Discover LA by Metro:
Farmers’ Markets Easily Accessed by Gold Line Metro Rail
Second in a Series on Gold Line Farmers’ Market Food Adventures
East Los Angeles Civic Center Farmers’ Market (Saturdays, 9 am – 2 pm):
Tourists, Locals Should Check Out This Gold Line Destination
You probably won’t find it listed in any of the recommended tourist destinations, but the recently renovated East Los Angeles Civic Center, 4801 E. 3rd Street, is a gem that deserves attention from locals and tourists alike. A valuable community resource, the East Los Angeles Civic Center serves residents of East Los Angeles, Montebello, Monterey Park, Commerce, and Los Angeles.
Immediately across from the Metro station platform, the Civic Center complex presents an attractive facade, with art, sculpture, and mosaics at every turn. Flanking the entrance are two metal sculpture towers by local artist Michael Amescua that depict the activities within the complex.
There are treasures behind and inside the buildings you see from the Metro station. Belvedere Park, with its lake and playground, is an unexpected urban oasis.
The branch library, with its geometric design and stunning mosaic mural by José Antonio Aguirre is a real jewel. Aguirre’s monumental mural of Byzantine and Venetian glass mosaic with carved limestone covers more than 2,000 square feet on the interior and exterior of the east and west towers of the library’s main entrance. The work, “Our Legacy: Forever Presente…,” features images representing significant East Los Angeles public leaders, social and political figures, actors, artists, and athletes. The artist uses the symbol of the heart to represent the East Los Angeles community.
The East Los Angeles Civic Center Farmers’ Market is a very short walk from the Metro station in the parking lot behind the East Los Angeles Public Library.
The market is on the smaller side — only 40 vendors. The parking lot location makes it easy to navigate with strollers, wheelchairs, or shopping carts. The friendliness of all — shoppers and vendors alike — and the setting adjacent to the beautifully redeveloped complex make this market very enjoyable.
We found three major highlights at this Farmers’ Market — the East LA Library building (be sure to check out the mosaics inside), the lovely lake and park, and a fascinating artisan weaver — in addition to the fresh goodies.
Thanks to our farmers’ market experiences, we’re convinced that fresh does matter. The asparagus we bought and cooked for dinner was the most flavorful we’ve ever had! Other food that seduced us included hummus (three 7-ounce containers for $10) from Kettlestones’ Best Hummus Ever in avocado and cilantro (our favorite), sun dried tomato and basil, and artichoke and spinach.
Although all the markets we’ve visited have booths with crafts and clothing, only at East LA did we find an artist in action.
We were mesmerized by the flying shuttles of Juan Bautista Parada as he worked the hand-built Mexican loom with expert skill. The Artisanias Tlaxcala stall featured sarapes and rebozos in traditional patterns and contemporary sports-oriented themes.
We lunched on pupusas (corn masa pancakes with filling) from Pupusas y Mas — the spinach and cheese beat out the squash and the chicken as our fav. You can’t beat dining while watching ducks glide by on the beautiful lake below.
We didn’t see inside any of the government buildings other than the East Los Angeles Library — Roybal Health Center, East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station, Municipal Courthouse — or wander through the extensive Belvedere Park, so we definitely plan a return trip to explore this complex further.
East Los Angeles Civic Center Farmers’ Market
Saturdays, 9 am – 2 pm
4801 E. 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90022