El Mercado | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Marisela Ramirez/L.A. Conservancy.

El Mercado

Widely known as a social, cultural, and commercial center for the local Latinx community, El Mercado represents a traditional Latin American marketplace providing a space in Boyle Heights for the sale of traditional Mexican goods, religious relics, live mariachi music, and authentic Mexican food. The building is situated around a large interior courtyard and is distinguished by its red-tiled roof, arcade, and distinctive two-story arches.

Although El Mercado has become strongly identified with the Latinx community, the space was originally a multiethnic market. Founded in 1968 by Art Chaya on the former site of the Boyle Heights Lumber Company, the two-story stucco building served the local Mexican, Japanese, and Italian communities. The variety of cultures, products, and foods boosted its appeal to outside visitors. Though the building has evolved over time, its original spirit and purpose have sustained. 

In 1991, artist Jose-Luis Gonzalez of Goez Art Studio designed and installed a bas-relief, mosaic tile mural on the first level of the western elevation. The mural, entitled Mayan Rain God, depicts abstract representations of the ancient Mayan deity in a largely serpentine form. 

Today, El Mercado (also referred to affectionately as "El Mercadito") is famous for its legendary mariachi scene, hosting hundreds of bands throughout its history. Traditionally, musicians recreate the practice of working al talon ("on one's heels") as they would in Mexico, working a handful of establishments per night for a fixed fee per song. 

Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA
Photo by Nigel Lo

Pavilion for Japanese Art, LACMA

Divided into two volumes, the Pavillion features a sweeping, prow-like roof some have compared to a Shinto temple, an ancient samurai helmet, or even a building in Disney's Tomorrowland.
Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Union Bank Square

The tallest building in the city when it was completed in 1967, the Union Bank Square's forty story tower was an important step forward for the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill area. The great Garrett Eckbo designed the landscaped plaza at the tower's base.
Photo by Michael Locke

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse

Opened in 1927, the playhouse was built for John Steven McGroarty specifically as a venue for his famed Mission Play. The architectural style is Mission Revival - the exterior façade was designed to resemble McGroarty’s favorite mission, San Antonio de Padua in Monterey County, California.