El Pueblo’s central, magnolia-shaded square is crowned by a pretty wrought-iron gazebo. Sleepy and a little sketchy during the week, it often turns into a full-blown fiesta zone on Saturdays and Sundays, drawing mariachis, costumed dancers, kissing couples and strolling families.
The best time to be here is for one of the many Mexican festivals, such as Cinco de Mayo or Día de los Muertos. Dotted around the plaza are statues of such key historical figures as Felipe de Neve, who led the first group of settlers, and King Carlos III of Spain, who financed the venture. The colonists’ names are engraved on a nearby bronze plaque.