This 57,000 square-foot outdoor mall in L.A.'s condensed Mid-City neighborhood draws crowds of tourists and locals every day of the year. Opened in 2002 and designed to look like a city within a city, its meandering layout features faux-Art Deco facades, stone-paved pathways, several restaurants and cafes, a shiny double-decker streetcar, and a whimsically animated fountain beside a grassy park. Since 2010, the entertainment tabloid show Extra has been filmed here, providing visitors a chance to see both a TV production and host Mario Lopez in action.
Surrounded by a shopping district full of independent boutiques and restaurants, and only about a mile from the famous Beverly Center, The Grove's popularity can be ironically attributed to its location. The mall sprawls adjacent to two other major attractions, CBS Television City (where visitors line up to see tapings of TV shows like Dancing With the Stars and American Idol) and the Original Farmer's Market. The latter, a city fixture since 1934, is a friendly warren of food stalls and sit-down eateries, gourmet provision and souvenir shops, and some of the best people-watching in Los Angeles; the Farmer's Market is one of the few places in town where you'll see old men in Greek fishing caps playing backgammon, an extended Korean family, and a surly pack of teenage hipsters in the same glance.
The Grove offers shopping and eating opportunities for visitors from all ages, as can be seen with the enormous, pink American Girl Place; a small Nordstrom's with a wildly popular shoe department; a glitzy 14-screen movie theatre; a huge Banana Republic; an even bigger Barnes & Noble; a swanky cocktail bar scene at The Whisper Lounge; gleaming outposts of Maggiano's Little Italy and The Cheesecake Factory; local chain Umami Burger and UK chef Gordon Ramsay's Fat Cow; and an Apple store that attracts TV and movie celebrities to its second-floor Genius Bar.
The Christmas season is especially festive at The Grove, which begins shortly before Thanksgiving. Here you'll find Santa in his North Pole house, an ongoing series of holiday concerts, a twinkling display of nighttime lights, and, trimmed to the hilt, the city's largest Christmas tree.