Fed up with mass-produced merchandise and stuffy, crowded stores? Try a holiday market instead. Fortunately, L.A. has a wealth of seasonal craft fairs you can browse if the shopping mall options or big department stores just aren't your bag. These seasonal marts are great for filling gaps left after perusing L.A.’s gift shops, and for finding unique gifts handmade by local artisans. As a bonus, showing up at one of these markets is an easy way to get into the Christmas spirit. Just add hot chocolate and you'll be on your way.
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Find the best holiday market for you
Any crafter worth her weight in cashmere yarn knows that Renegade Craft Fair is the fair all other fairs aspire to. Held in urban epicenters such as Brooklyn, Chicago, Austin and of course, Los Angeles, Renegade is a traveling marketplace showcasing work from hundreds of the country’s best contemporary indie craft artists. Aside from the wares, Renegade offers all sorts of homemade DIY fun and holiday festivities: think classes and demos, free photo booths and tons of tasty food trucks. Sure, Renegade hosts an epic summer fair, but it's the supplemental holiday fairs in wintertime that help you check everyone off your gift list—including yourself.
Reserve a spot in your weekend for the latest installment of this Pinterester's Utopia. Hosted at the 5,000-square-foot Mack Sennett Studios, the Echo Park Craft Fair returns, welcoming artsy Eastsiders for a feast of hand-dyed clothing and delicately concocted bath oils, one-of-a-kind ceramics, weavings, jewelry and beyond. Founded by a shoe designer and a textile artist, the bi-annual extravaganza has grown from a backyard hangout to an artisan's haven, providing a number of local craftspeople a space to showcase their handmade gems.
Gear up for the holiday season at this annual holiday market, boasting over 60 artisanal vendors including makers, crafters and chefs. Local makers and crafters will display one-of-a-kind, festive goods to toast the season of oversized sweaters and hot chocolate (if L.A. weather permits). Find the fair at 1st Avenue and Huntington Drive in Arcadia, with free lot parking at Claros Market and Arcadia Park and lots of street parking—or take the Metro Gold Line to the Arcadia Station.
Described as the largest made-in-America shopping event in the country, the annual Unique holiday market features clothes, accessories and art pieces from a number of quality handmade brands. Check out local products and rub elbows with the different designers and artists showcasing their work. Take a break with locally-made food, plus free drinks and photo booth portraits.
Stroll through Union Station's handsome south patio as this inaugural holiday market rolls into the historic train station. Pick up jewelry from the Key Historic, T-shirts from the Poster List, organic body products from Original Good Goods, leather goods from Spragwerks, a mobile record shop from Dig It Vinyl and more. The market also includes live music, a craft beer garden and food trucks. And, of course, we couldn’t think of a more Metro-friendly location for a holiday market than Union Station.
Calling all vintage lovers! Shop more than 50 of the top vintage retailers (local and national) and private dealers at this vintage market. A Current Affair is a major source for stylists, designers and anyone in search of one of a kind vintage ranging from perfectly worn-in jeans to rare and collectible designer vintage. Shop an array of vintage clothing, accessories, and jewelry from the Victorian Era through today.
Get all your holiday shopping completed at the Mosaic Craft Fair, an event that showcases the handmade products of more than 80 vendors. Scan through stationary, textiles, plants, jewelry, art, bath and body products from local artisans. There will also be plenty of food trucks, a craft beer garden, kids' corner, craft workshops and live music, making it a family-friendly destination. Find it at the Alhambra complex (1000 S Fremont Ave) in, you guessed it, Alhambra.
Bitchcraft is a badass, scrappy little market featuring a mix of metal-punk-western-hippie-inspired wares including handmade holiday balls, leather goods and astrology coasters. It sounds a little over the top, but there are many hidden gems here, and they serve beer and Bloody Marys while supplies last, which isn’t long—Bitchcraft tends to turn from fair to party as the afternoon progresses. There will be an appearance by Black Metal Santa Clause, live music and flowing PBRs at Kinship Yoga (5612 N Figueroa St) in Highland Park.
The newest flea market on the block, the Venice outpost of this artisan/craft-focused flea market mini-empire is bringing records, vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, cosmetics, jewelry and more to the Westminster Avenue Elementary School. A handful of small batch confectioners provide sweet treats to snack on or take home, while food trucks and nearby restaurants provide heartier bites. Though relatively small in size, owing perhaps to its prime location bookending the neighborhood’s famed Abbot Kinney stretch, vendors hawk a diverse range of hand-made and expertly curated wares that seems to simultaneously fit in and stand out in one of the nation’s most unusual neighborhoods.
If you’re making a list and checking it twice, consider this annual shopping event for unique kitchen, pantry and tabletop finds from retail and culinary pop-ups including include Birch & Bone, Brown Bag Books, Ink + Smog, Los Angeles County Store, MADE by DWC, M.Greenwood Jams, Morning Glory Confections, Paper Pastries, Spread the Love: Peanut Butter, Sweet Oak Bakery and YA Living. Score all sorts of foodie goodies from Grand Central Market vendors like holiday breads from Clark Street Bread, potato knishes from Wexler’s Deli, tamales from Chiles Secos, smoked beef rib from Horse Thief BBQ, rotisserie chicken from Bar Moruno, holiday on a hoagie sandwich from Belcampo, artisanal food gift baskets from DTLA Cheese and specialty chocolate boxes, fruitcakes and peppermint bark from Valerie Confections.