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Sourcing Spanish language materials in California
December 9, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I am traveling to California for the holidays, and I am slowly learning Spanish. I'd like to use this trip to motivate my learning.

I am traveling to California over the holidays, and I am slowly learning Spanish. I live in a country where Spanish language materials are hard to find and expensive, but I do a lot of my work with countries in Latin America. I will be spending a few days each in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco (and an afternoon in Tijuana). I will be staying downtown in each city - I have visited all before except Tijuana so have seen many of the big sights already, and will be using public transport.

I am looking for bookstores to buy comic books, cookbooks, novels and magazines, record stores (who had the best Latin Alternative albums this year?), DVDs, places to hear good music, and basically any sights or activities I can enjoy during the trip or bring home to fill my house with language and culture. Gracias!
posted by wingless_angel to Travel & Transportation around California, CA (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The phrase "downtown" doesn't have as much meaning in Los Angeles as it does in San Francisco and San Diego. In San Francisco, the Mission district has a good representation of Hispanic cultures. Take BART to the 24th and Mission stop, and head north on Mission Street. There are a variety of bookstores and music shops in that area.

East LA has a much higher density of Spanish speaking bookstores and music stores, but you should be able to find something near your hotel.
posted by blob at 10:41 AM on December 9, 2013


If you're staying in Downtown LA, you should head over to East LA while you're here. I'd especially recommend taking the Gold Line to Mariachi Plaza. Not only is it a good starting off point to explore the more walkable parts of East Los, there's a great bookshop there called Libros Schmibros which has a good Spanish language section. They also have a good section of English language books on California history and culture, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

There's also a gallery/boutique/radio station in walking distance of there called Espacio 1839 which may have some of what you're looking for, and has a decent selection of more hipster-ish Latin American music.

The staff at either store should be able to point you in the direction of more stuff, if they don't have what you're looking for. And the neighborhood is surprisingly walkable and good for exploring on foot.
posted by Sara C. at 11:08 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless you really want hard copies, I think you can find most of these things online. I have a ton of books and music I've from various sources, free, paid, and (gulp) other sources to remain un-named. (In Latin America everybody does it!)

Amazon now has books and of course music in Spanish. The Kindle has a few cool Spanish dictionaries to help translate an unfamiliar word here and there. I listen to few free podcasts on Itunes in Spanish.
posted by Che boludo! at 12:05 PM on December 9, 2013


Every news stand on Hollywood Blvd will have Spanish language magazines and newspapers (actually, most supermarkets and convenience stores will as well.)
Libreria Mexico de Echo Park has music and books, (and maybe yarn?)
The Eastsider LA usually has good listings of events,etc.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:20 PM on December 9, 2013


I like Librería Ghandi in Zona Rio, Tijuana. It is a book/music/dvd store. Yes, it is a chain, but it has a good selection of books and stuff in Spanish. It is near the Centro Cultural Tijuana on Paseo de los Heroes.
posted by birdherder at 8:57 PM on December 9, 2013


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