You've already been to the Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Hidden Gems Alternative Travel Guide — Part 5

4 min readMay 26, 2021


Gas in the DeLorean? Check.

Pastport? Check.

Barbarian repellent? Robot milk? Better head to The Time Travel Mart in LA.

This tongue-in-cheek bodega has all the necessities for successful time travel — no matter which direction you’re headed. From canned primordial soup to evil robot memory erasers (they’re magnets) The Time Travel Mart has you covered.

If you’re an android (it’s okay, we won’t tell) you can buy instant emotions like fear, envy, happiness, boredom, or Schadenfreude to help you blend in with the humans. For forward-travelers, pick up a can of mammoth chunks. Mmm, just like Mom used to make.

boredom makes you feel like a human
it’s best not to ask

Ancient artifacts include medicinal leeches, dinosaur eggs, pomade, and VHS tapes.

Stop by yesterday for a Time-Freezy Hyper Slush drink in a range of exciting flavors like Bubonic Blast or Heisenberry. Pick up your emergency mummy kit (I’ll let you guess what that one is) on your way out. You never know when you’ll need it!

Can’t make the drive? No worries. The Time Travel Mart has an online store where you can buy a bumper sticker that says “My other car is a wooly mammoth” or a lemon clock kit or a book about surviving in a world overrun by robots.

Is this too fun for you?

Would you rather do something more constructive with your time… whatever “time” is? Fear not. The Time Travel Mart is a front for the 826LA student education program.

All proceeds from The Time Travel Mart go directly toward funding creative writing tutoring for LA’s kids ages 6–18. Students get to practice literacy in a fun, inspirational setting that embraces originality. Best of all, the kids are able to share and sell their writing right there in The Time Travel Mart thanks to the in-house publisher, Barnacle & Barnacle. Look for their work in the freezer section.

Most people consider tutoring a little, well, boring. (Not me, though — I used to tutor English and gave plenty of talks about how awesome and beneficial writing workshops and tutoring are.) But when you’re trying to inspire budding creative writers and generate a little money for a non-profit, a time travel themed shop is a great way to spark some interest.

Next door is a fabulous bookstore, too, so between shopping for gifts, helping young writers, and buying an unnecessary amount of books, a sci-fi or fantasy nerd could easily lose a day in this small space.

The shop itself is pretty bare bones, which I think makes The Time Travel Mart even more appropriate. It’s a quick in and out kind of shop for people who’ve accidentally ripped a hole in the space time continuum and need some tape.

One would expect aluminum shelving and pegboard walls in a shop that sells Dark Ages Breath Ruiner.

Okay, serious time. Is this a tourist must-see? Is it the ultimate LA shopping destination? No. But it is a terribly clever front for a vibrant youth writing program. If you’re in the area and want to support children’s non-profits while giggling about instant shade for time travelers (it’s a walnut in a bag) do stop by.

You’ll get a giggle, they’ll get some tutoring — it’s a win-win.

the bare essentials

This is the fifth stop on our tour of America’s best-kept travel secrets. Some will be big, some will be tiny, but all of them will be out of the way. Learn more about the project here.




I write a lot (shocking, I know) and it's usually about animals, travel, outdoorsy stuff, and of course, writing.