1. You’re hungry, but it’s time to grocery shop. You remember what the experts say: Never shop for food when you are hungry, and suddenly wish you were a member of Costco like most of your friends so you could at least snack while shopping.

    Fear not, for Downtown LA has you covered at Grand Central Market, the “oldest and largest open-air market in the area,” according to the market’s website. Here, you can buy produce for ridiculously low prices, meats for average prices, seafood for about what you’d pay at a full-fledged fish market but of far better quality than you would find at a supermarket, and just about everything else you could ever need for meal preparation. What’s more, there are so many eateries everywhere you look that you’ll have a hard time deciding what to eat—and many of them sell food that is far better than merely average.

    Do you feel like a gastronomical adventure south of the border? No problem, because the market has you covered with no fewer than 8 Mexican and Latin American food stands (I have only tried Las Morelianas and Roast to Go, and both are superb). Feel like going Asian for lunch? Piece of cake, because you’ll find Thai, Japanese and Chinese cuisine in the market. There’s also Italian, Middle Eastern, frozen yogurt and even a Hawaiian barbecue. For dessert, you’ll find candies, ice cream, pastries and more.

    Other shops include spice peddlers, dried goods including a dizzying selection of various beans, a coffee shop and a liquor store. Between shopping and eating, you can get a massage, fill up on filtered water, get cash from an ATM, buy jewelry, get your paycheck cashed, pay your Verizon bill (or buy a cell phone) and peruse the 99 Cent Store in the basement for really cheap crap. And if all the candy you had for dessert rotted your teeth beyond tolerance, there’s even a dentist on hand.

     

     But if you think that this is the end of your Grand Central Market adventure, you are sorely mistaken, for right across Broadway from the market you will find the famous Bradbury Building, featured in Blade Runner and other popular films. This impressive structure was built over 120 years ago, when LA was only one one-hundredth the size that it is today. I feel a little sorry for the original tenants of the Bradbury Building, because they had to wait another 17 years before the market came into being across the street.

     

    Across from the front of the market, on South Hill Street, Angels Flight ferries passengers from street level up to California Plaza Water Court for only 50 cents each way. This short yet disturbingly exciting rail ride is one of LA’s oldest, decommissioned for years before renovation and the reopening. And please forget all the stories you’ve heard about snapping cables on the funicular resulting in multiple deaths. Yes, the stories are true, but there’s a very good chance that you’ll survive the ride to tell your grandkids about it.

     

     In addition, Pershing Square is only two blocks from the market. Granted, this is an incredibly boring park all year with the exceptions of winter, when the ice rink is in place, and one day in spring when they have the annual pillow fight, but all around the park you will find several art galleries and museums, as this is a major portion of the monthly Downtown Art Walk.

    You won’t find the end of the rainbow at Grand Central Market, no pot of gold nor an angry leprechaun protecting it. You’re not likely to spot famous actors or politicians here, either, as this is the place for bargains and the wealthy elite have no use for such places. You won’t learn auto maintenance, gain a college scholarship or find Shangri-La at the market, either. What you will find are bargains and good food, and plenty of each.

    http://www.grandcentralmarket.com/

    GRAND CENTRAL MARKET
    317 S. Broadway
    Los Angeles, CA 90013

    Open Seven Days a Week,
    Monday – Sunday 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
    Telephone: (213) 624-2378
    Fax: (213) 624-9496

Leave a Reply