- Mon: 9am-7pm
- Tue: 9am-7pm
- Wed: 9am-7pm
- Thu: 9am-7pm
- Fri: 9am-7pm
- Sat: 9am-7pm
- Sun: 9am-7pm
The downtown Los Angeles landscape seems to be changing every day, but one thing has remained the same: Olvera Street, known as the first street in L.A. Located in the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, this block-long marketplace is lined with restaurants and shops selling everything from kitschy tchotchkes to beautiful pottery and paintings.
Parking and public transportation at Olvera Street
There are five parking lots in El Pueblo, which can be entered from Main Street, Alameda Street and Los Angeles Street. Union Station is less than a 5-minute walk away, so it's easy to get to Olvera Street via Metro rail.
Best and worst time to go to Olvera Street
The best time to visit Olvera Street is during one of the traditional celebrations, especially Dia de los Muertos in late October. A nightly candlelight procession honors the spirits of the dead, and complimentary pan de muerto (sweet bread) and champurrado (hot chocolate) are served afterward. Weekdays during the school year are the least crowded, although there may be lots of fourth graders on field trips. The worst time to go is the first couple weeks of August, when it's hot and packed with tourists.
Admission to Olvera Street
Admission to Olvera Street is free. Guided 50-minute tours by volunteers from Las Angelitas del Pueblo are also free, but must be reserved at least a week in advance.
Must see/do at Olvera Street
Take a free tour of the Avila Adobe, the oldest standing house in Los Angeles. Built in 1818, it gives visitors an idea of what L.A. life was like a century before it became known as the entertainment capital of the world.
Other places to visit near Olvera Street
Pico House, built in 1870 as the first grand hotel of Los Angeles, is now a cultural arts center that's located near Olvera Street in El Pueblo. Historic Chinatown is a short walk from Olvera Street.
Insider tip for visitors to Olvera Street
While the interior of Casa La Golondrina Mexican Cafe is festively charming, it's more fun to enjoy a margarita on its outdoor patio and watch as mariachi bands and throngs of tourists pass by.
Author's bio: Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and lifelong Angeleno who still has a velvet piggy bank she bought during a fourth-grade field trip to Olvera Street. Follow her on Twitter and visit her blog, i Still Love Dogs.