Last weekend we decided to visit the Los Angeles Plaza Historic District which includes the famous El Pueblo Historical Monument in the plaza, La Placita Church, the vibrant Olvera Street, Pico House and the Old Plaza Fire House to name some. Train Ride was on our “Must Do” Summer Activity list so we took Pacific Surf liner to Union Station instead to driving there by car.
Once we reached the Simi Valley Train Station, we purchased the tickets from the automated ticket vending machine (TVM) only to find out that the train was late. Even though it was 100 F and we were sweating like crazy, the excitement of the ride made our wait easier.
Once on board, we headed upstairs and found good window seats for a better view. The ride lasted for 1 hour and 10 minutes and we stopped at Chatsworth, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale Stations on our way. We could see the Santa Clarita Brush Fire all the way from San Fernando Valley. We also crossed the famous Los Angeles River Concrete Structure which has been featured in various movies.
Union Station is a landmark in Los Angeles. The building is beautiful with huge chandeliers and high ceilings and architectural details. The station was jam-packed and it seemed like everyone was going somewhere. Automated ticket vending machines and helpful information desks made travel easy. The waiting area is neat with a grand piano to show off your playing skills. Union station has a fresh food store called “Trimana” where you can find soups and sandwiches along with packaged snacks and fruits. Other food stores include T &Y Bakery, Ben and Jerry’s, Star Bucks, Subway and Wetzel Pretzels, so yes you can get your caffeine fix and also enjoy a snack. For more fine dining head over to Traxx,a traditional American Restaurant and Bar.
We exited the Union Station from the West side and after crossing Alameda Street made our way into the El Pueblo Plaza. As we made our way up the stairs the first thing we saw was the statue of Mexican musician and actor Antonio Aguilar and right behind that was a gazebo where a band was performing and people were dancing with the beat of the song.
We also saw the Bell of Dolores, which commemorates Mexican independence from Spain.
As we made our way to the Olvera street, we crossed the central plaza where sweet Spanish songs were playing and it felt as if the time had stopped and everyone was dancing, laughing and enjoying, a sight rare to be seen in today’s fast world.
Olvera Street was one fun experience. From dream catchers, to masks, to Mexican clothes, to hand bags, there was a variety of things in smiling colors. We shopped for a bit then headed to Juanita Café to have authentic Mexican Food consisting of Tacos, Burritos and Enchiladas. The kitchen was open and very small but the food was full of flavor and spices. If you are visiting Olvera Street, do try Juanita Café.
We ate a lot and to get out of the food coma, strolled around to see the amazing architectural beauties surrounding the plaza like the Pico House, Fire House and the Masonic Hall. These building speak for themselves and you can feel the historical aura surrounding them.
As we made our way back to the Union Station to head home, I felt a certain type of happiness and calmness. Was it because of the sweet flow of Spanish music and watching the people sway to the beat or was it because of the historical buildings telling you their stories in a strange way. I don’t know what it was but the feeling was priceless. So take a trip to this historic landmark for a rich, unforgettable cultural experience