The saying "Meet me at 3rd and Fairfax" became a standard line for generations of Angelenos who ate, shopped, and spotted the stars who drifted over from the studios for a breath of unpretentious air. Starting back in 1934, when two entrepreneurs persuaded oil magnate E.B. Gilmore to open a vacant field for a bare-bones market, this spot became a humble shop for farmers selling produce out of their trucks. From this seat-of-the-pants situation grew a European-style open-air market and local institution at the corner of 3rd Street and Fairfax Avenue that remains a go-to destination during its 2014 birthday year.
Now the market includes 110 stalls and more than 30 restaurants, plus the landmark 1941 Clock Tower. The adjoining outdoor mall, called Grove, with its pseudo-European facade, cobblestones, marble mosaics, pavilions and dancing water fountain has never been more popular or packed, especially on weekends, holidays and when there's a concert or special event in the main square.
Los Angeles history gets a nod with the electric steel-wheeled Red Car trolley, which shuttles two blocks through the Farmers Market and The Grove. If you hate crowds, try visiting The Grove before noon for the most comfortable shopping experience. By afternoon, it bustles with shoppers and teens hitting the movie theaters and chain and specialty stores and food venues such as Banana Republic, Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble, J. Crew and the more recently added (and addictive!) Sprinkles Cupcakes. Fashionistas find a haven at the Barney's New York store. The parking structure on the east side for The Grove handles the cars by monitoring the number of spaces available as you go up each level, combined with the first hour free and a second hour free if you get your ticket validated, which helps to make parking less of a pain. Surface parking for the Farmers Market is 2 hours free with validation. The Grove really dazzles around Christmas, with an enormous Christmas tree and a nightly faux snowfall until New Year's Day.
Farmers Market, 6333 W. 3rd St.; The Grove, 189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, California, 90036, United States
323-933-9211-Farmers Market; 323-900–8080-The Grove
Mar 16, 2011
I guess I don't get the Farmer's Market experience. The shopping mall doesn't have the best shopping - it's small and not too many shops. It's crowded on the weekend and the train, although cute for the kiddies, is a bit of a nuisance for pedestrians. The market itself is chocked full of food stalls but most are mediocre at best. You can buy fresh seafood and a few vegetables, but to brave the crowds, traffic and find parking - well, I need a bigger
draw for that.