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Olvera Street: A Lesson in Mexican Heritage

Olvera Street at Night
Olvera Street at Night
Jennifer Clark

Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner. It is a unique celebration that is not widely celebrated, but is a day when people with origins in Mexico come together to celebrate Independence Day, their victory over the French. It is a day of feast and celebration.

A great place to stop by if you are in LA is to visit Olvera Street, between Chinatown and Downtown. Not only is it one of the oldest parts of LA, but it is also one of the most deeply rooted Mexican city. Almost every weekend, there is a festival where folkloric dancers and mariachi bands come to play. It is a small city square where you can immerse yourself in how the Mexican used to live. There are small cafes and restaurants that you can stop by for an authentic Mexican lunch or booths, where you can stop and browse through their traditional and handcrafted wares. These stores and vendors go back to the original families who settled in LA.

The buildings are authentic and carry the preservation of Los Angeles. They are the original pueblos and clay housing units of settlers when the Mexicans came to Los Angeles. While you are there, you can sign up for free tours to learn more on the history of how these Mexicans came to California or visit the museums and take a tour back in time. The place is fun for the family because there is something for both adults and kids to enjoy.

The event is FREE and opens from 10am to 10pm Saturday May 3rd to Monday May 5th on 845 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles, CA 90012. It is easy to access, with parking available on the streets. If you miss the celebration of Cinco de Mayo, you can always still come to visit the plaza. It is opened everyday from 10am to 6pm (hours may vary). The best time to visit will be the weekend, where they host live music.

If you don't want to drive, you can come by train. Just take the Gold Line and get off at Union Station. Olvera Street is just right across the street.

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