Los Angeles City Guide

By: Amy Westervelt

Los Angeles Shopping

©2006 Richard Carroll Visitors to Los Angeles will find all sorts of shopping selections -- andsome of them, like these hats, actually are reasonably priced.

From local boutiques to the country's best known upscale shopping district -- Rodeo Drive -- Los Angeles has something for every type of shopper. As the local Fashion Week gains more credibility, local designers are sticking around instead of running off to New York, which has made for an increase in local designer boutiques over the last few years. Of course, LA is known best for its casual wear and you can still find plenty of it, from hundreds of jean brands to swimsuits all year-round.

The Silver Lake and Echo Park kids find their hip threads at any number of thrift, vintage, and cutting-edge boutiques throughout the city, and many a squeal-worthy treasure can be found at some of LA's best flea markets. Like everything else in LA, it's a good idea to plan your shopping trip by neighborhood. Each neighborhood tends to offer a different sort of shopping experience, and luckily there are several neighborhoods with dozens of boutiques to choose from, so you don't have to spend half the day in your car getting from one shop to another.


Insider's Guide: The Best of Shopping in Los Angeles

Beverly Hills is not all Rodeo Drive (between Santa Monica and Wilshire Blvds) and the Beverly Center (8500 Beverly Blvd). Those spots are there for people who have money to burn and, to be honest, for the people who want to brag about shopping there. Most people in LA, if they have mega-Rodeo-Drive-bucks, cruise a couple blocks north to Robertson Boulevard and shop at Madison (115 South Robertson Blvd), Lisa Kline (136 South Robertson Blvd), Kitson (115 South Robertson Blvd) and Curve (154 North Robertson Blvd).

Meanwhile, just a few blocks east, West LA's Third Street Shopping District (not to be confused with the Third Street Promenade, we'll get to that in a minute), has enough shops to keep even the biggest shopaholic busy for an entire day. From unusual shoes at Inago (8364 West 3rd St) to beautiful housewares at OK (8303 West 3rd St) to a handful of designer boutiques like Meg (8362 West 3rd St) and catch-all boutiques like Milk (8209 West 3rd St), Third Street is one-stop shopping for all things cool and tasteful.

When you're done with the boutiques, head to the Original Los Angeles Farmer's Market (6333 West 3rd St) for excellent souvenirs, food, and people watching. In addition to the produce, meat, and cheese vendors, there are a number of dining options, a couple of bars, and dozens of specialty shops. Usually packed with people (but in a good way), this is an excellent place to spend an afternoon soaking in the friendly chatter of LA.

Head north from 3rd Street to reach the shopping Mecca of West Hollywood. In between all the galleries on Melrose Avenue, you'll find some of the city's best vintage clothing (Decades 1 & 2 -- 8214 Melrose Ave; Resurrection Vintage -- 8006 Melrose Ave; Cherry West -- 8250 Santa Monica Blvd; and Wasteland -- 7428 Melrose Ave) bordered by small boutiques selling everything from unique, cutting-edge fashions to skate gear (Supreme -- 439 Fairfax Ave) to really cool stationery (Soolip Paperie and Press, 8646 Melrose Ave).

East of Beverly Hills and south of Hollywood, La Brea offers more than just their famous tar pits. The area's central street, La Brea Avenue, is dotted with some of LA's best home design stores, including Rewire (442 N La Brea Ave), which sells super-cool refurbished vintage lighting fixtures.

To the east, the hipster triumvirate comprised of Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park is loaded with stores, and probably the best place to get something a little edgy in Los Angeles. Lots of local designers set up shop here, because what the cool kids wear here tends to dictate fashion in the rest of the city. Not to be missed in this area are Steinberg & Sons (4712 Franklin Ave, Los Feliz), Show Pony (1543 Echo Park Ave, Echo Park), and The Circle (2395 Glendale Blvd, Silver Lake).

Near the beaches, Santa Monica and Venice Beach have plenty of shopping between them to eat up a day. Fred Segal (500 Broadway) is a must-see, as much for the layout and the scene as the actual stock, although that's all good too -- nationally and internationally known labels, and some great up-and-coming designers as well.

They also have a West Hollywood location on Melrose. In Santa Monica, shopping is on and around Third Street, Ocean Park Boulevard, and Montana. In Venice, most of the shops are on Abbot Kinney. Manhattan Beach also has some small quiet boutiques worth checking out if you've got time and energy left at the end of the day.

As you might expect, Los Angeles nightlife is incredibly diverse and offers something for everyone, from orchestra and ballet performances to classy clubs where you might spot a celebrity or two. Keep reading to learn more about LA's nightlife and entertainment.