Ask the kids if they want to go shopping for vegan cheese and heirloom melons, and you’ll likely get a resounding no. But mention the prospect of baby goats, a bounce house or, say, a camel ride, and your little ones will be all in. Those are just a few of the activities offered at LA’s best kid-friendly farmers markets. While you stock up on produce and more, your tots can take advantage of the fun activities at these markets around town.
Studio City Farmers Market
This Sunday morning farmers market is a San Fernando Valley favorite—and is usually bustling by 9:30a.m., so arrive early to beat the crowds. In addition to all the usual staples (like fresh produce, local seafood and meats, and fresh-baked goodies), the Studio City venue features a kids' play area with multiple bounce houses and inflatable slides, a rock climbing wall, face painting, swings, and more. Hit the kid’s activities first, then you can fuel up courtesy of the dozens of prepared food stands offering avocado toasts (with assorted toppings), wood-fired pizza, fresh-pressed juices, and snow cones (which may be required to lure little ones from the bounce houses). In addition to nearby street parking, there's also free parking is available at the CBS parking structure around the corner.
Hollywood Farmers Market
This sprawling market, which stretches along Ivar and Selma between Hollywood and Sunset, plays host to more than 150 vendors. With an eclectic mix of hot foods (everything from Middle Eastern kabobs to Thai coconut cakes) and exotic produce, it's the perfect place to expand your little one's palate. In addition to jamming out to live music, kids can also check out the recently opened Community on Cosmo space, where you may find an arts and crafts activity or a cooking demo. But the highlight of the trip is no doubt a visit to Soledad Goats. The Mojave-based animal sanctuary often brings along a "kid" or two for your own kids to meet. Parking is available at the Sunset and Vine parking structure for $5.
Hollywood Blvd. and Ivar Ave.
Mar Vista Farmers Market
With a solid selection of produce, specialty foods (like plant-based "raw" cheese and traditional rice balls) and hot eats, there's plenty for your little foodies to nosh on. To keep everyone entertained, each week the market features a different DJ, along with a free kids craft workshop. On the last Sunday of every month, there's also face painting plus a cooking class, where little ones will use fresh market ingredients to create a tasty dish. Metered street parking is available along Venice Blvd.
Grand View at Venice Blvd.
Monrovia Street Fair & Market
We're pretty sure this is one of the few LA farmers markets offering camel rides along with the usual suspects: pony rides, a petting zoo, inflatable slides and bounce houses. The event happens every Friday evening in charming Old Town Monrovia, just east of Pasadena off the 210 (for newbies to the area). What's more, on the first Fridays of each month, it's officially Kid's Night, which means even more entertainment for tykes.
612 S. Myrtle Ave.
Beverly Hills Farmers Market
The KidZone at this market offers story time hosted by the Beverly Hills Public Library (one of the best libraries for little ones). There's also a petting zoo (complete with goats, bunnies, adorable piglets and more) and a pony ride for the more adventurous—pint-sized riders can enjoy a real trot along the street. Throughout the year, the market also hosts themed events with crafts and activities—everything from pie-eating contest in June (aka Pie Month at the market) to pumpkin decorating in the fall. Parking is free for two hours at the Civic Center parking structure.
9300 Civic Center Dr.
Santa Monica Main St. Farmers Market
Santa Monica is home to multiple markets throughout the week, but Sunday's Main St. offering earns marks for being intimate and geared towards little ones. There's live music with local bands that will have your mini music lovers grooving. There’s also a face-painter and balloon artist to keep your tots entertained. While the produce section isn’t huge, you can always stock up on kid-pleasers like strawberries and cucumbers, plus there are tons of delicious hot foods to choose from. Metered street parking is available but tough to come by, so expect to walk a bit from your spot. If you live close enough, you can bike there and park your wheels at the bike valet out front. Make a day of it and cruise down to the beach bike path, just two blocks away, after your shop and eat.
2640 Main St. (in Heritage Square)
—Shahrzad Warkentin & Shannan Rouss
featured photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash