The city of Los Angeles is known not only for its Hollywood glam and beautiful people, but also its awesomely vibrant Hispanic population. The city has a long and colorful Hispanic heritage — dating back to the time Spanish missionaries founded a settlement and named it “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles” (which translates to “The Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels”), which later went on to be ruled by a newly independent Mexico, and then was ceded to the United States. With such a rich Hispanic heritage, there is so much to see and experience — so where would you start? Fear not: we’ve got the ultimate guide of LA locations for anyone eager to learn more about Hispanic culture and history.
Known as the “birthplace of Los Angeles”, Olvera Street is a bustling outdoor marketplace that will transport you back in time. In addition to attracting visitors with its quaint old buildings, shady trees, and brick-lined walkways, it acts as a hub for Hispanic cultural performances, historical sites and museums, food, music, arts and crafts, and much more. If you need a starting point for your celebration of Hispanic culture in LA, then this is the place!
La Plaza de Cultures y Artes
Just a short walk from Olvera Street will bring you to La Plaza de Cultures y Artes. Here’s where you can engage yourself with a ton of modern interactive exhibits that talk about how Mexican culture has molded the identity of today’s Los Angeles. Visitors can choose from a bunch of rotating educational programs while there are regular cultural events and celebrations too.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
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The Blessing of the Animals Mural by Leo Politi is on display everyday on the exterior of the Biscailuz Building here at El Pueblo. The mural commemorates the beloved annual tradition in which Los Angelenos bring their animals to be blessed. Check it out on your next visit! . . . .#elpueblola #olverastreet #leopoliti #mural #blessingoftheanimals #lamural #losangeles #dtla #tradition #pets #mural #painting #thisismypueblo
Also encompassing Olvera Street and the immediate surroundings is the historic El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, AKA the Los Angeles Plaza Historic District. It’s the oldest part of the city and has a plaque that commemorates the founding of the city and arrival of the very first families to the new pueblo. It’s a treasure trove for history buffs as well as it houses beautiful architectural gems like the Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Ángeles Church, Avila Adobe (the city’s oldest surviving residence), Pico House (an old Italianate-style hotel), and the Old Plaza Fire Station.
24th Street Theater
The 24th Street Theater acts as not only a venue for great theatrical performances for Spanish-speaking audiences, but also a platform that encourages people in the Hispanic community to get involved on and off the stage. You can catch intense dramas, laugh-out-loud comedies, and even colorful Mexican puppet shows — there’s something for the whole family!
For those of you who want to connect with Hispanic culture by breaking out some dance moves, you have to wind up at the Conga Room. The legendary music venue showcases Latin music artists and DJs that mix and match all the rhythms of Latin America. Paintings and sculptures from Hispanic artists adorn the space, adding to the unforgettable authentic ambiance. It’s a wonderful celebration of Latinx culture, so make sure to end your night, and your tour, right here!
Know of any other places in LA that celebrate Hispanic culture and history? Share them with us in the comments!