What about sharing a place where taste buds can rejoice to the max? Well, we have a deal.
The Los Angeles Farmers Market started to operate in 1934 with farmers selling their goods from their trucks to the community. In a matter of months, business started to boom. Eateries and restaurants were established in the surrounding area and it became a popular place to have lunch or dinner (especially for Hollywood stars).
This particular market claims to be the “original” in greater Los Angeles. Authentic or not, the market has been making history for more than 85 years.
Nowadays, it is a historic landmark in Los Angeles and a popular tourist attraction. You can see tourist buses dropping people from all around the world on the main entrances. It gets pretty crowded on weekends (they even run out of parking space). In fact, it gets so crowded that you can’t even walk properly down the aisles.
But, do not get discouraged. There is a lot of good food to try in this place. The key is to visit during the week or early on the weekends.
Let’s take a look at what the Los Angeles Farmer’s Market has to offer.
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Los Angeles Farmers Market
This place deviates a little from the whole “market” concept. In a farmer’s market, you expect to see a lot of people selling fruits, vegetables, flowers, fresh meat, fish and nuts. There are others selling their homemade or artisanal goods. Some sell their country of origin, hard to find specialties.
The focus is on local people selling their goods to the community. These places usually have space for some stalls serving ready to eat food to hungry shoppers but this is not the focus of the whole event.
The Los Angeles Farmers Market is very different from what I have described above. See it more like a giant, open-air food court. The majority of the stalls are occupied by restaurants, bakeries, ice cream parlors and other establishments selling edible treats (popcorn, chocolate, etc.).
Here are my favorite places to eat inside the market:
Du-par’s Pie Shop – Since I am not a pie person, I try to stay away from this baked good as much as possible. But, there are always exceptions to the rule. Du-par’s sells a lot of different pies but the classic apple one is my favorite.
Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts – Donuts are so hard to resist. I lie every time I say I am only going to have a bite (I devour the entire thing). At Bob’s, donuts are coming out of the fryer all day. Pick your favorite (glazed, maple glazed, chocolate, apple fritter) and have it with a cup of coffee. The have beignets too.
Papa Jake’s Sub Shop – The sandwiches from the shop are prepared with fresh ingredients and crusty bread. The chopped onion, peppers and hot chilies they put over the subs take them to another level of deliciousness. Try the cheesesteak sandwich if possible.
Pampas Grill – This is one of the most popular eateries at the farmer’s market and it usually gets jammed-packed. Get determined to wait in line if you want to taste the picanha (beef), sausages, bacon-wrapped chicken and other Brazilian specialties.
Bennett’s Ice Cream – I have not tried the ice cream at Bennett’s (but assume it is good since the lines a crazy) but I can vouch the Bennett Bar (vanilla ice cream bar covered in chocolate and nuts) is out of this world.
Fritzi Coop – I start salivating when I think about this place. They sell exquisite fried chicken sandwiches, fried chicken wings and fried chicken tenders (do you see the pattern). You can have their amazing creations with their in-house prepared sauces.
Singapore’s Banana Leaf – I like this place since it is one of the few places in Los Angeles where you can get Beef Rendang, Laksa and Nasi Goreng.
Charlie’s Coffee Shop – Do not get fooled by this establishment’s name. Charlie’s is actually a wonderful place to sit down for brunch. They have a wide array of waffles, hotcakes, French toast, burgers, and egg plates.
Michelina – I have spent way too much time looking at the bread and desserts prepared at Michelina (the fact that my husband is a baker doesn’t help). Each piece is a work of art. For over the top French sweets, stop here.
French Crepe Company – For some strange reason, I crave crepes a lot. Thank goodness the selection in this place is ample. I prefer to eat sweet crepes but the smoked salmon one os so good.
Monsieur Marcel – And, I have to add one more French establishment to the list. This bistro serves oysters, caviar, sea urchin, king crab legs and other luxurious items. This is the place to get fancy. They have a gourmet market selling all sorts of European products. Do not miss it!
The market has merchants selling fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, and fish too. Stop by if you are looking for fresh ingredients.
In addition, you can find specialty food vendors. You have the choice of buying goods such as coffee, olive oil, spices, pickles, toffee, tea, and nuts.
With time, the market has expanded within its original building. Adjacent and nearby structures are home chains like Chipotle, Blaze Pizza, Marmalade Cafe, Veggie Grill, and Dylan’s Candy Bar. These places would not be my first choice when it comes to eating in the area. However, I am mentioning them to pass on the info. You or somebody in your group may prefer to grab a bite in one of these.
Oh, make sure you take a look at the Farmers Market Tower and at the Historical Gilmore Gas Station.
Next to the Los Angeles Farmers Market, you can find The Grove, another classic in the Los Angeles area. This big shopping complex counts with tons of pricey stores (Nordstrom, Apple, Michael Kors), fancy eateries (Laduree, Dominique Ansel), a movie theater, a dancing fountain, and even an old-school trolley.
After eating at the market, take a stroll through this shopping area. Even if you do not buy anything, the scene is great and there are entertainment possibilities for all the members of the family. Plus, taking photos is free (I am sure you are going to take tons).
Just in case you need a little bit more eating and shopping in your life, there are more stores to choose from across from the Market-Grove complex. Across from 3rd Street, you have a Whole Foods and a Ross. Across from Fairfax, you have a Trader Joe’s and more restaurants.
Los Angeles Farmers Market – Details
The Farmer’s Market is located at 3rd Street and Fairfax (close to Wilshire Boulevard and the Miracle Mile). If you are around the area, consider stopping by to get some delicious food.
Food prices are on the expensive side here. As mentioned, this is a top touristic spot. Expect to pay $10 – $15 for a meal.
Believe it or not, some establishments accept only cash. Make sure you have some bills.
There are two big parking lots on-site. There is a 90-minute free validation with a purchase from a merchant. Some grocers offer 2 free hours (with purchase).
Do not get confused. The parking rules are different if you park at The Grove’s lots.
The Los Angeles Farmer’s Market is located less than a mile away from the notorious Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the modern Petersen Automotive Museum. In the vicinity, you will find other institutions like La Brea Tar Pits and the Craft Contemporary Museum.
Beverly Hills (the Rodeo Drive area) is located 3 miles from the market. Hollywood is only 3.5 miles away.
Therefore, you can include the market as part of your Los Angeles sightseeing plans.
More of Los Angeles
One Day in Los Angeles: Itinerary for First-Time Visitors
Two Days in Los Angeles: Downtown-Based Itinerary
Los Angeles Itinerary: 2, 3 or 4 Days in Los Angeles
More of Southern California
One Day in San Diego: Itinerary for First-Time Visitors
Have you been to the Los Angeles Original Farmers Market?
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