issue : 062003

As cities grow and expand to provide larger and newer condominiums and shopping centers, traditional and cultural centers are often overlooked as mere historical remains, especially in a city like Los Angeles where history is so brief. However, an urban space like Olvera Street somehow maintains its original roots and still attract people not only to visit but to live it and appreciate traditional culture.

Olvera Street which is named after the first county judge, Augustin Olvera is located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles between Union Station and Chinatown. A simple (only one block in length), alley-like street is filled with history, culture, music,crafts, entertainment and always full of aromas from the traditional Mexican cuisine. (and full of people!!!) 27 historical buildings and "puestos" (booths) define the narrow pedestrian promenade that runs from 101 FWY to Cesar Chavez Boulevard. At its center (or end), a large central plaza called Plaza Olvera, provides a space for public events and ceremonies.

This area could not survive its demise without an instrumental figure named Christine Sterling, who is also known as "The First Lady of Olvera Street" for her efforts in preservation and renovation of the of the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles. Now, the street thrives as one of epicenters of the downtown city life and its collective memories defines an important and stimulating streetscape, defying modern urban interventions.

:: REF ::
It's hard to capture the exuberance of the Olvera Street; you must take a walk for yourself and explore...

Official Website
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
LA Convention and Vistiors Bureau
LA Downtown News
Los Angeles Times

*most stores are open daily from 10AM to 7PM, docent led tours are also available from Tuesday to Saturday mornings at the visitor center with lots of public parking (bit pricey, but cheaper than rest of the downtown)