“Daily Life in Early LA” A Self-Guided Tour of 19th Century Los Angeles from Marissa López

June 26, 2020

Professor Marissa López spent the 2019-20 academic year as an ACLS Scholars & Society Fellow working with the Los Angeles Public Library to develop projects showcasing the history and cultural production of 19th century, Mexican Los Angeles. The big goal of the project is a mobile app, currently in production, but there is also a cluster of smaller, digital projects including a recently released tour of DTLA.

One such projects is “Daily Life in Early Los Angeles,” a self-guided bike tour through nineteenth-century Mexican LA. No bike? No problem! Most of this ride can be walked, and you can follow all of it on Google Maps using Street View. Download a PDF of the route at: and find the audio by searching for “Picturing Mexican America” on SoundCloud and Spotify.

The ride is a collaboration between Picturing Mexican America and the Los Angeles Explorers Club, designed to get you out and about, experiencing the city afresh. Los Angeles in the mid-nineteenth century was, as John Mack Faragher describes it in Eternity Street, a “violent place in a violent time,” (xi). Nevertheless, people still managed to have a lot of fun here. What did early Angelenos do to entertain themselves, and what do entertainment, popular culture, and daily life in the nineteenth-century reveal about the racial and ethnic tensions in Los Angeles today in 2020? Ride along to explore that very question and uncover the hidden histories of some DTLA landmarks.

Stay safe; stay sane; and, enjoy the ride!