Check out our day in Olvera Street at our YouTube travel vlog!
In downtown LA there a secret historic avenue home to countless artisan shops and authentic mexican restaurants. Olvera Street is a must see if you want to be transported out of the LA scene for an afternoon and into the rich heritage of one of southern California’s original communities. A once dilapidated site is now a rejuvenated and preserved area for shopping, dining and even plays hosts to numerous events throughout the year.
Loee had been there once before and really wanted to take me so she Joel and I made our way downtown on a Sunday afternoon and couldn’t believe what we found. We stumbled up the Festival Gratis or “free festival” and got the chance to witness local performance groups, extended craft booths and a lot of Hispanics from around the area gathered to celebrate and have fun.
We spent most of the time browsing in the stores and around the booths, the entire center street is paved with little wagons overstuffed with mexican crafts from jewelry to toys, to clothing and other hand-made goods. We stood and listened to a mexican mariachi band in a little grove on the street. It was so neat just to be completely submersed in this culture. I bought a catholic saints bracelet and Loee and I got some great ideas for her wedding shower courtesy of the vibrant colors and patterns of the fabrics.
As downtown LA can be very warm, in the 90’s especially during late summer we sought out some shade and ate at the acclaimed El Paseo Inn. The food was phenomenal and they literally make their guacamole on a table in front of you before you eat it, hello fresh! Loee and I got quesadillas, which were plenty each to feed two so if you go consider splitting a plate. The prices per entre were around 10$ but you do get a ton of food. Joel loved the enchiladas rancheras and Loee even got a lime margarita (watch out its salty and strong!)
We walked a round a bit after lunch and just took in some of the scenery…it was such a gorgeous colorful and richly aesthetic experience, meandering around in this hidden village smack in the middle of LA’s concrete jungle.
Parking was close and for 13$ wasn’t terrible for 3 + hours given that Olvera and the festival were completely gratis 🙂
It’s a great place to show friends if they are visiting and a great place if you want unique or handmade home goods, clothing, accessories or fun nik naks and gifts. Check out calleolvera.com for a list of upcoming events as well!