When we think about diving into our Latino cultural history, we often think of taking a flight to our motherland, instead of seeing what’s within our local reach. While that’s an authentic approach, we should also consider what we have nearby.
Personally, when thinking about exploring my Mexican roots’ iconic places, I envision visiting Mexico City’s Zócalo or Teotihuacan’s Pyramid of the Sun. But being based in Los Angeles, CA, there are undoubtedly a lot of treasured gems that aren’t necessarily a flight away. For example, have you taken a stroll down the famous Olvera Street in LA?
Latino places and culture are everywhere, and this is no surprise since, in 2020, the Hispanic/Latino population was recorded at 62.1 million. With this data in mind, we can already imagine the number of Latin influences and archival value we’ve garnered over generations in this country. The truth is that we’re fortunate to be surrounded by all of our incredible Latino cultures.
From culinary endeavors to monumental landmarks, here are three iconic Latino places to visit this summer.
Olvera Street in Los Angeles, California
El Pueblo Historic Park on Olvera Street, commonly referred to as “La Placita Olvera,” is a landmark in LA. It was envisioned as a “Mexican Marketplace and a cultural center in the heart of Los Angeles to preserve the memory of old L.A.,” and it continues to be one. This gem is conveniently located near Union Station, a train station for those visiting LA.
Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida
How about eating history? Per this source, the Cuban restaurant has been around for over 100 years. “Casimiro Hernandez Sr. founded the Columbia Restaurant in 1905. Located in Tampa’s historic Ybor City, Columbia Restaurant is not only the first Cuban restaurant in Florida but also the oldest.” Fun fact: the restaurant went from seating 60 patrons to now being able to seat an estimated 1,700.
Celia Cruz Way in New York City
Will you be in The Big Apple this summer? For those interested in Latino music history, one of the most iconic Cuban-American singers, Celia Cruz, has her own street in NYC. The street is near the Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music and leads to where she’s now buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. While visiting her grave could be too eerie for some, the street itself makes for an iconic stop for Cruz’s hardcore fans.