While it’s not exactly true to its name (there was not a farmer in sight the day we visited), the LA Farmers Market is nonetheless a super fun place to stop for a bite at one of the 60+ eateries that line the narrow ‘market streets’.
Set up in 1934, at the height of the Great Depression, the market was established on land owned by the son of farmer-turned-oil tycoon Arthur Fremont Gilmore, so housewives could buy fresh produce direct from local farmers. The farmers would park their trucks on the vacant land and pay a daily rent of fifty cents, and soon “Meet me at Third and Fairfax” became a classic phrase in the Los Angelan lexicon.
Today, the stalls are rather more established, and the ‘farmers’ range from true fruit-and-veg specialists to that all-American classic – Starbucks!
Nonetheless, whether it’s divine Mexican at ¡Loteria! Grill (you can tell it’s good by the consistent – albeit fast-moving – queue), a smoothie from The Salad Bar, or you just want to pick up some old-fashioned ice cream, “Light My Fire” hot sauces, treats or meats from one of the specialty stores, there is definitely something here for every palate. Take a moment to stop at one of the History Displays or the restaurants boasting set-like decor from another era, whether it’s Earl’s Service Station – a replica of the 1936 Gilmore Gas stations that were scattered across the West Coast of America – the barber shop in the heart of the market, or the old-fashioned Bennett’s ice-cream stall.
After you have had your fill, head a handful of metres to The Grove where you will find those All-American brand stores including Nordstroms department store, as well as the historic Grove Trolley (you can usually take a ride, although it was closed the day we were there), the delightful Grove Cinema where you could stop to see a movie, and a small lake filled with koi that has a sweet little bridge and choreographed water fountains to entertain young and old alike. If that’s not enough, you can also pick up some of the latest fun offerings from Pottery Barn Kids at number 189 The Grove.
Why go? A great halfway stopping point between West Hollywood and the Miracle Mile, it is like visiting a mini Americana theme park without having to pay your super price fee.
Who is it best for? All ages. With an old-worlde ice-cream stall, sticker shops, lolly shops, movie cinema, department store, dancing fountain, and trolley ride on offer, there will be something for every age group.
Top Tip If you are going on a Saturday, be sure to scout out a table as soon as you arrive, as you can otherwise be left juggling children, fully loaded plates, and your day’s kit whilst standing.
Our favourite bit The fact you can eat, shop, take in a bit of history and see LA locals (some even famous) at play all in the one place…
Don’t Go… If you never did like the vibe of Happy Days.
While You’re Here… Head down to the Miracle Mile to see the vintage vehicles at Petersen Automotive Museum… more Happy Days territory, but with some Batman memorabilia included…