At first glance, the inside of this storefront resembles any other market in the area—but look closer and you’ll find a collection of funny “time travel” curiosities that one needs in order to visit the past and future. Oddities include Robot Toupees, Aeon Bottled Time (i.e. sand in a bottle), Barbarian Repellent, Primordial Soup In a Can, and a whole bunch of books. What’s going on? The market is a ruse: everything in it is indeed for sale, but the store is actually a front for 826LA, a nonprofit organization which tutors kids ages 6 to 18. Founded by author Dave Eggers, 826LA gives free creative writing classes to kids. All the books in the store? They’re written by those children. Many are professionally published in tandem with publishing houses around LA and some are actually sold on Amazon. The classroom is located through a door in the back of the shop, and only the kids who take classes even know it’s there. Shoppers can buy cool gifts, or volunteer to teach the kids. If you come up with an idea for a product to sell in the store, the employees will help you design it and the store will sell it. Which might spur others to drop some money and add to the financial support of this amazing nonprofit. How cool is that?
Echo Park Time Travel Mart
|Venue name:||Echo Park Time Travel Mart||Contact:|
1714 W Sunset Blvd
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sun noon-6pm|
Average User Rating
3 / 5
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How can you not love this place? If you're cranky about the one-note "joke," you clearly just don't get it. The storefront is mostly there for the kids—you know, the kids who are learning about writing and storytelling in the back classroom, the classroom built by 826LA, the non-profit built by author Dave Eggers to nurture the brains and imaginations of said kids. And what kid (nay, human) wouldn't want to hang out in a time travel mart? Or a pirate ship (San Francisco) or a bigfoot research institute (Boston) or a robot supply and repair shop (Chicago)... I could go on. These are places to let your imaginations run wild, to laugh at a few jokes and to buy something (or donate) if you believe in inspiring the creativity of young minds.
With something like two decent jokes animating the store, it becomes tiresome very,very quickly. My kids and I all independently chose to go there because of the timeout description. We all agreed that the place was a real bust compared to our expectations (made worse by the 50 minutes of traffic we fought to get there).