The Best Markets to Visit in Los Angeles
PHOTO: Los Angelinos know to hit up Grand Central Market for culinary amazement. (Photo via Flickr/Oran Viriyincy)
The absurdities of Los Angeles, the same ones that just happen to attract tourists from as far as Eastern Europe, are not what the city's locals and transplants love about it. It isn't the clumsy flurry of Hollywood and Highland or the ever-crowded Santa Monica Boardwalk, which feel as if it's about to collapse any minute under the weight of ten thousand or so tourists.
It's the endless number of hiking trails and the plethora of culinary havens. It's the distinct neighborhoods and independent shops and of course, the delightful markets. They are what make Los Angeles real and separate from its manufactured Hollywood persona.
Here are five marketplace gems to visit in the city that, more than anywhere else in the world, is a lot more than its reputation would indicate.
Grand Central Market
Many of Los Angeles' small pockets have undergone their Renaissance, the best example of which is perhaps Downtown LA's Grand Central Market. The historic market and one of LA's most notable architectural finds is located right in front of famous Angels Flight. It used to be your run-of-the-mill, slowly dilapidating market. However, a slew of culinary joints have taken over, from sandwich shops and Asian restaurants to specialty joints such as Eggslut, which make the best lacto ovo creations, and coffee shops
Today, it's become a sort of paradise for food lovers and an important stop for many of the local food tours. There are still stalls that sell fruits, vegetables and raw meats, but this market is definitely for those needing quick refueling and hearty bites.
The Original Los Angeles Flower Market
Photo via Flick/Neon Tommy
While you can visit Downtown LA's Flower District and go from shop to shop for flowers, a visit at the Original Flower Market, located in the heart of the district along Wall Street, is crucial. Inside the two warehouses that host the market are rows of local vendors selling the freshest blooms at bargain prices, making it a must stop for everyone from event and wedding planners to retail consumers.
You won't find just flowers here either. Vendors also sell cacti, succulents, pots, flower arrangement materials and even some party supplies. There's an entrance fee of $2 ($1 on Saturday), but it's definitely worth the price, even if you just popped in for roses and marigolds, and took a couple of very colorful photos.
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Photo via Flickr/Eli Duke
Wares from as far as Nepal and Tibet join the hodgepodge of antiques, vintage and locally handmade products at the Rose Bowl Flea Market, one of Los Angeles' best and biggest flea markets. There are also handmade products from El Salvador, Columbia and Mexico, as well as cacti and succulents and terrific street food. It's this diversity that makes this market, and the fact that it boasts over 2,500 vendors popular, drawing visitors as far as Seattle. Held at Pasadena's Rose Bowl on the second Sunday of every month, It's a fantastic addition to the long list of things to see and do when you're exploring the city. General admission starts at 9 am for $9 per person, but if you want dibs on the best stuff, they offer an early 7 a.m. admission for $15. It can get pretty hot later in the day so don't forget to bring water and slather on some sunscreen.
Long Beach Antique Market
This open-air flea market in Long Beach is known for the best antique finds and has long been frequented by locals and celebrities. Held every third Sunday of the month along Conant Street, the Long Beach Antique Market boasts around 800 or so vendors selling antique, vintage and collectible items at reasonable prices. It's the best place to visit if you're shopping around for great quality home and garden furnishings. The market strictly enforces a 20-year rule on their vendors, so you're rest assured that you won't get hoodwinked into buying pseudo vintage items here. Prepare to send a couple of hours here as there's a huge variety of products. General admission starts at 6:30 a.m. at $6 per person, which is fantastic if you'd rather avoid sun exposure. However, the market is set so close to the ocean that shoppers are able to enjoy that nice sea breeze and cooler temperatures even at midday.
Hollywood Farmers Market
Photo via Flickr/Ben Godfrey
Los Angeles has more than its share of farmers market’s owing to the fact that each of its many neighborhoods host their own, so picking the best farmers market in the city may be futile. Also, locals usually stick to the ones in their area. For people visiting the city though, the Hollywood Farmers Market may be the best choice. Not only does this Sunday market boast a fairly central and accessible location along Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, but it also has a good diversity of products. Visitors can indulge in everything from bread and other baked goods, cheeses, meats and vegetables to an assortment of dried fruits, juices, and ethnic fares. There's available parking at the nearby Arclight Theater for $3, but you can easily hop on the Metro and get off at Hollywood and Vine if you'd rather not deal with Hollywood traffic.
More by Michelle Rae Uy
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