The American Planning Association just confirmed what we’ve known since the jump: Olvera street is where it’s at. The pedestrian-only street, which has become emblematic of LA’s Mexican cultural influences, was named one of the country’s top 5 Great Places in America for 2015.
Olvera was founded in 1781, making it one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles. “Colorful crafts, artisan shops, and the smell of delicious eateries saturate Olvera Street with Mexican culture, reflecting the cultural diversity of the city’s birthplace,” the American Planning Association said. In the first half 1800s, it was home to the Mexican farming and ranching community, though after Los Angeles was founded, it was neglected and risked being demolished. In the 20s, Christine Sterling pushed for it to be renovated, and for Olvera to be recognized as Los Angeles’ birthplace.
By 1930, Olvera was thriving as a Mexican marketplace, and it continues to do so today. “It is a place where visitors can get a taste of Mexican culture and a sense of the history that still stands preserved in the building and plazas that surround the street,” the APA said. In short, it’s a place filled with ñoms and history. And good humor.
The APA went on to praise the City of Los Angeles for listing the street on the National Register of Historic Places. Since 2000, the city has been working to preserve Olvera Street and its neighbors.