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Where to Honor Hispanic Heritage Month in Los Angeles All Year Long

September 15 through October 15 is officially recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month. Living in Southern California, we don’t need to limit our learning of the contributions of different cultures to just one month. In fact, you’ll find a variety of places where families can celebrate Latino culture – from Olvera Street to the Museum of Latin Amerian Art – and its influences on our city. 

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Avila Adobe on Olvera Street is the oldest house in Los Angeles and one of the ways to learn about Latino Culture in Los Angeles

El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
125 Paseo de la Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90012

A visit to El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument brings your family close to the birthplace of the city of Los Angeles. At different periods of time in history, Los Angeles has been under the control of Spain, Mexico and the United States. El Pueblo is considered to be a “living museum” and strives to celebrate the variety of cultures that helped shape our city. You will find several historic buildings here as well as murals, statues, and the popular Olvera Street. Olvera Street is an outdoor marketplace offering a variety of shopping and dining choices “reflecting the Mexican and Latino culture, traditions, and heritage of Los Angeles.” Free guided tours of El Pueblo are offered Tuesday through Saturday at 10:00 am, 11:00 am, and 12:00 pm.

Avila Adobe
10 E. Olvera St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

The Avila Adobe’s construction dates back to 1818, a time when Mexico governed California. Today, families can visit this museum-like space, which is now furnished as it may have looked back in 1840. The Avila Adobe was built by Francisco Avila, a wealthy cattle rancher. It is the oldest house in Los Angeles.

Andres Pico Adobe
10940 Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills, CA 91346

Built in 1834, the Andres Pico Adobe is the second-oldest adobe home in Los Angeles. Andres Pico was a rancher, politician, military leader, and brother of Pio Pico. Today, the Andres Pico Adobe is a museum dedicated to Valley history and includes a number of artifacts, including Native American beads, clothing, furniture, and Mission-era items.

LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
501 N. Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Located in downtown Los Angeles, LA Plaza strives to celebrate Mexican and  Mexican-American culture and their influences on Los Angeles. LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes is considered to be the country’s leading center of Mexican-American culture. You’ll find interactive exhibits here as well as a variety of educational programs. LA Plaza is closed on Tuesdays and offers free admission.

Catalina Verdugo Adobe and the “Oak of Peace”
2211 Bonita Dr., Glendale, CA 91208

A visit to the Catalina Verdugo Adobe essentially gives your family a mini-history lesson. The Catalina Verdugo Adobe has earned distinction as California Historical Landmark Number 637. The Adobe is thought to have been built back in 1828. The “Oak of Peace” was a tree that many consider to be the birthplace of California. Near the tree, it is said that Jesus Pico (representing Lt. Col. Fremont of the United States) met with his brother, General Andres Pico, commander of the Mexican Army to discuss terms of surrender. In 1987, the tree died of natural causes but remnants still remain on the site. The park is 1.3 acres, within a residential neighborhood, and is now a popular spot for family picnics.

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

The Museum of Latin American Art is the only museum within the United States that is dedicated to both modern and contemporary Latin American art. Families will enjoy their permanent collection which includes more than 1,300 works of art, including sculpture, painting, photography, and video. In addition, MOLAA is celebrating its twentieth anniversary with a special exhibit MOLAA At Twenty: 1996-2016. Admission is $10, and children under twelve are free. Additionally, the Museum offers free admission each Sunday. (Note – the Museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays).

Latino Art Museum
Pomona Art Colony
281 S. Thomas St. Suite #105, Pomona, CA 91766

The Latino Art Museum promotes Latin American contemporary artists who reside within the United States. The Museum also offers a variety of art classes which encourage children to “experience, understand, and appreciate art” while actively creating their own art. The gallery has a permanent collection as well as temporary exhibits. The Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm.

The Campo de Cahuenga
3919 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91604

You may have driven by the Campo de Cahuenga without realizing its historical significance. It was actually the site of the signing of the Treaty of Cahuenga in 1847. The Treaty ended the conflict that existed over southwest territory between the United States and Mexico. At this site, you’ll find a replica of the adobe that stood on the site during the time of the Treaty’s signing as well as a number of monuments and plaques dedicated to historic figures of the time. The building is open on the first Saturday of each month from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm and offers free admission.

Pio Pico State Historic Park
6003 Pioneer Blvd., Whittier, CA 90606

Step back into time with a visit to Pio Pico State Historic Park. You’ll find “El Ranchito” there, the rancho and adobe home that belonged to Pio Pico. El Ranchito (“the little ranch”) is one of California’s last remaining adobe structures. Pio Pico was the last Governor of California under Mexican rule. The Adobe is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm each day.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses an impressive collection of Latin American Art in its Art of the Americas Gallery. The collection consists of pieces spanning many years, from pre-Columbian works to modern and contemporary artists. (Children might recognize works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.) Check the website before you visit, because LACMA often offers free tours that may include their Latin American Art collection. (And don’t forget to use your child’s free NexGen membership.)

Plaza Mexico
3100 E. Imperial Highway, Lynwood, CA 90262

A visit to the 650,000 square-foot Plaza Mexico gives you a unique shopping and dining experience. Plaza Mexico’s design was based on the ancient city of Monte Alban (located about 300 miles south of Mexico City). The Plaza’s design encourages social gatherings and public entertainment. The colonial architectural styles of such cities as Mexico City, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and others are replicated at Plaza Mexico. Families can shop at the 250 stores, observe the artwork and murals, enjoy a live performance, and more. Don’t forget to plan a ride on the Carousel. And while you’re there, you may forget that you’re still in Los Angeles!

Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana
15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, CA 91345

The San Fernando Mission (also referred to as the “Mission of the Valley”) is a popular field-trip destination for many Los Angeles schoolchildren. The Mission was the 17th of the California Missions. Here, you can learn more about the Spanish priests and California Indians who lived at the Mission. As you tour the grounds, you’ll come across the Bob Hope Memorial Garden (which is the resting place of Bob and Delores Hope).

Mission San Gabriel Arcangel
428 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel, CA 91776

The San Gabriel Mission was the fourth of the California Missions and is another popular field trip destination for schoolchildren. In addition to being an active church, San Gabriel is also home to a collection of sacred art pieces. As you wander among the “Pride of the Missions,” you’ll also have the chance to learn more about the history of the Spanish priests and the Native Americans who lived here. The San Gabriel Mission was also known for its winery as well as for its agriculture.

The Old Mill (El Molino Viejo)
1120 Old Mill Rd., San Marino, CA 91108

The Old Mill was built in 1816 and served as a gristmill for Mission San Gabriel. It is considered to be the oldest commercial building in Southern California. Today, the adobe serves as a reminder of the Spanish presence during California’s early days. It is located about two miles away from Mission San Gabriel. Families can visit The Old Mill and stroll through the gardens Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

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