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O is for Olvera Street: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post


A stuffed burro stands in front of a Olvera Street sign
I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the fifteen post in the series. 

Before Los Angeles was a sprawling metropolis, it was a simple town of 11 families. Olvera Street is a pedestrian street that honors that humble beginning. The day I chose to visit happened to be a rainy day, but also (unbeknownst to me ahead of time) the day of the Blessing of the Animals. Even without a special event, Olvera Street is worth a visit to learn more about the history and culture of the early area. It is free to visit, and many of the museums are also free. Local shopkeepers and restaurateurs would be more than happy for your business, however, and I can vouch for the food! 

Many of the little shops were closed due to rain 

A colorful likeness of Frida Kahlo outside one of the stores

While on Olvera Street, I recommend visiting the Avila Adobe, a home built in 1818, and the oldest existing home in Los Angeles. 

The white adobe home with a pink blooming tree outside

One of the shops I ventured into was The Wooden Iron Horses, where the work of carver Jackie Hadnot is on display. Mr. Hadnot was inside the store that day and mentioned that he had carved the cross that is at the entrance to Olvera Street, and because the Blessing of the Animals was happening that day, he was going to give a short speech at the cross at noon. I caught most of his words in the following video:

I unfortunately had to leave prior to the actual blessing of the animals, as I had taken public transportation and didn't want to have to get home 2 hours later than planned, but I still got to see quite a few animals waiting in line.

A pig waits to see the priest for a blessing, while a woman decorates the pig's crate with flowers

People with umbrellas and pets form a line while waiting for the blessing of the animals to begin

Rain or sunshine, special event or not, Olvera Street is filled with fun things to see. Be sure to visit!


  1. It looks like a fun place, I enjoy wandering a street with shops and good smelling restaurants.


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