A very popular free thing to do in Los Angeles is visit Olvera Street.
It is hard to imagine but this city which is the second most populated in the country all grew from one tiny settlement near the LA River in what is now downtown.
The story goes that 11 families all gathered at the San Fernando Mission and from there they set out to settle Los Angeles. They are called the pobladores. The group was very culturally diverse, proving LA has always been a melting pot.
The pobladores settled along the river and created El pueblo de La Reina de Los Angeles or The Town of The Queen of The Angeles.
Olvera Street is a place where you can see a small slice of how that early life in LA started and its Spanish influence.
As with most old Spanish settlements, the town’s plaza was the center of communal life. This where the townspeople came together, had parties and ceremonies and any public business. Even today Olvera Street hosts several cool events throughout the year.
As you can see in the pictures I recently went on an afternoon during the nine nights of the El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of The Dead).
When it comes to history of Los Angeles, nothing is older than the adobe home on Olvera Street. The Avila Adobe is the oldest standing structure in the city of Los Angeles. The only building in the county which is older, is the San Fernando Mission.
Accross the street from Olvera St. Plaza is the Cathedral of Our Lady of The Angels. While not very old or historic the cathedral is still is a treat for art lovers. And, like visiting the plaza or the adobe it is free!
While Olvera Street is cool it is not a place to spend half a day. While in the area you may also want to check out China Town and Union Station.