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.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why California should be your next family holiday

Why California should be your next family holiday

When it comes to kids, the Golden State certainly lives up to its name – California is one paradise of a playground. Go now and you’ll find the sights quie…

19 Feb 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
Los Angeles or San Francisco: which should you visit first?

Los Angeles or San Francisco: which should you visit first?

They’re two of the biggest cities in the United States. They’re two of the most famous cities in the world. Los Angeles and San Francisco have been written…

29 Jan 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
The best national parks in California

The best national parks in California

California has more national parks than anywhere else in the United States; together they protect an area the size of West Virginia. And with such a wealth of …

25 Jan 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right