Mom & Pop Shops are the lifeblood of any community and L.A. is no exception. From its oldest bar to its oldest tattoo shop, most of these family-owned businesses have been around for over 100 years and need your support to be around for 100 more.MoreLess
LA’s Oldest Indie Bookstore: Joe Chevalier established his iconic bookstore in 1940, making it the longest running shop of its kind. Chevalier's Books specializes in bringing literature that isn't on the NYT bestseller list. Each pick of the week is meticulously curated by the staff who aim to find nonconformist, contemporary verse and prose for every age group and personality.
LA's Oldest Toy Store: Kip's Toyland has been delighting kids and adults since 1945. For a city that goes through trends like people go through undergarments that's quite a feat. The Kipper family still owns and operates the toy store and Don Kipper is proud of the fact that they don't sell "anything that you can plug in." The secret to their survival is to offer the types of toys that have survived joysticks and smartphones.
LA's Oldest Bakery: In Chinatown L.A.'s oldest bakery whips up sweet and savory delights. Phoenix Bakery specializes in airy baked confections as well as Chinese treats. Strawberry cream cakes, mochi, steamed buns, and traditional sticky sugar butterflies are a few of their tried and true specialties. Don't forget to stop in during major Chinese holidays when you can get hard-to-find fresh-baked goodies such as Mid-Autumn Festival mooncakes!
America’s Oldest Tattoo Shop: The last remaining business from the original historic area that was once called "The Pike," Outer Limits Tattoo & Museum is the oldest continuously operated tattoo parlor in the entire USA, open since 1927. The Pike was once a seaside amusement area with bath houses, arcades, food stands, and tattoo parlors.
Downtown LA’s Oldest Bar: More comfy than upscale, Golden Gopher is downtown L.A.'s oldest bar. It has remained open since 1905 - a place where the regular folks of the city look to have a relaxed conversation with friends without the nightclub ambience that L.A. is known for. Friendly servers, great cocktails, microbrews, and vintage arcade games have helped this place flourish for more than a century.
LA’s Oldest Bowling Alley: Highland Park Bowl opened in 1927 at the same time the television was first invented. It would take the cathode ray box to make an appearance in family homes so pastimes like bowling were safe for decades. Another reason it was so popular - it was a great place to get "medicinal" whisky during Prohibition. Highland Park Bowl has remained open since the Prohibition era, catering to a diverse crowd looking for an escape from streaming TV and smartphones.
LA’s Oldest Church: Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church or "La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles" in Spanish was first founded in 1814 by a Franciscan priest. The structure was first completed in 1822 but renovations and a bell tower were added in the 1870s.
LA’s Oldest Surviving Record Shop: Canterbury Records established in 1956 has outlived the greatest record giants of all time - Virgin Megastore and Tower Records to name a couple. Perhaps the family-owned store's secret is that it caters to music-lovers of all genres. Vinyl enthusiasts in particular will love the selection, but you can also find a good variety of CDs.
LA's Oldest Indie Grocery Store: Galco's Old World Grocery is an Italian-style deli and grocery shop famous for its selection of more than 700 bottled sodas - many of them small batch hard-to-find brands from Europe and North America. There are also snacks, candies, and chips to choose from, but this is a place that will tickle the fancy soda connoisseurs.
LA’s Oldest Cafeteria-Style Restaurant: This eatery is the oldest cafeteria-style restaurant in L.A. and the largest in the world. Here you can get those comfortably familiar Jell-O cups with whipped cream. Don't expect cafeteria prices - your tab will be comparable to any mid-priced restaurant in L.A. Unlike the common cafeteria this has a full bar built from a church altar!
Oldest Indie Donut Shop in LA: Don't let the small counter at Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts fool you; this Farmers' Market installation has been serving up a great selection of donuts, sugary pastries, and coffee beverages since 1947. Although any choice you make will be a good one, Bob's is famous for its perfect glazed donut. There's one catch - Bob's only accepts cash, but with their low prices you won't need much.
Oldest Ice Cream Company in LA: Any time of the year is a great time to visit Fosselman's Ice Cream Co., the oldest of its kind in L.A. Year-round perfect weather means ice cream can be an daily treat. Old-fashioned soda fountain beverages and seasonal treats such as December Eggnog & Peppermint Bark are doled out generously. Fosselman's has been family-run for more than a century, delighting customers with sweet, cool desserts in retro parlor.
LA’s Oldest Movie Theater: The Palace Theater once known as the Orpheum is where Michael Jackson and his video girlfriend watch Vincent Price's "Thriller" right before the singer turns into one of the undead. In real life the theater was used only for its exterior in the video as the indoor shots were filmed at the Rialto in Pasadena. The Palace is the oldest existing Orpheum where legends such as Houdini, Bob Hope, the Marx Brothers, and Will Rogers stood on the stage.
LA’s Oldest Bar: Alhambra Cocktail Lounge first opened in 1904 and has existed as you see it today since 1936. If you're looking for a no-frills experience which hasn't been updated since the 1930s, head here. Don't let the aesthetics fool you - this little hipster dive bar is known for shaking up some of the best cocktails in San Pedro.
LA’s Oldest Candy Store: In 1903 Fugetsu-Do Confectionery opened its doors and introduced Angelenos to the world of Japanese sweets. They are known for their homemade mochi in a rainbow of colors - the best to be found for miles around. The confectionery has been family run since its beginnings and has weathered tumultuous times such as the Great Depression and World War II.
Santa Monica’s Oldest Restaurant: This is the oldest restaurant in Santa Monica. Although it does not have a waterfront view the atmosphere will make you believe you're in the middle of the ocean. Fashioned like its name - a ship's galley. First, you'll be greeted at the "helm," unmistakable by its wheel, and then you'll be taken to the deck where you can see outside through the portholes.
LA’s Oldest Cemetery: Evergreen Cemetery was first established in 1877. Like many old cemeteries it contains an eclectic mixture of gravestones and markers as well as more elaborate statue monuments. It's no Forest Lawn or Pierce Bros. Westwood; the upkeep isn't great and it could probably use some TLC. But it does have a lot of personality. Evergreen Cemetery was one of the first desegregated cemeteries; many Black actors of the '20s and '30s are buried here.
Hollywood’s Oldest Restaurant: A century-old restaurant brings the flavors of New York City to Hollywood. Opened in 1919, this is the oldest eatery in Hollywood, often called Tinseltown's genesis. Not much has changed here. The decor and menu are still Old Hollywood style, so much so that it was featured in Quentin Tarantino's movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Santa Monica’s Oldest Bar: Big Dean's Oceanfront Cafe opened as Laring's Lunch Room in 1902. Since then, it has been a favorite with locals and visitors, surviving and thriving in times such as the Great Depression, multiple recessions, and Covid. Many celebrities have graced this eatery with their presence, including Wilt Chamberlain, Natalie Wood, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Great food and generous servings of beer in a chill atmosphere give this place a great vibe.
LA’s Oldest Tiki Bar: A couple of decades after Prohibition was repealed the Tonga Hut came into existence. The year was 1958 when brothers Ace and Ed Libby created their tropical escape in the dry heat of the San Fernando Valley. It survived changing trends and recessions and owns the well-deserved title of "L.A.'s Oldest Tiki Bar." The menu is what you'd expect in this sort of establishment - mai tais and other island-inspired cocktails.