Is It Any Good?

The oldest part of Los Angeles, right near Downtown and Chinatown.

You’d think I’d know better than to hit El Pueblo de Los Angeles on Cinco de Mayo, but you’d be wrong.

So the first thing they did, of course, was jack up the Parking Rates. I paid $15.00 to get in. I’m not sure what the price is when its not Cinco de Mayo, but it’s got to be less than that.

This is what I mean by an explosion of color.

The odd things is, El Pueblo de Los Angeles reminded a bit of San Antonio, specifically the Alamo. Thanks to the magic of the movies, most people don’t understand that the Alamo is smack-dab in the middle of Downtown San Antonio, not out in the country. (There is a replica Alamo built for John Wayne’s production of the Alamo in 1960).

Likewise, Los Angeles’ oldest settlement is right at the heart of the city, at the heart of downtown. In fact, from Avila Abode, the oldest house in Los Angeles (circa 1818), you can see good ol’ Union Station just across the street.

According to Wikipedia:

A plaque across from the Old Plaza commemorates the founding of the city. It states: “On September 4, 1781, eleven families of pobladores (44 persons including children) arrived at this place from the Gulf of California to establish a pueblo which was to become the City of Los Angeles. This colonization ordered by King Carlos III was carried out under the direction of Governor Felipe de Neve.

Now, El Pueblo de Los Angeles is comprised of several elements, not all of them listed here:

The Plaza, which is the center of the site.

La Placita Church, which was founded in 1814.

La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles, or The Church of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels

Olvera Street, which is the Mexican Marketplace (formerly known as Wine Street)

The Firehouse, which was built in 1884.

The Avila Adobe, the oldest house in Los Angeles.

Pico House, which was a Hotel at one point.

The Plaza Substation which used to house the Trolleys.

Garnier Building, which houses the Chinese American Museum.

For more information, consult the Wikipeida page on El Pueblo de Los Angeles.

Now, the most popular part of the site is Olvera Street, the marketplace I described above. It is a gorgeous, blossoming explosion of color, and a pleasure to walk through. Now, bear in mind that most of what’s being sold is bric-a-brac, Mexican-themed bric-a-brac, but bric-a-brac nonetheless. It’s kinda like strolling down Hollywood Blvd., just mountains and mountains of souvenier crap. The outstanding difference is the food. I’m not sure you’re going to find anything on the level of a La Serenata or anthing else in Boyle Heights, but if you’re in an area with a bunch of Mexican-American Restaurants competing against each other, that can be nothing but a good thing.

The view down Olvera Street.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Cinco de Mayo…seriously.

 

PARKING: El Pueblo de Los Angeles doesn’t have the most attractive of websites, but it is very detailed and very well organized. They have a section on parking, and provide this map to help you out.

As I said before, Parking will cost you a little something, but hopefully not as much as when you’re coming for…I’ll say it again, Cinco de freakin’ Mayo. Man, what was I thinking?

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument
125 Paseo De La Plz # 400
Los Angeles, CA
90012