Now I don’t really know about the rest of the world, but here in southern CA, swap meets are kinda a big deal. Locals flock to them on the weekends to pick up toys, household goods, new pets, electronics, gifts, furniture… you name it, they probably sell it at the swap meet…at ridiculously low prices. It is a budget shopper’s paradise!
There are several of them throughout the area, but there is one that stands out among the rest: the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet.
By far the largest swap meet around, it also features live music, tons of food and beer choices, and hundreds of vendors. The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet is more than just a place to find some great deals- it is a day (or night) of fun for the whole family! Or possibly a unique date night option.
Back in 1948, 18 acres of land were purchased in an unincorporated part of LA County known as “Dairy Valley.” The land consisted of a dairy and an orange grove, but the new landowners had other plans for it. They began constructing a drive-in theater.
The “La Mirada Drive-In Theatre” opened in 1950 as one of the largest drive-in theaters in the country. It could hold over 1000 cars! The name “La Mirada” was used because the city of Santa Fe Springs didn’t exist yet, and La Mirada was the closet city.
The theater was set up in a way to reserve a good portion of the grounds for future possible projects, including ideas for walk-in theaters, restaurants, or even a heliport. That area (as well as the drive-in theater, eventually) is what became the swap meet.
It was 15 years before the swap meet was open to the public. In 1965, the “La Mirada Swap Meet” opened for the first time. The dirt field in front of the property provided ample parking for the thousands of swap attendees. Nowadays, more than a million people visit the swap meet every year.
In 1990, the drive-in theater ceased daily operations due to decreasing attendance and the rising popularity of the swap meet. They installed stadium lighting and began LA’s first outdoor night swap meet. A couple years later, they officially changed the name to “Santa Fe Springs Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet.”
The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet now has over 500 vendors selling everything from collectibles to clothing, electronics to crafts. Pretty much anything you could want. Their slogan is, “Come for the bargains, stay for the fun!”.
I recommend bringing your appetite to the swap meet, cause there are tons of tasty food options! A full snack bar, food trucks, and kiosk carts selling all sorts of fun food offerings, including their famous menudo available for breakfast, for those with stronger stomachs than me (I just can’t get on board with eating tripe).
To quench your thirst, there is a beer garden serving more than 20 beers on tap. But they are most famous for their micheladas (served all day long!).
My food picks: churros, michelaguas, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.
The swap meet has a large stage and covered seating area featuring live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This area also includes large HD TVs showing popular sporting events. To see the swap meet’s schedule of events and weekly band lineup, check out their calendar!
However what brought us here on this particular weekend was a special after hours event in which Robbie’s band was playing. KROQ (106.7, southern California’s alternative rock radio station) hosted a “Roq of the 90’s” show featuring four nineties-era tribute bands including Nirvanish, Green ToDay (Robbie’s band!), Lose Your Illusion, and Slaves Against the Machine. Totally an awesome lineup.
Here are lots of pics of Green ToDay! Believe me when I say this is only a small portion of what I actually took. I just can’t help it.
And here’s a video Robbie filmed during their set. Check it out!
For a list of their upcoming shows and booking info, visit the Green ToDay website!
This event was tons of fun! I always love watching my man play, and the rest of the bands totally rocked too! Because of the nature of our particular visit, I wasn’t able to see very much of the swap meet itself or experience all of the foods and tasty treats I would’ve liked. All the more reason to go again!
13963 Alondra Blvd.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
Major cross streets: Alondra Blvd and Valley View Ave
Tuesday – Thursday: Free
Friday Night: $2.50
Have any favorite vendors or favorite swap meet foods? Share them in the comments!
For additional information, visit the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet website.