grand central market

LA’s original food hall 

Grand Central Market has been a well-loved haven for LA foodies for decades, and has been around for over a century as a market serving the downtown community. But the market even just ten years ago was entirely different from what it’s become today. It used to be a lot more reflective of the evolving LA community, with more of a balance between grocers and food stalls. Today, it’s mostly food stalls, each one trendier than the next. No matter which side of the market you enter, you’ll be greeted by a hungry crowd and loud neon signs taunting your decision paralysis.

There’s the ever-popular Eggslut, the longstanding China Cafe and Thai street food favorite, Sticky Rice (so popular there’s two of them). Some of LA’s best also have outposts here, like Sari Sari (a Filipino concept from the Republique fam), Kismet Falafel, and G&B Coffee (you may know them as gget). The best part about Grand Central Market is that, despite the evolution from a local market to a hipster haven to a mainstream tourist attraction, the offerings still do reflect the diversity of LA today, albeit a gentrified version. As for the worst part? Trying to find a seat during the weekend. Good luck!

the details

Address317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA
Hours8am to 10pm every day (but some vendors may vary, so check the site)
COVID Hours: generally the same (for takeout, order ahead, curbside pickup, etc) and limited dining (depending on LA’s restrictions) – hours may vary significantly by vendors, many of which are not open every day
Price$-$$ – it’s cheap if you think of it as a trendy food hall, pricey if you think of it as street food. But generally, most of the stalls have food items starting in the single digits, so you can definitely get a 2-3 course meal for $20.
AestheticHonestly pretty overwhelming with all of the sensory overload, but that’s a part of the experience.

good to know

Go here for: waiting in line for food you can get elsewhere. Jk, while some of the lines do start to test your patience, it’s hard to beat the variety of foods you can mix and match for a feast in one single place.

Order this: truly, whatever your heart desires. Keep an eye out for pop ups though, sometimes they have exclusive specialties that you won’t want to miss. 

Amount of time to spend: give yourself a full hour to account for wait time. But also if you park in the lot maybe don’t stay too long to save some $$. 

When to come: Ideally not on the weekends, and not during lunch hour. It’s a lot more chill on a weeknight, since most people who work downtown file out after work…and most people who don’t work downtown can’t be bothered to go there on a weeknight. Or come earlier in the morning and beat the crowds.

Parking: They have a lot attached, though they don’t validate. (Tbh, I’ve never used the lot, but it has a pretty bad reputation when it comes to availability and the size of the spaces) Nearby lots tend to go for $10-20 a day. Metered parking is scarce in this area. Highly recommend not driving to save yourself the headache (can’t believe I’m saying this, but maybe try taking the metro red line?). Otherwise, I prefer parking a distance away and walking over. 

Other things to note: 

  • While the market is open from 8am to 10pm every day, not every stall shares those hours, so if you have your heart set on something specific, be sure to double check their hours.
  • If you want the food but not the crowds, grab some things to go, and hike up to California Plaza. Most of the shops are closed on the weekends anyways, so it tends to be a bit more quiet.

Last visited: October 2021

Last updated: October 2022

while you're here