Southern California is home to millions of people of Latino heritage, many with family roots in California going back centuries. It is no surprise that Latino culture has influenced almost every aspect of life in SoCal, ranging from food and art to sports and entertainment.

The richness, vibrance and beauty of the various and diverse Latino cultures have not only shaped Southern California but our nation as well. Whether you call SoCal your home or are visiting, Metrolink invites you to explore with friends and family the special communities, powerful art, and historical roots of Latino culture.

This travel guide provides some wonderful destinations to visit during Latino Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) or anytime throughout the year. The destinations are accessible by a Metrolink train, sometimes combined with a short stroll or connection with other transit options.

Los Angeles County

Located right across from the Metrolink’s L.A. Union Station is Olvera Street, a historic district in Los Angeles and part of El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument. Olvera Street is one of the oldest streets in the city, paying homage to the deeply rooted Mexican heritage of Los Angeles. Close to Olvera Street is Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Here visitors can learn about the founding story of Los Angeles with interactive exhibits. Aside from these two locations, there are many more destinations that celebrate the Latino culture and are worth exploring, including but not limited to:

Mariachi Plaza Kiosk:

East of Downtown L.A. in the neighborhood of Boyle Heights, you will find Mariachi Plaza. This plaza is known for its history as a center for Mariachi music dating back to the 1950s. Here Mariachi musicians in their traditional embellished charro suits congregated every day in hopes of finding work as a full band, trio, or solo singer. In 1998, the State of Jalisco donated and shipped to L.A. a kiosk made by Juan Pablo Salas, a renowned stone artisan from Guadalajara. This gift provided an assembly point for the musicians which quickly became a landmark in the community and symbol of mariachi culture.

El Salvador Corridor & La Pupusa Urban Eatery:

South of Downtown L.A. near the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, you will find El Salvador Corridor, it is the first designated Salvadoran neighborhood in Los Angeles. More than 100 businesses and small markets offering Central American products make up this Corridor, which serves as a physical space for Salvadorans to feel recognized in a city comprised of nearly 1 million Salvadorans. If you want to explore the cuisine of the Salvadoran culture such as pupusas, make a stop at La Pupusa Urban Eatery, where you can enjoy authentic flavors, modern décor, and friendly staff.

Ventura County

Ortega Adobe:

Located on Main Street near Downtown Ventura, you will find this historic adobe house built in 1857 by Emigdio Ortega. In 1897, the Ortega family began fire-roasting chiles in the adobe’s kitchen and founded the Ortega Chile Packing Company which was the first commercial food operation of its kind in the state of California. The family’s chili sauce is still available in markets today, and in 1974 the Ortega Adobe became City of Ventura’s Historic Landmark No.2.

Cesar Chavez’s Former House:

As a young boy, farm labor rights leader Cesar Chavez briefly lived in a shed in the La Colonia neighborhood. Although the site was torn down, a plaque on Garfield Avenue commemorates his contribution to agricultural workers. As an adult, Chavez returned to Oxnard in 1958 and lived on Wright Road in El Rio. He spent a year in town working to help form a community organization dedicated to registering voters and to organize field workers.

Riverside County

Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture, or ‘The Cheech’:

Located in Riverside’s Downtown historic core, The Cheech is a new space dedicated to Chicano art and culture. Institutions dedicated to Chicano art are exceedingly rare, and this new center may very well be the largest permanent collection of Mexican American Art in the U.S. The Cheech houses about 500 paintings, drawings, and sculptures donated by Cheech Marin, a third-generation Mexican American comedian, actor, and art collector. The Cheech is a public-private partnership between Riverside Art Museum, the City of Riverside, and Cheech Marin.

San Bernardino County

Mitla Café:

Located along the famous Route 66, San Bernardino’s iconic Mitla Café has been serving up Mexican comfort-food to travelers and locals since 1937. Founded by Mexican immigrant Lucia Rodriguez, Lucia was a trailblazer in operating an all-female business on Route 66. Lucia and her family quickly turned Mitla Café into a community staple. Civil rights leader Cesar Chavez frequented the café whenever he was in town and powerful local businessmen made patrons by Lucia’s husband who would later form the Mexican Chamber of Commerce.

Orange County

Bowers Museum:

Located on Main Street in Santa Ana, Bowers Museum is O.C.’s largest museum, it celebrates the world’s finest arts and cultures. An ongoing exhibit at the museum is ‘Ceramics of Western Mexico’ where visitors can learn about the Pre-Columbian Art from the western Mexican states of Colima, Nayarit, and Jalisco. It depicts what life was like through different interpretations, including iconic Colima canines.

Calle Cuatro Marketplace, or ‘La Cuatro’:

Located in Downtown Santa Ana on Fourth Street along a stretch lined with historic buildings, you will find La Cuatro. In the mid-1970s La Cuatro was in its initial stages of forming its identity as a Mexican cultural and working-class commercial zone. Today La Cuatro is still vibrant with Mexican culture where visitors can listen to strolling Mariachi, watch Aztec and Mexican folkloric dancers, and enjoy the delicious food of street vendors. If you go on a Saturday night, be prepared to dance in the streets! Plaza Calle Cuatro, El Callejon del Beso, and the Artist Village are full of art vendors and live Latin music such as Salsa, Cumbia, Timba, and Bachata.

San Luis Rey Mission Church:

Founded in 1798, San Luis Rey Mission is the 18th out of the 21 missions established by Spain throughout the state. It is also the largest and is among the finest examples of Spanish-Colonial architecture in all of California. The history of this mission spans the early Spanish colonial period, and the Mexican era. The church is a National Historic Landmark recognized for its significant contribution to the western Spanish and Mexican heritage. The mission celebrates special events throughout the year such as Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and offers other unique attractions such as a museum, retreat center, and cemetery.

Be sure to visit Metrolink’s Explore page at for more destinations highlighting SoCal’s rich Latino culture. If you visit any of these places by Metrolink train or have other suggestions where Metrolink riders can enjoy SoCal Latino culture, please take a photo, and tag us on Instagram @metrolink! Enjoy your travels with Metrolink!