We all love online shopping. But there’s a special excitement to heading off to a shopping destination, expecting to find those unusual somethings to fill stockings and scratch Aunt Ida off the list. These holiday markets do just that…and guarantee a sense of accomplishment when you arrive home with a car full of presents, mission accomplished.
Best for Stuff You Want for Yourself: Echo Park Crafts Fair
OK, the holidays are all about thinking of others—blah, blah, blah. But at this sprawling fair, you will find yourself wanting so many cool designer-y accessories (brass statement earrings by Annie Costello Brown) and home goods (you didn’t know you needed a ceramic wall talisman by Mt. Washington Pottery, did you?).
Best for Feeling Arty: The Row Dtla
You’ve driven past the revamped railroad station rechristened the Row DTLA, and now it’s time to check it out (so much parking!). This season, it’s home to a holiday pop-up that ranges from high-end lingerie to luggage to luscious garden and home accessories. Go on a Sunday to take advantage of the bajillion food trucks.
Best for That Sunny Social Feeling: Unique La
It’s one of the largest “buy local” markets in the country with some of the coolest gifts for sale. You’ll find cheeky stationery for your picky millennial niece, handmade jewelry for your mom and a Donut Snob doughnut filled with fresh berry coulis to fuel yourself so you can shop till you drop.
Best for Pigging Out, Err, Culinary Delights: Grand Central Market
This open-air food market houses a pop-up village of local purveyors with an emphasis on food-related goods. Pick up a chef-endorsed apron from Hedley & Bennett and then assemble a gift basket of Knead & Co. handmade pasta, Greenwood’s elder flower pear jam and the like. On Sunday, there’s a gingerbread-man decorating sesh being broadcast on Evan Kleiman’s addictive radio show The Splendid Table.
Best For Getting Loose And Earth Mother-Y: Bitchcraft Winter Faire
Got someone goth on your list who just might love a pentacle wreath? Well, even if you don’t, this scrappy little daylong fair that turns into a party (thanks to rock bands and flowing PBR) is so worth your while. Browse handmade axes and rough-hewn quartz jewelry while you wait to have your tarot cards read.
Best for Sightseeing: Crafted At The Port Of L.A.
This huge warehouse-cum-exhibition space gives local artisans a place to display their wares year-round, but it’s really special during the holidays when the place is flooded with crocheted cloches, artisanal jams and lines for cupcakes for you and Fido. (Did we mention the place is dog-friendly?) After shopping, drive to the San Pedro waterfront, the southernmost tip of Los Angeles.