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The History of Little Ethiopia in the City of Los Angeles

L.A.'s Fairfax Avenue has long been a meeting place for diverse cultures. It became an artery for the Jewish community in the 1950s, and the original Farmers Market has been a central gathering ground for Angelenos of every stripe since 1934.

The most recent arrivals to claim a slice of Fairfax as home are Ethiopians, who in the 1990s began forming a critical mass of restaurants, markets and service shops between Olympic Boulevard and Whitworth Drive.


In 2002, the city officially recognized this enclave as Little Ethiopia, and today the buzz of commerce -- and coffee-- transports visitors to Addis Ababa.About 50 small independent businesses intermixed with three national chain entities fill Little Ethiopia’s commercial block, including 10 restaurants of which 7 are of Ethiopian cuisine, a 7th-generation Scandinavian bakery, 2 coffee shops (local and a national chain), a national convenience store, and 2 preschools. To the North, the area is anchored by “The Asterisk”, the convergence of Olympic, San Vicente, and Fairfax. Other features include a medical center, an adult day care, 2 cultural centers, 3 art galleries, and 2 religious institutions. Pico Boulevard is the Southern boundary which is the principal East / West commercial corridor for the P.I.C.O. Neighborhood Council

About Destination Little Ethiopia, a Project of Community Partners

Destination Little Ethiopia is on the of the many community projects run by Community Partners, a non-profit fiscal sponsor. 


Destination Little Ethiopia is a vision for transforming Fairfax Avenue into an active, dynamic hub for the community and spotlight this unique and vibrant community. This project consists of community programming and two components of street improvements: signature improvements and infrastructure improvements.


Community programming in the past has included Adoptive Parents of Ethiopian Children group meetings, Amharic language instruction, book tours, dance classes and the monthly First Thursdays Little Ethiopia events. Signature improvements include implementing amenities such as decorative crosswalks and gateway signage. Other infrastructure improvements that prioritize safety include curb extensions, midblock crossings, high-visibility crosswalks. This project is important for the community because it will play a key role in transforming our streets into safe, accessible, and vibrant public spaces. 


Destination Little Ethiopia has previously operated the Little Ethiopia Cultural Resource Center as a face of the organization for the past number of years. The Cultural Center was located in a storefront at the heart of Little Ethiopia and served as a gathering place for the Ethiopian community as well as an event space for the broader neighborhood.  


Our team is comprised of native Amharic, Spanish and English speakers representing the three most commonly spoken languages in the community. We are well prepared to guide the creation of a proactive and positive vision for the Fairfax corridor, which is favorable to the preservation of the business and residential communities, in anticipation of increased development in the area.

Meet The Team 


Markos Legesse

Executive Director /

Project Leader


Meron Amahayes

Events Chair /

Deputy Project Leader

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