LA was born at El Pueblo de Los Angeles, an historic district centred on the old plaza just across Alameda Street from Union Station. The Plaza was roughly the site of the city’s original 1781 settlement, and the plaza church La Placita, 535 N Main St, is the city’s oldest, a small adobe structure with a gabled roof dating back to 1822. Olvera Street, which runs north from the plaza, contrived in part as a pseudo-Mexican village market, offers a cheery collection of food and craft stalls. Among the historic structures here is Avila Adobe (daily 9am–4pm; free), technically the city’s oldest building (from 1818), although it was almost entirely rebuilt out of reinforced concrete following the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The house is furnished as it might have appeared in the late 1840s, and the courtyard outside contains the visitor centre.

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