Olvera Street is a street in downtown Los Angeles that features Mexican restaurants, historic buildings, and rows of tourist paraphernalia. The street is popular among visitors that roll their eyes at traditional attractions (I’m looking at you Hollywood Walk of Fame) in favor places with a bit more of a local appeal. The street is also popular among those who have a craving for custard filled churros, and for those looking to add to their diverse collection of luchador masks. The vendors feature a diverse array of items including mexican candy, sugar skulls, Dia de los muertos items, silver jewely, and various items made of leather. You can even find keychains with your name on it. Those things can come in handy one day if you ever forget your name.
The main appeal of Olvera Street is that it is the oldest section of downtown Los Angeles. The Street features 27 historic buildings, including the Avila Adobe, the Pelanconi House, and the Sepulveda House. The Pelanconi House is thought to be the oldest brick house still standing in Los Angeles. The Pelanconi House has been the location of the La Golondrina restaurant, the oldest restaurant on the Street. The restaurant has been in operation since 1930, which is also the time when Olvera Street formed the Mexican marketplace that you see today. I didn’t try the restaurant, but individuals seem to be pretty excited about the Olvera Street taquitos. The Sepulveda House is a large Victorial house build in the late 1900’s. It is currently the location of the visitor center.
I was particularly excited to see the Avila Abode since it is the oldest house in Los Angeles. That means that it has sustained a lot of earthquakes. The house was build in 1818 by Mr. Avila, a wealthy cattle rancher. Individuals may enter the house for free. You can watch a short video introduction to the house, or you can be more directly informed about the house if it is inhabited (during your visit) by a helpful and enthusiastic tour guide. The adobe was threatened to be demolished in the 1920’s for a gas station. The adobe is currently restored and well kept. They may want to direct their next restoration efforts towards the adobe’s website.
You might want to stop by Olvera Street during a Cinco de Mayo celebration, since the “twirling skirts” and sombreros will be out in full force. Parking is difficult near the street so many individuals prefer to take the train to Union Station, which is very close by. We ended up finding parking for $9 at a nearby lot, which is pretty expensive for a relatively short stay (e.g. about an hour). I just consider it a regular “Los Angeles tourist tax”.