Heart of LA Local Gems: Community Gathering Places

CicLAvistas from all parts of the region are getting set to gather and explore the city during another joyous CicLAvia event.  The Heart of LA route is full of local gems. And while it's tough to highlight everything thing there is to explore along this route in a single blog, we put together a small sampling of local gems that serve as community gathering spots throughout the year. You’ll find them along the CicLAvia -- Heart of LA route, in neighborhoods like Chinatown, Boyle Heights, Downtown LA and Little Tokyo. Some you can’t miss while others are quaint, tucked-away plazas. These neighborhood treasures help express the local identity and history of the communities they’re in while inviting locals and visitors alike to come together.  

What are your CicLAvia - Heart of LA local gems? Let us know by tagging us @CicLAvia on social media and use #localgem.  


Chinatown Central Plaza

943 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Entering the plaza through one of the two arches transports you into a world of traditional Chinese culture. It’s considered Chinatown’s central hub by many and has been a cornerstone of this neighborhood since 1938.  Learn more at http://www.oldchinatownla.com/


Photo: Curbed LA

Mariachi Plaza

Mariachis have gathered here since the 1930s to play or offer their services for parties and events. Today, this historic plaza is a neighborhood gathering spot for parties, concerts, other community events… and yes, Mariachi music. Sitting atop Mt. Pleasant, this gem treats people to a spectacular Downtown LA vista as well.

Learn more at https://mariachiplazalosangeles.com/site/

Photo: Timeout.com

Japanese Village Plaza

335 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture by taking a stroll through this little village within a neighborhood. The historic site is widely considered to be the jewel of Little Tokyo. Learn more at http://japanesevillageplaza.net/gallery


Photo: Discover Los Angeles

Olvera Street

Take a step back in time through this corridor of narrow streets that recreates the enchanting “Old Los Angeles” atmosphere. According to Discover Los Angeles, many of the merchants trace their ancestry back to this area’s original vendors. Learn more at https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/activities/olvera-street

Photo: Cartwheel Art

Art Share LA

801 E 4th Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90013

It’s a gathering spot for artists as well as non-practicing artists (but who nonetheless appreciate the rich creativity LA has to offer). “Whether you are coming for a gallery opening, theater show or to drop off artwork; you can expect a welcoming staff or volunteer to take you on a unique journey through our space,” its website reads. Learn more: artsharela.org

Photo: grandparkla.org

Grand Park

Covering the distance between the Music Center and City Hall, Grand Park is a majestic green space in the heart of the Civic Center District. “Throughout Grand Park, open spaces are available not only for casual sitting and leisurely strolling, but also for civic gatherings,” the park's caretakers say.  Learn more at https://grandparkla.org/

Photo: LA Eater

Grand Central Market

317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Where the previous gems in this list celebrate deep cultural roots of their respective communities, the Grand Central Market accentuates diversity.  Walk through this year-round market and you’ll find yourself on a journey through an array of food and drink options inspired by disparate regions and cultures from around the globe.

Learn more at http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/