Los Angeles

Happy 239th Birthday, Los Angeles

The walk to El Pueblo de Los Angeles isn't happening this year, but we can all pay a celebratory thought to the city we adore.

Betsie Van der Meer/Reinier Snijders/EyeEm

What to Know

  • Sept. 4
  • The Walk to LA is cancelled, as is the El Pueblo de Los Angeles cake and party
  • You can find information on the annual walk on the City of San Gabriel site

Even if a birthday party is cancelled, the birthday-haver is still having a birthday.

That seems like an overly obvious way to put things, but it is true. You don't need the cake and the balloons and the decorations and the guests to embrace a special occasion; you can honor an occasion on your own, in your own way.

And Sept. 4, 2020? It so happens that is the day when our vibrant, complex, beautiful, and old city turns 239.

The "2020" part of the date tells much of the story: The annual El Pueblo de Los Angeles celebration is cancelled, as is the beloved Walk to LA.

That event, which retraces the route of the original Pobladores of 1781, winds its way from San Gabriel to El Pueblo each year.

The City of San Gabriel has information and maps available to those people looking to make the walk on their own, with advisories about the heat wave, traffic laws, and COVID-19 safety precautions.

Of course, if you'd like to wait for LA's 240th birthday, in 2021, with the hope that the group walk returns, you most certainly can.

Will there be triple-digit temperatures in early September next year?

Well, that happens as our SoCal summer winds down, but the walk typically begins very early in the morning.

And, of course, if the group walk is back, the celebratory free cake at El Pueblo will likely return, too.

It's a charming fact about our megalopolis of a city: There is cake for all at its birthday party, a feature you might expect to see at a small town celebration.

Los Pobladores knew that small town, 239 years ago, even if we modern-day locals do not. But close community spirit shines through in today's Los Angeles, especially during moments like gathering together for free cake at our city's birthday bash.

The cake, the walk, and the gathering together, though, must wait for a future celebration: It's all canceled for 2020.

Still, we'll say it again, with ardent emphasis: Happy 239th, Los Angeles.

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