Los Angeles is a popular tourist destination. Millions of people from all over the globe gather here every year to experience the unique California lifestyle. If you stop by this city, you cannot miss the chance to explore East Los Angeles and one of its most prominent neighborhoods: Boyle Heights. With a vast diversity of inhabitants and home to many attractions, this area is now one of the most interesting and not-to-be-missed experiences in East Los Angeles.
The Tongva were the first to live in what we know today as Boyle Heights. After the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and when the area was part of Mexico, it was called Paredón Blanco.
But it wasn’t until the 19th century when Boyle Heights got its current name, when Andrew Boyle moved here. William H. Workman, the son-in-law of Andrew Boyle, became the major of Los Angeles and developed the area.
For many years, Boyle Heights was divided into two sections: The Heights and The Flats. The latter were covered in slums and were even considered the worst in the United States by most people. Between the 1940s and the 1970s, there were many projects to raze and replace the slums, some of them still stand today and have managed to shift the opinion on the area from gang violence to art and preservation.
By the 20th century, Boyle Heights was one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It was home to people from Japan, Mexico, Croatia, and Russia, as well as many Jewish. This diversity in its inhabitants has been lost over the most recent years but it is still palpable in the many restaurants and establishments that reside here.
Whether you live in East Los Angeles or just want to pop up for a visit, here’s a list of 10 places you should include in your itinerary.
Best places to eat in East Los Angeles
Boyle Heights is one of the neighborhoods with the most Mexican restaurants in East Los Angeles, which makes perfect sense considering its historic background and the fact that Latinos make most of the current population of the neighborhood.
One of the reasons why locals and tourists alike are reluctant to explore new areas is the fear of getting lost or not being sure how easy or expensive it will be to park their car. Call us and one of our taxi drivers will pick you up and take you for the meal of your life. Forget about the stress and concentrate in enjoying your gastronomic experience!
Al & Bea’s
This Mexican restaurant goes back to 1966 and has won the hearts of families, paramedics, and tattoo-lovers alike. The burritos made by Al & Bea’s are well worth a visit to the neighborhood. The best part? The burritos are not only cheap but they are also delicious. Plus, the outdoor seating will allow you to take in the best of the urban landscape.
La Favorita Bakery
This bakery, or panadería, as they are known in Mexico, is one of the best you will ever visit. Here, you will find typical Mexican delicacies that you simply cannot miss. Be sure to try the conchas, bolillos, cookies, cakes, and turnovers. Visiting La Favorita will give you the chance to treat your palate and experience a Mexican bakery; walk in, grab your tray, and pick the tastiest looking bread. The extravagant decoration will also add to the uniqueness of your visit.
Otomisan started as Otomi Café back in the 1950s, when Boyle Heights had a large Japanese and Jewish population. The café only had five counter stools and three booths and it is now one of the most popular Japanese restaurants in the East Los Angeles area. Although the service in the kitchen is not the fastest in town, it is definitely worth the wait. At Otomisan, you get to witness history and enjoy Japanese dishes at the same time. The restaurant is most popular for the combinations, which allow you to choose two of seven famous Japanese specialties.
La Serenata de Garibaldi
La Serenata de Garibaldi has got to be the most popular restaurant in Boyle Heights. It was a pioneer in showing the diversity of Mexican food to the Los Angeles area. The restaurant has a home feeling to it, with its homemade tortillas and complimentary chips and soups. Seafood is another highlight here, with a variety that includes mojo al ajo, sea bass, and salmon. The Swiss enchiladas is another dish that will turn you into one of the many loyal followers of La Serenata de Garibaldi.
El Tepeyac Café
This eatery opened in 1955 specializes in burritos. The burritos from El Tepeyac are famous for being huge, so do come with a big appetite! Manuel’s special burrito with green chili is a house favorite and large enough to feed a family of four, but if you can eat it by yourself in less than an hour, you will get a t-shirt to commemorate your culinary accomplishment.
Best places to visit in East Los Angeles
East Los Angeles is full of places to see and things to do, it is absolutely impossible to get bored while you’re here. Locals and visitors alike know this area is unique and will give you memories to treasure for the rest of your life.
In a city as big as Los Angeles, it can be easy to get lost, especially if you’re a tourist and are not sure how public transportation works. Hiring a taxi service will save you the struggle of getting used to another city’s metros and buses. In addition, you will forget about the stress of parking and wondering if the fees you’re paying to leave your car partially unattended are fair.
This Mexican marketplace, commonly known as “the birthplace of Los Angeles,” features a romantic feeling, old structures, street vendors, cafés, gift shops, and restaurants. Its original purpose was preserve the customs of California in the 1930s. Here, you will not only find handcrafted items for your family and friends and amazing food, you will also get to listen to mariachi music and watch Mexican folkloric dancers perform.
Bradbury Building is a historic office building known for its gorgeous architecture. The atrium features skylit stairs, elevators, walkways, and magnificent ironwork. Commissioned by Lewis L. Bradbury, a gold-mining millionaire, this building has been used as set for many films, television shows, and music videos. One of its most popular appearances was in the film Blade Runner. Visitors can only access to the first landing, but this historical landmark is a must for every architecture lover.
We’ll admit this one’s a bit of a cheat, but it’s impossible to pick just one museum! Los Angeles is home to many museums, with enough variety to suit any taste and interest. You will surely find one you will want to spend the entire day exploring! Many museums have a free admission day, which will give you the chance to culture your mind while looking after your wallet. Popular museums include the Vincent Price Art Museum, the Japanese American National Museum, the Monterey Park Historical Museum, the Heritage Square Museum, the Los Angeles Police Museum, and the Chinese American Museum.
If you are a fan of thrilling experiences, you have to include Exit Game in your list of places to visit. Popular among people from all ages and perfect for a day out with friends or family, Exit Game offers themed escape rooms that will test your ability to act under pressure, wit, and imagination. The rooms contain clues and great props that will lead you to the next step of the experience you choose. Definitely a great way to get out of the routine and not your typical tourist experience.
If fashion is one of your main motivations to visit this city, you will love Citadel Outlets in East Los Angeles. This open air mall features many famous brands, excellent prices, and a food area. Whether you come with friends or family, this is a nice place to enjoy a day out and renew your wardrobe.
Moving around East Los Angeles
There are many options to choose from when you want to explore a city. Ranging from crowded buses and complicated metro lines, figuring out public transportation can take a lot of your planning time for any trip. That’s why the best option is hiring a taxi service, which will let you sit back and relax your visit without the stress, lines, and crowds. Let one of our taxi drivers deal with the chaotic Los Angeles traffic.
Using our taxi service in East Los Angeles will give you the chance to leave the stress and constant worrying behind. The best way to explore a city is with an expert who knows how to move around and who is capable of getting you to your destination both quickly and safely. All our taxi drivers know the East Los Angeles area and the best routes, they will only add to your amazing time in Los Angeles! Think no more and call us at 323-302-2288 to let an expert taxi driver lead the way!