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Happy Birthday Los Angeles!

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Did you know today is the 226th birthday of El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles -- aka L.A.? The old bitch is looking pretty good for her age!

Although the city did not incorporate until 1850, September 4th, 1781 is the date that 44 Mexican pobladores set out from San Gabriel with a military escort to settle alongside a great river -- then called the Rio de Porciuncula, later to be rechristianed the Los Angeles River.

LAist was there on Sunday, despite the near-paralyzing heat, to celebrate the occasion with Los Pobladores 200 -- descendents of the original 44, who still make the nine-mile trek from the San Gabriel Mission to the Los Angeles River every year. The LA Times was also there (but we covered it better).

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LA City Nerd made up a list of 225 Ways to Celebrate L.A.'s Birthday last year, but we see no reason why you can't try your hand at a few ways this year. Our favorites include:

1) Visit The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Palms. (It's Werner Herzog's favorite!)
2) Eat a traditional Ethiopian meal in Little Ethiopia.
3) Visit the only Mission in Los Angeles, located (naturally) in Mission Hills.
4) Take one of the LA Conservancy's Walking Tours; they conveniently feature Angelino Heights as a destination.
5) Explore Westwood by foot: start at the Wilshire/Gayley intersection and work your way up to Sunset Boulevard, making sure to stop for a breather in UCLA's Sculpture Garden.

Of course, the best way this week to celebrate the birth of the best city in the world would be to say a friendly hello to your neighbors, conserve energy while the heat wave is still raging, and patronize some small, local-run businesses and restaurants.

What are your suggestions for honoring L.A.'s birthday?

We might go home and make a model of a mission out of sugar cubes and popsicle sticks, but that's just us.

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Photo of El Pueblo Plaza de Los Angeles by The City Project via Flickr.