On Sundays my husband has a writer’s group meeting in the downtown Los Angeles area, so my son and I decided to tag along this week and visit El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument and Olvera Street.
First, we stopped in the Plaza Firehouse Museum since it was already 1:45 and the museum closes at 3pm. As a fire technology major, I’m always interested in these types of things. Regardless of your background or life passions, though, it’s a neat little place to check out. Like all of the other exhibits and displays at El Pueblo, the museum is free to the public. Inside you can check out an old fire engine, an old fire pump, and a lot of other antique fire fighting tools – plus a genuine fire pole!
Next, we headed over to the Chinese American Museum (again, the museum closes its doors for the day at 3pm so plan accordingly!). The free museum details the origins of the Chinese peoples in Los Angeles, as well as their growth and development throughout the LA area and America. There’s even a replica of a Chinese store that was once situated in the Garnier Building (which houses the museum) in the late 1800s.
When we were done browsing through the museums, we headed over to the central plaza where we enjoyed some live music. Yesterday’s entertainer was a man skillfully playing from the recorder, however, other days feature native dancers and large musical ensembles. My kid was pretty enthralled, as he’s been learning to play the recorder at school.
Finally, we decided to take a stroll down Olvera Street – the birthplace of Los Angeles. It was a lot of fun seeing how fascinated my son was with all of the kiosks and storefronts, but a little difficult to convince him that we didn’t need to buy everything we saw! And there is A LOT to see. We probably would have been there for hours if it weren’t for the fact that my husband called to say that his writer’s group meeting was over. I promised my son that we would come back and that there would be plenty for him to see in Chinatown next week when we go for the Chinese New Year celebration!
The verdict? I wasn’t sure how well my son would enjoy El Pueblo but was pleasantly surprised. As far as free things to do in the LA area, this is definitely a great spot to visit for people of all ages and backgrounds!