“Meet me at Third and Fairfax,” reads the sign in front of the entrance of the Original Los Angeles Farmers Market. In-the-know Angelenos have given friends this instruction—and enjoyed the year-round market—for nearly 100 years. Visit the famous intersection to explore rich global flavors, unexpected gift shops, and incredible eateries, while experiencing the textured history of this vibrant city.
Before more than 100 vendors set up shop among the market’s signature green awnings, the lot was home to cattle herds. What started as a dairy farm in 1880 became an oil field when the owner struck black gold. But as the city of Los Angeles grew, drilling became impossible. In 1934, the landowners invited farmers to the area to sell fresh produce out of the backs of their trucks. The concept caught on, more merchants joined, and the Original Farmers Market was born.
Now a permanent fixture in the Fairfax District, the market is open year-round, rain or shine. Locals and travelers alike frequent the long rows of stalls split by lines of folding chairs and tables where guests can enjoy food from the surrounding purveyors. More than 500 workers speak a total of 23 languages—and that diversity is reflected in the fare. Try the churrasco-style steak at Pampas Grill, snack on a Nutella-stuffed treat from The French Crepe Company, or choose from one of the city’s largest array of empanada selections at Nonna’s.
Thanks to the market’s long legacy, individual purveyors have become beloved Los Angeles institutions in their own right. Bennett’s Ice Cream has been scooping award-winning flavors like Cabernet Sauvignon sorbet since 1963; Du-par’s has been slinging stacks of buttermilk hotcakes since 1938; and Marconda’s is L.A.’s oldest standing meat market, dating back to 1941. The family-owned Kip’s Toyland continues to sell classic toys like paddle ball, jacks, and Sea-Monkeys that have delighted little Angelenos for 75 years. Head to Littlejohn’s Candies to watch candy makers craft sweets by hand with the same technique they’ve employed since 1946.
For an enriched experience, book a tour through Melting Pot to sample international fare from all over the world. One of the city’s most famous (and most fabulous) shopping destinations, The Grove, is right next door to the market, and can be reached via an electric streetcar that runs between the two spots.