Bargain Hunting at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Full House, a cool metal cover band, was playing when we arrived.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Robbie showing off the banner featuring his band.

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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.”

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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!”.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

My boyfriend “Rob Cool” and Kevin “The Other Guitar Player”

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

And here’s a video Robbie filmed during their set. Check it out!

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

Seriously THE BEST Green Day tribute band around.

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

❤ ❤ ❤

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

For a list of their upcoming shows and booking info, visit the Green ToDay website!

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

That moment when you are trying to photograph the event and accidentally catch bae with a “deer in the headlights” look

California, north America, united states, los angeles, santa fe springs swap meet, live music, kroq, green today, green day, green day tribute bands, bargain shopping in los angeles, shopping

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!


LOCATION:

13963 Alondra Blvd‎.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

(562)921-4359

Major cross streets: Alondra Blvd and Valley View Ave

FREE PARKING!


ADMISSION:

Tuesday – Thursday: Free
Friday Night: $2.50
Saturday: $1.00
Sunday: $1.50


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.


 

The Original LA Farmer’s Market

Living in southern CA with its year-round good weather, there is never a shortage of farmer’s markets to check out. Pretty much every city has one, so you never have to travel far for fresh products and handmade goods. However, only one of them is a must-see destination for visitors: the Original Los Angeles Farmer’s Market. This is the grand-daddy of all of southern CA’s farmer’s markets and is a piece of early Los Angeles history. Plus it’s just super fun.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

In 1880, A.F. Gilmore and his business partner bought two dairy farms near the city of Los Angeles. 10 years later, they decided to break off the partnership and divide their land and businesses. Gilmore took control over their 256-acre ranch at the corner of 3rd & Fairfax.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

When digging new wells in attempts to expand his dairy herd in the early 1900s, Gilmore struck oil. The cows were quickly replaced with oil derricks. However when the borders of Los Angeles were expanded to include Gilmore’s property, the derricks were no longer permitted to continue drilling for oil on a large scale.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

And so the property remained vacant until the 1930s (1934 to be exact, the peak of the Great Depression), when two entrepreneurs approached A.F. Gilmore’s son, E.B. Gilmore, with a grand idea.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

Check out them apples.

Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm wanted to create a place where local farmers could set up stands to sell their fresh-off-the-farm produce, and the vacant lots at the corner of 3rd & Fairfax seemed like an ideal location. Gilmore agreed to give it a shot, and so in July of 1934, the first batch of farmers and merchants arrived to sell their goods out of the back of their trucks.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

Fresh squeezed juices! Yummy!!

By the end of 1934, the market had grown to the point where merchants, including restaurants, grocers, and farmers, began moving into permanent stalls, turning the farmer’s market into what it is today. The fact that the market was able to thrive during the worst economic point of U.S. history is really a testament to the ingenuity of the entrepreneurs and the farmers who participated right from the start. They knew it would be a success.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

The iconic farmer’s market clock tower was added in 1948. It originally featured the phrase “An Idea” painted above the entrance, paying homage to the founders of the market and the original 18 tenants. However the clock tower now lives above shops.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

It has since grown into a must-see destination for locals and travelers alike, providing a unique blend of old and new LA. The market was here, in this exact same location, before Los Angeles as we know it even existed. And now it’s in the center of one of the poshest areas of the city. It’s crazy thinking how much has changed over the last 100 years.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

There are dozens of produce vendors, restaurants, and specialty food shops located throughout the farmer’s market. You’ll definitely want to go there hungry, because there is so much tasty food available to purchase!

The permanent shops and eateries, as well as experiencing history,  are the main reasons to head to this particular farmer’s market. As far as produce goes, there isn’t a ton available, and you’re better off buying produce from a market in any of the surrounding cities that is less crowded and has easier parking and more produce choices. Coming here for your weekly grocery shopping would be way too much of a hassle, unless you lived within walking distance.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

The market is located right next to The Grove, which is arguably the best outdoor mall in southern CA. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely worth popping over there for a bit to check out all the cool stores and restaurants.

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

The farmer’s market also hosts events throughout the year, including live music every Friday and Saturday. Click here for their calendar of events!

La farmers market, original la farmers market, los angeles farmers market, original los angeles farmers market, historic sites in la, farmers market, los angeles, the grove, Beverly hills, things to do in la, things to do in los angeles

LOCATION

6333 W.3rd St. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Telephone: (323) 933-9211

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday – Friday: 9am – 9pm
Saturday: 9am – 8pm
Sunday: 10am – 7pm
Some merchant hours may vary. Please call individual businesses to confirm their hours.

PARKING AT FARMERS MARKET

Parking is available in either of the Market’s two convenient lots. Parking rates are enforced 24 hours a day.
Parking Rates WITH Validation
90 minutes free validation with purchase from a Farmers Market merchant
$3 for first 15 minutes after 90 minute validation period
$1 for each additional 15 minutes thereafter
$24 maximum
*Lost ticket pays maximum
Parking Rates WITHOUT Validation
$2 for each 15 minutes
$30 maximum
*Lost ticket pays maximum
Additional parking is also available in The Grove Parking Structure, next door. One hour parking in the structure is free.
*Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diners Club accepted at all parking exits.*

For more information, visit the Original LA Farmer’s Market website.

La Musique Francaise au Troubadour

Even if you have never been to Los Angeles, odds are fairly high you have heard of the Troubadour. This iconic venue is where many legendary musicians of the 1960s-90s got their big break into the music industry. A quick glance through the Troubadour’s history is well worth the time. Bands like Metallica and Warrant played their debut shows at the Troubadour, Eagles’ members Don Henley and Glenn Frey met there, groups such as Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan were known to stop by for late night jam sessions…the list goes on and on.

Luckily for music fans, the Troubadour is still a functioning music venue today. They are host to live bands from all over the world, the majority of whom are lesser known artists, which is in keeping with the Troubadour’s early years. Recently one of my best friends had an extra ticket to see French-Canadian performer Coeur de Pirate at the Troubadour, and I jumped at the chance to go with her! Not only was I super excited to go to this amazing venue, but I also love checking out new bands.

DSCN9067

DSCN9090

There is no official parking lot for the Troubadour, but there is a parking structure across the street the costs around $15 for the evening. And they know when there is a concert so they are sure to stay open late enough to accommodate concert goers.

The Troubadour is standing room only, and guests are permitted to start lining up outside the venue an hour before the doors open.

DSCN9068

DSCN9069

The front bar inside the venue is like a small music history museum. Be sure to take a few minutes to see the cool stuff they have on display!

DSCN9070

DSCN9071

Whiskey in hand, I was ready to see the show! Knowing I was in a place that once housed Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan was beyond awesome!! It was enough to make any music lover giddy.

DSCN9073

DSCN9074

Sophie Auster opened for Coeur de Pirate, and I was blown away by her performance. Auster’s songs are a melodic blend of soulful lyrics and folk-inspired music that all at once feels pleasantly retro and thoroughly modern. She played an acoustic set that combined original music and cover songs, and by the time she finished, I knew I had to buy her album.

DSCN9076

DSCN9077

And then it was time for Coeur de Pirate!

DSCN9079

Coeur de Pirate, featuring singer/songwriter/pianist Beatrice Martin, hails from Montreal and has a sound uniquely their own. Combining elements of indie rock, pop, classic rock, electronic, and dance music, Coeur de Pirate put on a show that had the audience dancing and singing along till the very end. Martin’s soulful songwriting (though granted, she sang half of the songs in French so I am not sure what they were about) was perfectly suited to the intimacy of this small venue, and she formed a connection with her audience members, creating an awesome energy in the room.

DSCN9080

DSCN9082

DSCN9083

DSCN9084

DSCN9087

A couple things that are important to note before heading to a show at the Troubadour are to be prepared to stand for a really long time, and to dress cool because the venue gets incredibly hot and humid. There is about zero air flow inside once the floor gets packed, so you will likely head home drenched in sweat and with sore feet. But really, it is a small price to pay to experience live music in a historic place.

DSCN9093

For a calendar of upcoming shows at the Troubadour and to purchase tickets, visit their website.

The Original Pink’s Hot Dogs

Los Angeles is an epicenter of culinary delights. Literally anything you want to eat, you can find here. But if someone visiting from out of town wanted to know what restaurant they absolutely cannot miss, I would tell them to go to Pink’s Hot Dogs. This family-run hot dog stand first opened in 1939 and has since grown into an internationally recognized Hollywood landmark. Frequented by celebrities, the late-night club crowd, and well, basically anyone living around Los Angeles, Pink’s is the quintessential Hollywood dining experience.

DSCN9138

DSCN9149

Famous for their epic hot dogs piled high with creative topping combinations, huge portions and reasonable prices (almost everything on the menu is less than $10), a visit to Pink’s is definitely worth braving the LA traffic. Pink’s does have a small parking lot behind the hot dog stand with complimentary valet parking (yes, using the valet is mandatory if you want to park in the lot. Otherwise, you can try to find street parking).

DSCN9139

Be prepared for a possibly long line. Every time I have been there, the wait was at least 20+ minutes. Once again, totally worth it though. They have paper menus printed out and sitting on the counter…grab one to look over while you wait and know what you want to order before you reach the front.

DSCN9140

DSCN9141

I ordered the “Brando” hot dog on my most recent visit. Most of their hot dogs are named after celebrities who have dined at Pink’s or movie titles. Definitely adds to the Hollywood experience.

DSCN9142

When you get to the front of the line, one of the servers will take your food order and then begin to prepare it for you, while you move on to the register to pay. They also sell sodas in glass bottles and Pink’s souvenirs (cash and credit cards accepted).

DSCN9143

My feast!!

DSCN9144

And then a close-up on that beautiful and wonderful hot dog:

DSCN9145

Perfection. Seriously, you can’t find a better hot dog anywhere.

DSCN9146

DSCN9148

Pink’s Hot Dogs is located at 709 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Daily Hours: Sunday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. until 2:00 a.m. Friday & Saturdays 9:30 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.

Flamenco at El Cid…Ole!

Few things last in LA. In a city where everyone is constantly searching for the next big thing- the new, yet to be discovered cool place to hang out- the hip and trendy flourish, while the older establishments fall by the wayside. Tradition and history don’t carry much weight with Los Angelenos, as one historical venue after another is shut down and replaced by something new.

However, one venue that has persevered against all odds is El Cid, a small restaurant/theater located on Sunset Blvd where the trendy areas of Los Feliz and Silverlake meet Hollywood. The building was built back in 1925, became El Cid in 1963, and has remained much the same ever since. It doesn’t look like much from the street, but as you step inside and descend the staircase, it opens up into a gorgeous Spanish courtyard, complete with fountains and a bar. If you continue to follow the hallway, it leads you to an old-world tavern style showroom.

DSCN9016

DSCN9030

DSCN9019

Flamenco shows at El Cid have been performed since the supper club first opened its doors in 1963, and continue to happen every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. After hours, and on the other nights of the week, El Cid is host to a variety of other acts and performances. But the Flamenco shows are the reason to go here.

“With its bewildering beauty and passion, Flamenco has gained fans worldwide. Flamenco is a unique spectacle, captivating for all. Think of the fire, the passion and the defiance of those stomping feet, making Spanish flamenco dance an integral part of Spain’s culture. With its roots deeply embedded in Andalusia, the southern region of Spain, flamenco is a passionate music and dance art form. No two shows are ever the same” – El Cid website.

DSCN9017

Tickets are $15, and it is recommended to buy them in advance online to guarantee your seat for the performance. The food at El Cid is incredible, so show up early, order some tapas and sangria, and settle in for an amazing show! There is no minimum purchase required, and all food and drink items are sold a la carte. El Cid’s menu features Spanish entrees and tapas, as well as a full bar. Ticket price includes show only. Show is open to all ages.

DSCN9018

DSCN9020

DSCN9029

Flamenco at El Cid has been a part of Los Angeles history for over 50 years now, so stop by to check out one of the last remaining venues of old Hollywood! For more information on show dates and times, as well as to purchase tickets, visit the El Cid website.

El Cid is located at 4212 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Phone: 323.668.0318