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                                                                                     photo: Robert P via yelp

Could a place that’s over 100 years old still be one the best spots to get your family’s grub on? Equal parts history lesson and deliciousness, the Grand Central Market in downtown LA is indeed your best bet for everything from gooey grilled cheese to hipster coffee to farm fresh produce. With recent additions and looooong time standbys, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure foodie dream come true. Here’s the scoop on exploring the Grand Central Market with kids.

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                                                                                                   photo: Ben B via yelp

A Taste of History
If you want a taste (literally) of what things were like back in the day, drop by these food booths that have been around the longest.

Pull up a chair at China Café for some authentic chop suey and egg foo yung. When’s the last time you saw that on a take out menu? Or you can take the kids to La Huerta for some old timey candy, mixed nuts or dried fruit. Just grab a bag and fill it with your favorites. But if you’re really hungry, head on over to Jose Chiquito where they serve breakfast all day long.

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                                                                                          photo: Rodelle B via yelp

Something Old, Something New
But things have been changing at the market, and some of the hottest spots in town are here.  Start by sipping a Press Brothers juice, G&B coffee drink or kombucha at Better Booch.  Then dig into a bowl of slurp worthy noodles at the Thai street food inspired Sticky Rice, or a plate of crispy crunchy tacos at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas (ok, that’s not new, but kids that love Mexican food will want to eat here). Got a picky eater? Pick up a pepperoni pie fresh from the 850 degree oven at Olio Pizzaria or grilled cheese and fries at Wexler’s Deli (but for yourself order the house made bagel with smoked sturgeon or the pastrami). Pupusas from Sarita’s have a cult following and if you’ve got egg heads in the family, you’ll fall for Eggslut.

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                                                        photo: Grand Central Market’s facebook page

Dabble in Desserts
There’s always room for ice cream, especially at Grand Central Market. And you really haven’t tasted ice cream until you’ve had it at McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream. Bold statement? Maybe. But let the kids make their own ice cream sandwiches or choose from over a dozen homemade flavors and you might agree.  If you’re not in an ice cream mood, our pick is Valerie’s divine baked goods.  (Get extra croissants for breakfast tomorrow.)

Take Something Home
By this point, stomachs should be more than full, but it’s not too late to think about tomorrow’s dinner. You can grab some carne asada or roasted chicken by the pound at Roasts to Go. Mole is sold by the pound at A&B Coffee.  Or if you’re looking to make a meal from scratch, Belcampo Meats grinds fresh grass fed beef right on the premises along with free range chicken and freshly made sausages.

Farm Freshness
If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, imagine what the carrots, broccoli, cabbage and pineapples you pick up from La Casa Verde could do? Red, orange, green, purple, they have a fruit or veg that color so you can serve a rainbow for dinner tonight. Kids will love ogling the exotic fruits like mangosteens and dragon fruit. Parents will love the old school prices. There’s a reason downtown locals get their week’s fresh produce from here.

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  photo: Grand Central Market’s facebook page

As good as it is (and locals aren’t the only ones taking notice of the recent happenings at GCM – Bon Appetit Magazine just put it on the list of 10 Hottest Restaurants in the country for 2014), the Grand Central Market actually has plans to get even better, with a seafood centric stand coming soon from celeb chef Mark Peel. Think crab legs, steamed mussels, and other ocean favorites for the adventurous eater.  And you never know what will pop up here next.

Hey, Neighbor
While you’re downtown, make a pilgrimage to other favorite kid spots like The Last Bookstore and Grand Park.

Parking
No need to fight for a spot on the street. Park comfortably in the Grand Central Market parking lot. Validations are good for one hour free parking.

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Good to Know
Bring quarters, because the restrooms are coin operated. There are no baby changers.

Grand Central Market
317 S. Broadway
Downtown Los Angeles
Phone: 213-624-2378
Online: grandcentralmarket.com
Hours: Sun – Weds 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs – Sat 8 a.m.-9 p.m.

-Christina Fiedler

Did we miss one of your go-to kid spots at the Market? What’s your favorite food stall?