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Best farmers market for tourists?

We are headed to LA for the first time very soon and were told by a few friends to check out the Farmer's Market at the Grove - I couldn't find one at the Grove when I looked at their site. Is there another tourist/popular farmer's market that happens on Saturdays? Thanks!

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  1. Probably the best one on Saturday is in Santa Monica at Arizona and 3rd (which the place link will cover if you click on the website link included). But that said you might just peruse this list and see if any others are beckoning you: http://www.farmernet.com/events/cfms

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    Santa Monica Farmers' Market (Arizona and 2nd
    )Arizona Ave Santa Monica CA, Arizona Ave Santa Monica, CA

    1. Perhaps some clarification is in order for visitors: the Original Farmer's Market at 3rd and Fairfax has been there since the 1930s and is not a "farmer's market" in the usual sense of a temporary weekly market of local farmers, bakers, cheesemakers, etc. It's a permanent structure (or set of structures, really) with full-time tenant retailers and small restaurants. Some of those retailers and restaurants are highly recommended by LA 'Hounds, others less so (and some are just selling tourist souvenir junk, but they're avoided easily enough).

      The Grove was appended on an adjacent piece of land about 10 years ago. It's a nice enough mall, as malls go, and has a neat fountain show, but there's better eating to be had in Farmer's Market (and plenty of other places within a 10 minute walk on 3rd or Fairfax or Beverly).

      As for traditional farmer's markets, some of the bigger Saturday ones are in Santa Monica, Pasadena, and Torrance; if you will be staying close to any of those they're worth a visit.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bradbury

        The Sunday Hollywood and the Wed. Santa Monica are by far the best.

      2. If you can wait till Sunday, the Hollywood market on sundays is amazing...as is the wednesday market in santa monica.

        3 Replies
        1. re: carln

          Completely agree about Wed in Santa Monica and Sunday in Hollywood.

          1. re: maudies5

            Agreed.

            But if you want pleasant but not superb the other's are fine. The Original Farmer's Market at Third and Fairfax, adjacent to the Grove is a tourist attraction of its own.

            1. re: JudiAU

              As is the Grand Central Market (at least it is for me).

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              Grand Central Market
              317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

        2. if you need a Saturday market, try the one in Silverlake. It's small, but there's lots of food if you're hungry and also some jewelry, candle, and soap vendors. Then, if the stores are open, like around 11, you can walk down Sunset to the Spice Station, the Silverlake Cheese shop, etc etc etc. There's lots of cute little shops over there to explore.

          1. The Farmer's Market near The Grove shopping mall is much more retail and food counter-oriented. Please keep in mind that the more modern tradition of temporary stalls that set up on closed streets are mostly focused on actual agricultural items and artisanal goods to a lesser degree. The two biggest FMs that get Chow approval are already mentioned - Arizona/3rd Street on Wednesdays (and Saturdays about 50% smaller) in Santa Monica, and Ivar/Selma near Hollywood Blvd on Sundays in Hollywood.

            The Santa Monica FM definitely has more focus on produce - it draws chefs from the best local restaurants and serious cooks who want the freshest and most interesting produce. There are some artisan products and some food stands, but to me, it's all about the produce.

            The Hollywood FM is quite good as well - produce is solid with many stands selling great seasonal produce, but there's also a strong focus on artisan goods as well as crafts, as well as more food stands that do offer some very good street food.

            1. for tourists I'd recommend the Sunday market at Ocean Park and Main in Santa Monica. Not huge but a good selection of prepared foods, pony rides for kids, picnicking for families, right next door to the undersung California Heritage Museum, on top of all the cafes and boutiques on Main St., a short walk to the Venice boardwalk (nothing more touristy LA than that) and a short drive to Abbot Kinney for more cool cafes and shops.

              5 Replies
              1. re: iOnLa

                You've got a lot of great points about the Ocean Park FM. What's kept me away from there is the parking - where does one park? There's practically zero street parking, and the lot west of Main Street has been impacted since Main Street revived itself back in the mid-late 70s...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  We are staying in Hollywood and leave Sunday at noon.....the Sunday Farmer's Market sounds lovely, where is that exactly? And will it be open this Sunday (Easter Sunday)? Thanks

                  1. re: tripaddict28

                    Are they open Easter Sunday? There's an old thread on this board that indicates that this FM is open almost every Sunday unless it rains, but since it's a religious holiday, you might expect there to be a shortage of stands...

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/501612

                    Here's the basic info, map, etc. from farmnet.com's website:

                    http://www.farmernet.com/events/one-c...

                    1. re: tripaddict28

                      Actually, they tend to do big business on holidays....so it will be open. This is the market I like to take visitors to.....because, besides being a great farmers markets, it's also got a bit of a "street fair" feel. Lots of music. And for the holiday....I'm guessing you'll see some rabbit ears. Starts at 8:30....on Ivar, between Sunset and Hollywood. Enjoy!

                    2. re: bulavinaka

                      there's still metered lots for 2 blocks behind the market and there is street parking if you cruise around between Main and 4th. it is a pain but get there early-ish, around 9:30/10 and it shouldn't be the problem it becomes by noon.

                  2. In my opinion, if this is your first visit to LA, I would still recommend the Farmer's Market at the Grove. It is not a real Farmer's Market (as has been pointed out), but you are a tourist! LA has lots of great food options, and those of us living here have many wonderful choices. But a tourist needs to see places that natives would never visit a second time.

                    Enjoy yourself.
                    Either way, you can't go wrong...

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: Golem

                      i go to the original FM all the time (it is walking distance for me). i recommend bob's donuts, and thee's bakery for something sweet. stay away from both chinese food vendors, it's horrible. if you feel like a nice walk afterward, head west on 3rd street to la cienega. it's about a mile and has cute shops and many restaurants.

                      1. re: Clyde

                        The Original Farmers Market is a LA landmark and a treasure. Wonderful smells, tastes and people watching (all the Price is Right contestants from CBS next door). As a lifetime local I still love it ( make sure you don't miss Littlejohn's English Toffee). And I can't wait for Nancy Silverton's hamburger stand "Short Order" this summer.
                        http://www.farmersmarketla.com/

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                        Farmers Market
                        6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                      2. re: Golem

                        I would go to the Original FM too so you could make a day of it with some shopping and lunch (try Loteria Grill), unless you need to go to an actual farmer's market because you plan on cooking that night. You can also walk down 3rd for more shopping + Beverly Center, or catch an early dinner at Animal.

                        I wouldn't really put any FM on a tourist's to-do list though. I don't understand the point.

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                        Loteria Grill
                        6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                        1. re: andytseng

                          Really? I totally understand the point. You get to see, up close and personal, the produce and related wares of different geographic areas. I live in the DC area. When I visit LA in the winter months, heck even in the summer, the FM is like visiting a whole 'nother planet. My last visit, in December, I bought dates, baby artichokes, hot peppers, citrus, and flowers. Nothing like that remotely available back home then.

                          To the OP, the Hollywood market is great, as is Santa Monica. I also enjoy smaller markets in the South Bay as that is where I stay and cook when in LA. I also second the suggestion to visit Grand Central Market for a very different market experience.

                          -----
                          Grand Central Market
                          317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

                          1. re: andytseng

                            oh i always try and find a FM when i travel. road trips, especially if i have a cooler. but really just to see what they have that we don't, and vice versa.

                            1. re: andytseng

                              I get the point of visiting one. I'm one of those weird people that like to see what the locals do. Going to a farmer's market let's me experience what they have in the area and the community. I also like popping into local supermarket chains just to see how it may differ.

                              1. re: Jase

                                me too! probably getting off the subject but i love going into grocery stores and convenience stores when traveling.

                              2. re: andytseng

                                I love to go to farmer's markets when I travel. I like to see what is in season, what it costs, and who is selling it. Plus, restock on goodies to eat along the way.

                                1. re: andytseng

                                  A close friend is down from Sacramento - she can't believe what's in the local FMs. If you appreciate good food and what goes into it, a solid FM will be appreciated by those fitting the description.

                              3. The problem is your qualifier of "Best tourist market on **Saturday**".

                                But as you noted earlier, if you can make it to the Hollywood Farmers Market on Sunday morning before your flight, you absolutely should. It's ideal for visitors because of it's festival atmosphere, with live music and prepared food, arts & crafts as well as the requisite produce and veg stands.

                                The other one most suited to tourists would be the quasi-Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax (as others have mentioned). DuPar's for breakfast food (sit at the long communal table, and be aware that the "short stack" can feed one very hungry or two regular people, so the regular stack (for just $1 more) is a little obscene. But they are absolutely delicious. Singapore Banana Leaf for pretty good (not great SE Asian food). Bob's for the old fashioned buttermilk donuts is fantastic. The corned beef and cabbage plate at Magee's is great. And the chicken kebab (dark meat, please), tabbouleh and baba ghanoush plate at Moishe's is absolutely fantastic, but at $13 it had better be. Avoid the French place(s) and the BBQ place at all costs (not talking about the Brazilian BBQ, which is OK to good).

                                And a fun time was had by all.

                                Mr Taster

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                                Hollywood Farmers Market
                                1600 Ivar Avenue, Los Angeles, CA

                                1. LA really doesn't have a tourist-oriented venue like Ferry Plaza up in SF or Pike Place in Seattle. I've taken out-of-towners to SM's Saturday farmer's market on Arizona and they were able to take in 3rd St. Prom and the newly renovated SM Place. Plus it's only a short bikeride down to the Venice boardwalk too.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: zinFAN

                                    Having lunch or sunset dinner in one of those glass booths on the upper deck of the renovated Santa Monica Place is pretty amazing just for the view - tourist or not.

                                    1. re: zinFAN

                                      "LA really doesn't have a tourist-oriented venue like Ferry Plaza up in SF"

                                      I disagree. The Original Farmers Market on 3rd and Fairfax (since 1934) is our version of the SF Ferry Building with it's unique LA charm and all. It's kind of like a taste of LA, with tacos, donuts, gumbo and everything in between. I do love the Ferry Building, they have Gott's Roadside in SF but soon we'll have Nancy Silverton's Short Order. Now if we could only get Cowgirl Creamery down here.

                                      1. re: wienermobile

                                        Thank you for all the recommendations - we got a chance to check out the Farmer's Market at 3rd/Fairfax and also the Sunday Hollywood farmer's market - and both were wonderful! Thanks again.

                                        1. re: tripaddict28

                                          Where (if anywhere) did you eat and what (if anything) did you have? You must realize that this is what most of us on CH live to hear (second only to eating it ourselves) about.

                                          1. re: Servorg

                                            Haha fair enough -- in terms of restaurants, we ate at Saam (at the Bazaar/SLS Hotel), Gjelina's, Pizzeria Mozza, and Cleo's. At the farmer's market, we tried mexican food at Loteria and at the Sunday market, we ate several different things - tacos, samosas, and Afghani food. All were delicious!

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                                            Pizzeria Mozza
                                            641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036

                                            Gjelina
                                            1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291