ritual over you to rid you negative influences. Magic I tell you!

(photo by F Fatal)

The street is lined with several restaurants all with lovely outdoor patios but the the best is La Golondrina. The menu is authentic old school Mexican - try the chicarron tortilla soup and the velvety mango margarita.

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  1. I wish I had explored Olvera Street more while I was living in LA. I plan on taking a trip to LA soon! Thanks for the guide!

  2. Looks like a colorful place and definitely a fun one to visit! I love the dancer's makeup and the old school Mexican sounds SO good.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  3. That soup looks amazing! I need to make some good tortilla soup. I've been craving it, even though it's 90 degrees outside! :)