One of the oldest attractions in the City of Los Angeles is Olvera Street.
Olvera Street is part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument
in downtown L.A. As one of the city's oldest streets thered brick pedestrian
walkway is touristy, but does retain the look and feel of similar
destinations on the other side of the border in Mexico. Olvera Street
has actually transformed to become a festival gathering spot for
Angelenos living in the area, the majority of Hispanic descent.
This small pedestrian street leading from the central plaza and original Pueblo de Los Angeles, is lined with shops, stalls, food kiosks and eateries serving mostly Mexican/American dishes. Founded in 1781 the complex of the streets and buildings contain many of the city's oldest structures. Cesar Chavez Avenue is part of this bustling attraction which was recognized by American Planning Association as a Great Street in America.
By 1821 Olvera Street and the Plaza became the Mexican farming and ranching community's focal point to gather. Los Angeles was previously ruled under the Spanish flag in 1781 but was relinquished to Mexico for 20 some years until 1848 when California became a U.S. state.
The small, seemingly outdated and antiquated Olvera Street was nearly demolished for new buildings and projects as the City of Los Angeles began its rapid growth and expansion.
Many credit Christine Sterling with the successful campaign to save Olvera Street, the plaza and structures in the 1920s.
Renovation without complete demolition helped Olvera become a tourist destination branded as the birthplace of Los Angeles. In April 2015 the City of LA held an Olvera Street 85th anniversary celebration commemorating the opening of the Mexican marketplace in the 1930s.
The City of Los Angeles operates the Mexican marketplace of Olvera Street and is actively involved in management of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. Storefronts in existence for a century or more are indeed, special in a city filled with so many newcomers and tourists.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A State Enterprise Zone designation has furthered the cause of preserving this gem providing financial benefit, as well as ongoing local and state level preservation funding. Targeted zoning in and around the Olvera Street area helps support small businesses with reduced parking requirements, and allows increased floor area for projects outside of the Pueblo that adhere to specified development standards.
Union Station pedestrian connections between Olvera Street and the key transit hub of the greater Los Angeles area allow easier access to the attraction.
Popular annual events include Blessing of the Animals in the Spring.LOS TRES REYES - Tuesday, January 6, 2015 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. A celebration of the Epiphany of the Magi (visit of the Three Kings) with music and a colorful theatrical procession on Olvera Street.
FIESTA DE LA CANDELARIA - Monday, February 2, 2015
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
El Pueblo Historical Monument
125 Paseo de la Plaza
El Pueblo Historical Monument, call: 213-485-8372
Fiesta de la Candelaria This final seasonal event commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus in the temple. Participants may join the procession and bring an elaborately dressed doll to be blessed. Best dressed doll winners will receive a prize. Dia de la Candelaria, aka Candlemas, is observed 40 days after Christmas, on February 2. According to Christian tradition, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth. Candlemas takes place on historic Olvera Street in Downtown L.A., featuring the traditional blessing of elaborately dressed dolls that depict the infant Jesus in the Temple. Traditional blessing of elaborately dressed dolls depicting the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple.
MARDI GRAS CHILDREN'S WORKSHOPS - Tuesday, February 17, 2015 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Fat Tuesday” Olvera Street style with Brazilian singing and dancing, a festive parade and mask making for student groups.
LANTERN FESTIVAL CHINESE AMERICAN MUSEUM Saturday, March 7, 2015 12 Noon – 6 p.m. Annual festival with lantern making workshops, crafts, entertainment, artisans, and cultural exhibits.
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS - Saturday, April 4, 2015 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. This centuries-old tradition of blessing the animals, for the benefits they provide mankind, is celebrated in the Plaza. All pets welcome.
CINCO DE MAYO –Saturday, Sunday May 2-3 2015 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Daily Celebration of Mexico's victory over French forces in Puebla, Mexico in 1862 with popular and traditional music, dancing and food.
LOS ANGELES CITY BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION -Saturday, August 29, 2015 6 a.m. - 1 p.m. Anniversary of the founding of Los Angeles with Los Pobladores historic re-enactments, artisan demonstrations, exhibits, food, entertainment and plenty of birthday cake!
MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY –Saturday and Sunday September 12-13, 2015 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Daily. Celebration of Mexican Independence from Spain with popular and traditional entertainment, cultural activities, historic displays, food, artisan exhibits and more. Entertainment program on Wednesday, September 16, 2015.
DIA DE LOS MUERTOS – Saturday, October 31 through Monday, November 2, 2015 10a.m. - 6p.m. Colorful, ancient Mexican ceremony in remembrance of departed loved ones with beautifully decorated altars, exhibits and entertainment. Pre-Columbian Novenario procession and blessings each night beginning Sunday, October 25th through Monday, November 2, 2015 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE CELEBRATION –Friday, December 11 - Saturday, December 12, 2015 Celebrating the Virgen de Guadalupe's appearance to native Mexican St. Juan Diego in 1531. Food, shopping and family entertainment.
LAS POSADAS -Wednesday, December 16 through Thursday, December 24, 2015 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. This nine night presentation of the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem is portrayed with singing, ballet folklorico entertainment, a candlelight procession on Olvera Street and a children's piñata breaking each evening. Call (213) 485-8372 for more information. TDD (213) 978-3231. All events are free to the public.
Please note that all festivals are subject to change.