Olvera Street – Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Being the penny pincher I am, I’m on a constant quest for fun and inspiring things to do on the cheap in Los Angeles. Often I arrive at the tried and true advice: be a tourist in your own town.

Since we were feeling the restless itch of Memorial Day weekend, this morning my fiancé and I headed downtown to the lively, albeit touristy, Olvera Street. Olvera Street is located in the oldest area of Los Angeles, and features countless historic buildings and a traditional Mexican-style plaza. With the temperature rising to the low 80s, I slathered on the SPF and came equipped with an airy blouse, over jeans, and oversized sunglasses.

Olvera Street offered, as promised, a little slice of Mexico. We strolled up and down shop row, where stand after stand offered pretty purses, handmade jewelry and authentic Mexican candy. Historic buildings served as a backdrop. We settled at La Luz del Dia for lunch, both because it was affordable and there was shaded outdoor seating. I had a fantastically soft sweet tamale for $1.03, and a crisp beans and cheese tostada for $2.31. Of course, a cup of coffee accompanied my lunch. Dessert was flan, and boy, was it soft, cool and refreshing. We then spent time in beautiful Union Station before departing.

On or near Olvera Street:

La Luz del Dia cafe:

The plaza square:

Union Station:

Our affordable excursion was a success. $15 bought lunch outside, complete with people watching, weather admiring, and a spring breeze, along with beverages (i.e. horchata) and dessert. It was wonderful to get out and enjoy Los Angeles from perhaps an outsider’s point of view. Olvera Street was so vibrant and full of life. It was colorful, and with music in the air, very much alive. Tourists and residents alike were enjoying themselves, surely on a high from the Holiday weekend.

If you’re in LA check out the historic Olvera Street; clear out a couple hours on your schedule to enjoy the atmosphere, and bring $20 for parking and some tasty Mexican food, including dessert, and maybe even a pretty little coin purse.

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4 responses to “Olvera Street – Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

  1. Hi, it’s nice to meet you! Yes, I’ll try to post pics after I finish unpacking.
    I love your blog, you MUST give me inexpensive decorating tips!
    Olvera street looks beautiful, must visit one day.

  2. Love it! After being in LA for over 2 years I still like there’s still so much for me to explore… one of my favorite parts about the city – always something new & fun to do! Love the photos, too! xox

  3. This looks fun! I absolutely agree – it is far too often that we tend to explore our own backyards and see things with fresh eyes, but it’s so fun to do so. Since I only moved to the UK a year ago, i’m still trying to do this often (especially now that the weather is nicer). And sightseeing is so much more satisfying (and cheaper) than shopping!

    Briony xx

  4. Very nicely written Erin. Enjoyed the pictures too! Sounds like a lovely day!

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