For retail therapy on both a grand and an historic scale, you can't go past the Los Angeles shopping institutions of Farmers Market and The Grove. From humble beginnings in 1934 with farmers selling produce direct from their trucks in an open field, Farmers Market has grown into a European-style open market and must-visit local institution. Covering two blocks of L.A.'s Fairfax District, Farmers Market is adjacent to outdoor shopping mall The Grove, which opened in 2002.
The two retail sites are joined by the free Grove Trolley which shuttles visitors in a replica electric streetcar for the six-minute journey from The Grove to Farmers Market along First Street. Built on an undercarriage from a 1950s Boston streetcar, the double-decker trolley boasts two spiral staircases and brass and red oak finishes.
The old-world charm of the trolley complements the historic feel of the Farmers Market with its iconic clock tower and gas station. The site now contains more than 110 stalls and over 30 restaurants embracing cuisines from American comfort food to Latino and Asian dishes making it a foodie fave and a popular place to meet 'at 3rd and Fairfax', as the sign says.
Paved with cobblestones and featuring marble mosaics, courtyards and pavilions, The Grove outdoor shopping mall also has a historical feel with Art Deco-style shop facades. A popular drawcard is the dancing fountain which 'bops' along with pulsing water jets and swaying columns of water to tunes from Dean Martin to Lionel Ritchie and carol medleys at the holidays. The complex also contains 14 cinema screens and over 45 shops and restaurants featuring well-known American retail chains and brands and is a hangout and destination for both locals and visitors.
To visit Farmers Market and The Grove from downtown Los Angeles, from Union Station take the Metro Red Line subway to the Hollywood/ Western stop. From here, take the 217 bus and alight at Fairfax/ Third, then walk two minutes' along West Third Street to the marketplace.