Los Angeles offers many engaging activities and places in the city to spend a fun day out, such as The Grove and Farmers Market in Mid-City West.
Los Angeles is generally considered to be more of a lifestyle city than a tourist city; it’s the kind of place that lends itself to the “day out” experience where you can become acquainted with the atmosphere and character of an area, as opposed to just seeing the sites. This is in part because LA has very few tourist attractions worth visiting that are of the same caliber as those found in say, New York City, and also partly because the city’s layout and the distinctive character of each area cater better to the “days out” approach.
What’s great about a day out in the city is that it’s an experience that can be enjoyed as much by locals as by tourists. After all, how many New Yorkers go to spend time at the Empire State building on a regular basis? A great day out in LA – and a particularly good one for a family – involves a visit to The Grove Shopping Center and neighboring Farmers Market in Los Angeles’ historic Fairfax District.
The Grove Shopping Center
Although technically an outdoor shopping center, The Grove is much more than just a mall; it is a wealth of events, shopping, eateries, and happy crowds all year-round. Billed as the ultimate retail and entertainment complex when it was unveiled in 2002, The Grove has certainly lived up to this expectation and it is a popular venue for locals and visitors alike.
The focal point of The Grove is a large central park with an animated fountain that plays a music-fountain show every half hour. For obvious reasons, this is a kid favorite. Another favorite is the internal transportation system, a green, electric trolley that transports shoppers to The Farmers Market next door.
It can’t be said that The Grove is a shoppers paradise, since it isn’t really a very large mall and its selection of stores is limited, but it does offer quite a few of the popular higher-end chains, as well as specialty outlets like a Barnes and Noble booksellers, a Crate and Barrel and an Apple Store. So there is certainly opportunity for those shopaholics to do what they do best.
The main entertainment element found at The Grove is in the form of the state-of-the-art movie theater complex, which can always be counted upon to have the newest blockbuster releases playing on any of its 14 screens. But the entertainment does not stop there; The Grove is known for hosting all sorts of fun events throughout the year including a Summer Movies in the Park series, small concert performances, international food and wine festivals, and for the holiday season, fake snow and the tallest Christmas tree to be found in LA.
After all the fun to be had, a decent meal is probably the highlight of the day and The Grove offers visitors a wide array of options ranging from Wetzels Pretzels and Haagen-Dazs stands, to a fancy French steakhouse, authentic Italian at La Piazza, and the perennial favorite The Cheesecake Factory. And if none of those choices satisfy you, then there is always the option of hopping on the trolley for the short ride to The Farmers Market, where the dining options are varied and endless.
The Farmers Market
“Meet me at Third and Fairfax” proclaims the sign at the front of The Farmers Market, a historic Los Angeles landmark that has been a favorite since it first opened in 1934. The Farmers Market is essentially a conglomeration of over 100 food stalls, sit-down eateries and produce markets, as well as a couple of small gourmet grocers and tourist shops, all housed within the alleys and courtyards of a large open-air building.
The Farmers market is a popular destination for a day out, as the high traffic and thick crowds will attest; in fact, the Market attracts over 3 million visitors every year (“LA Farmers Market Road Trip”, accessed Jul. 12, 2010). Foodies in particular are common visitors, attracted by the wide variety of unique ethnic food stalls to be found, such as Singapore’s Banana Leaf, which Viva LA Foodies describes as a place “where the Far East meets the West Coast” (accessed July 12, 2010), and The Gumbo Pot, which is know for serving authentic New Orleans cuisine. Most of these eateries at the Market tend to be family-owned and many have been local institutions in LA for years.
So if you’re a visitor, or a local, looking to spend a fun day out in LA, why not check out The Grove and The Farmers Market? You can shop to your heart’s content, catch a great flick, enjoy some traditional or unique treats that are guaranteed to be delicious, wander in LA’s sunny weather, and just absorb the sites and sounds of one of the most authentic and engaging attractions of the city.
Sally Odum. “LA Farmers Market Road Trip”. June 27, 2006. Accessed July 12, 2011.