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Farmers Market

Farmers Market, a Los Angeles Landmark, Still Charms Visitors

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farmers market

Farmers Market Sign

© Betsy Malloy 2000
  • Hours: Open daily
  • Cost: Parking fee (reduced with validation)
  • Location: Corner of Third and Fairfax, driving directions below
  • How Long: An hour or so to browse, longer if you shop a lot or have a meal
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time, but livelier on weekends
  • See It Now: Farmers Market Photo tour
The cream-colored Farmers Market buildings, with their green roofs and brick-colored trim, embrace dozens of small shops and stalls knitted together by a network of passageways. The charm of the Farmers Market lies in unpretentious connection to the past: red vinyl stools and green Formica counters, green-painted folding chairs. The crowd is a combination of tourists licking ice cream cones and Hollywood locals who still come here to buy meats and produce.

Hollywood's glitterati have been going to the Farmers Market for years. Walt Disney sat at a Farmers Market table while he designed Disneyland, and today, groups of writers, directors and Hollywood executives may gather for breakfast meetings while old-timers get together for morning coffee.

The Farmers Market stays true to its origins, with stalls for butchers and bakers and others selling fresh produce, candies, nuts and cheese. Magee's, one of the Farmers Market's original merchants, grinds 100,000 pounds of peanut butter a year and the folks at Bob's Donuts begin work at 4:30 AM to make the 1,000 donuts they sell each day. In all, there are 100 shops here with 500 employees (who speak at least 23 different languages).

If admiring the produce and food stalls works up an appetite, you can also dine at the Farmers Market in many languages. With five places earning a Zagat food rating of 20 or higher, you'll find lots of great food to choose from, including the Gumbo Pot, a personal favorite for its Louisiana-style gumbo, red beans and rice and sweet potato salad. The wine bar located near the center of the complex is a great place to pick up a drink and schmooze with locals who come here in the evening after the tourists go home.

The Los Angeles Farmers Market has been around since 1934, when enterprising farmers started an informal market at the corner of Fairfax and Third Street, selling produce from their trucks. Tourists soon discovered the impromptu Farmers Market, marveling at the array of fresh produce available even in mid-winter, and the Farmers Market grew into a more formal complex of produce stalls. More than seventy years later, the Farmers Market is still one of the most popular sights in Los Angeles, an official Los Angeles Cultural and Historical Landmark drawing more than 3 million visitors a year.

The Grove at Farmers Market, an 80,000 square foot retail and restaurant complex opened next door in 2002. Linked to the original Farmers Market by a a simulated main street with a gleaming green streetcar running down it, The Grove adds more attractions at the corner of Third and Fairfax. A few older storage buildings were taken down to make way for the construction, but the Farmers Market remains intact, making it possibly one of the most interesting eighty-somethings in Los Angeles.

Review

We rate Farmers Market Los Angeles 5 stars out of 5. It retains a folksy, comfortable quality, serves some great food at reasonable prices and it's unparalleled for people-watching.

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Getting to The Farmers Market

6333 West Third Street
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 933-9211
Website
Exit I-10 at Fairfax and go north to Third. From I-405, take Sunset Boulevard east, then go south on Fairfax.

The primary access to the parking lot is from Fairfax. If you want to take advantage of validated parking, be sure to get into the lots around the market. The multi-story parking structure accepts validations from The Grove businesses only.

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