We made what could be called our 2nd annual trip to LA's downtown Piñata District to prepare for my son's birthday. Once he discovered piñatas, they became a necessity for a birthday celebration! Last year we went to the area of Olympic Boulevard and South Central Avenue to search for a monster truck piñata and we weren't disappointed. This year he is into wild animals and there were plenty of options to choose from. If you haven't been to this area before, it is a row of about 10 stores that each carry various piñatas. In many of the shops dozens of piñatas hang overhead and you may look up to a sea of paper-mache feet or colorful crepe paper streamers from the traditional seven-pointed star piñata. You will see some shapes repeated, but each store offers a little something different. Some offer toys and candy to fill the piñatas and others carry party plates and decorations. Last year we visited about 5 different places until we found the right truck. In our search for wild animals we found dolphins, sharks, giraffes, zebras, lions, monkeys and more! You can also find piñatas in the shape of unicorns, cupcakes, ice-cream, donuts, bottles of tequila, and plenty of unlicensed characters. We picked up a large lion for $16.35 after tax. You can't find this at a big box store! The employee at the store was very helpful in getting the piñata down for us and made sure we had the one we wanted.
If you're planning to make a trip, here are a few things we've learned: You can pay to park in small parking lots for $3-$10. You can purchase sets of rope to hang the piñata along with a decorated stick for breaking it open for a few dollars. You're going to need these! The streets can get crowded and tight especially where there are street vendors selling food. This makes it very difficult to maneuver a stroller. Our baby happened to be asleep when we got there and we had to bring the stroller, but I would recommend leaving the stroller in the car if possible. Or better yet, leave the stroller at home because piñatas are big! Last year we learned this the hard way and we couldn't fit the monster truck anywhere in the car except in the front passenger seat with me and I had to ride the entire way home with my face smashed between the truck and the window! This year, after a little maneuvering, we were able to fit the lion in the back with the stroller, but their size can be deceiving! Check out the images to see more of LA's Piñata District!