City Market and Market Chinatown District | Los Angeles Conservancy
Rear of 1100 block of South San Pedro Street. Photo by Marcello Vavala/L.A. Conservancy

City Market and Market Chinatown District

Located east of Downtown, the City Market complex represents the largest existing collection of pre-World War II commercial and community buildings associated with the Chinese community in Los Angeles. 

A group of Chinese and some Japanese vendors came together in the early 1900s to organize and develop a thriving wholesale produce marketplace in response to growing demand within the city.

Designed by prominent Los Angeles architectural firm Morgan & Walls, the original City Market complex was constructed in 1909. The market was oriented around the perimeter of the block bounded by San Julian, San Pedro, Ninth, and Eleventh Streets. It originally consisted of eight brick and reinforced concrete industrial buildings, organized around central loading docks. Each building was simple in design, with a pair of architecturally distinguished mid-block structures with Mission Revival-inspired towers and corner belvederes. 

Additional buildings were constructed over time, which occupy much of the adjacent block directly south of Eleventh Street. 

According to some reports, Chinese residents and laborers were responsible for growing and distributing nearly eighty percent of the produce consumed in Los Angeles from 1910 through 1930. 

City Market quickly became an important social and commercial anchor within the rapidly expanding Chinese community located along the San Pedro Street corridor. Other community-serving buildings opened in the surrounding area, including religious, retail, restaurant, and lodging structures. 

Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

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