Olvera Street is the birthplace of the City of Los Angeles, otherwise known as El Pueblo Historic Monument. The colorful village features 27 historic buildings with a traditional Mexican style plaza area. Wander around the marketplace and shop for souvenirs including handcrafted Mexican wares typical of old Mexico. The 44 settlers of Los Angeles built the original pueblo in 1781. Today Olvera Street is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the City of Angels, located right across the street from Union Station and one block from Chinatown.
Bordered by Broadway, Hill, College and Bernard streets, Chinatown, with its unique architecture and authentic restaurants and shops, is not only a point of interest for locals and tourists alike, but also a historical landmark connecting Los Angeles to its Chinese heritage. At night, the famous East Gate is brightly lit by neon lights while colored lanterns hang above the plaza. Next to the shops are several restaurants located both within the main plaza area and in the surrounding neighborhood such as Hop Li Seafood and New Dragon Restaurant that serve authentic Chinese cuisine. Herbs, teas and religious items can also be found in the surrounding area.
Words of Advice: Make sure you take as many notes as possible to help you answer your essay questions. Also along the way, obtain souvenirs to add to your photo essay. Some examples include brochures from the museum, business cards from some of the shops you entered, tea, receipts from the shops, etc.
1. Go to Union Station. Walk out to the main lobby and take a picture of yourself there and include it in your report. What does the lobby look like? Do you feel like you are in a different time? Does the lobby remind you of any other building?
2. Find the gardens to the right and left of the main lobby. Visit them and take a picture of yourself in each one. Why do you think these gardens are here?
3. Exit through the main doors and cross the street to Olvera Street. You will see it straight ahead. Go to the main plaza where the gazebo is. Find the statue of King Carlos III of Spain. Take a picture of yourself mimicking the statue. Why is there a statue of King Carlos III at Olvera Street? What role did he play?
4. Find the statue of Felipe de Neve. Take a picture of yourself mimicking the statue. Why is he significant? What role did he play in early California?
5. Walk down Olvera Street and find the Avila Adobe. If it is open, take a walk through it. Take a picture of yourself in a room of your choice or from the outside. What is the significance of the Avila Adobe? How old is it?
6. Continue walking down Olvera Street. Feel free to browse through the vendors and stores. Take a picture of yourself eating an ethnic snack or meal. Write about what you ate and if you liked it or not.
7. Visit the Sepulveda House. Get an information brochure and include it in your report.
8. Walk to the end Olvera Street to Cesar Chavez Ave. Make a left and walk down to N. Broadway. Make a right. Take a picture of the Chinatown Gateway. When was the gateway erected? Why was the gateway erected in this location? What is the Chinese character on the floor on the sidewalk by the gateway?
9. Continue down N. Broadway. After Ord St., you will see The Far East Plaza across the street. Cross the street and walk through the plaza. Feel free to visit any of the stores. Visit Wing Hop Fung Ginseng & China Products Center. You will see it on your right when you enter the plaza. Walk through the store. What kinds of things do they sell? How is it different from a "traditional" American market? What is the most interesting thing that they sell?Walk through Far East Plaza until you get to N. Hill St. You will see a Ten Ren's Tea Time on this side. Make a right when you exit the plaza.
10. Walk down N. Hill St. until you reach the Central Plaza. The Central Plaza is marked by a large arch and gateway with a Chinatown sign on it. Across the street you will see the Foo Chow restaurant where the movie Rush Hour was filmed. It says so on the side of the place.
11. Go into Central Plaza. Find the Chinatown Wishing Well. Take a picture of yourself throwing a coin into the well. Can you find the plaque saying who made the well? Why is the well there? If you could have thrown a coin into any of the cups, which one would you throw in to? Why?
12. Take. your time to walk around Central Plaza and Chungking Road. Explore the shops in the area. Find the seated Statue of Dr. Sun Yet-Sen. Take a picture with it. Who is he? Why is he important?
13. Exit Central Plaza and make a right on N. Broadway. At College St. Cross the street to the side where you see the Bank of America. Walk for a block or so until you see Saigon Plaza on your right. It is a bazaar type shopping center. Enter the shopping center and walk around. Inside you will see many clothing, jewelry, music, and electronics stores. Feel free to browse your way through the stalls. If you wish to buy anything, you can always bargain down the price a few dollars. If you find the stairway going to the Dynasty Center, take them and walk through the Dynasty Center. What kinds of things did you see people selling? How is a shopping center like this different from a more traditional shopping center?
14. While in Chinatown, eat an ethnic snack or meal. Take a picture of yourself eating. What did you eat? Did you like it or not?
Part One: Photo Essay: You will turn in a photo essay showing me your day. With each photo you must answer the accompanying questions. You may glue or print the photos directly on to the paper and answer the questions below the photo, typed and neatly done.
Part Two: Typed, double-spaced, five paragraph essay that answers the following: 1. Introduction
2. Based on your journey what do you think were the feelings and experiences of immigrants when they entered Union Station and arrived in California?