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8 Great Places to Shop in Los Angeles
Shop till you drop in these unique Los Angeles malls and shopping areas.
Rodeo Drive isn't your only shopping option.(Getty Images)
Most Los Angeles visitors will end up going to Rodeo Drive to window-shop the extreme luxury stores, but if you're looking to actually exercise your credit card, options for every taste and budget abound throughout the city. For one-of-a-kind, trendsetting boutiques, as well as familiar brand names, make your way to these great shopping spots.
Bar none, the most famous mall in Los Angeles is The Grove. Its location at Third Street and Fairfax Avenue positions it squarely in the center of the city, providing shoppers easy access to everything from the conventional J. Crew and Gap to the high-end Diane von Furstenberg and Michael Kors. Kids can enjoy shopping at the Apple store and Barnes & Noble, or even visiting the on-site movie theater.
With a musical fountain and a trolley running through its middle, this outdoor mall makes for a low-key, unhurried shopping experience. Plus, it's right next door to Original Farmers Market, which offers a huge variety of ethnic food from dozens of vendors.
[Read: The Best Los Angeles Tours.]
West Third Street
If you want to avoid all those big-name brands at The Grove, walk west of Fairfax Avenue toward La Cienega Boulevard. "I'm really liking West Third right now," says Jessica Berger, concierge at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. "All the local shop owners banded together to stop any big-name brands from coming in, so that means it's all boutiques and mom-and-pop shops. You get more of a local perspective."
Trend-setting clothing, local craftspeople, and fine restaurants and bars stretch for six blocks along the upscale, independent and urban West Third Street.
The fancy shopping district on the north end of Santa Monica is more easygoing and lavish than the central-city promenade. It features 150 boutiques along 10 blocks, with plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry along the way.
"I love downtown Santa Monica, but I recommend the boutiques on Montana Avenue to get a little more of the local vibe," says Ryan Fisher, concierge at the historic Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica. While you're on Montana Avenue, he says, "sit down for a burger and try the huge craft beer selection at Father's Office, one of Los Angeles' most popular gastropubs."
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Many of the clothing, jewelry and furniture boutiques along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the most chic street in Venice, are the sole outposts of specialty labels from across the globe. It's also home to several of Los Angeles' adopted artists. Expect boho-chic stores filled with funky furniture and curios.
Berger praises the great local restaurants and coffee shops along the street, too. Blue Star Donuts serves unrivaled specialty desserts, and a festival of food trucks is held the first Friday of each month. "Plus, it's not far from the beach," she says.
[Read: The Best Hollywood Tours.]
Another shopping district with lots of name recognition is Melrose Avenue, but this east-west street stretches across so much of the city, it can hardly claim one type of store. The section running through West Hollywood is the place for high-end, unique stores like Maxfield, which is full of European designers and vintage collectibles.
Jennifer McLaughlin, editor-in-chief of Los Angeles Travel Magazine, praises a different eclectic boutique. "Fred Segal is my No. 1, but there are so many great options on Melrose. When I am looking for something different, that is where I head," she says.
As you move east of Fairfax, expect a grittier shopping experience – more vintage, thrift and resale shops. "You have to do a bit of digging, but I have found amazing designer pieces for insane deals," says Jon Disatapundhu, director of guest experience at The Standard in West Hollywood.
Rose Bowl Flea Market and Market Place
Irene Chen, concierge at The Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles, takes a completely different approach when she's shopping for something unique. "The Pasadena Flea Market is great, and it's huge," she says.
That's no exaggeration. Thousands of vendors specializing in rare books, collectible toys, vintage clothes, fine china and more arrange themselves around Pasadena's massive Rose Bowl Stadium for a hard-to-resist shopping extravaganza. Open the second Sunday of every month, the market charges $9 admission for adults, and children younger than 12 are free.
From chic to unique, LA's Silver Lake neighborhood is home to a variety of crafty storefronts selling everything from discount Army surplus supplies to hand-crafted soap. Shoppers can wander through boutiques of Los Angeles-based designers like Myrtle and Matrushka Construction. Those in need of refreshment can stop for lattes at Intelligentsia Coffee or artisan ice cream from Pazzo Gelato, or enjoy locally sourced fare at Forage, Little Pine (a vegan restaurant founded by the musician Moby) and French country bistro Cafe Stella.
Sunset Junction is on Sunset Boulevard and Sanborn Avenue, and spreads east for several blocks.
[Read: The Best Things to Do in Los Angeles.]
At the intersection of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood on Beverly Boulevard stands the recently redesigned eight-story monolith, the Beverly Center. This is the home of high-end designers like Gucci, Burberry, Prada and Versace. If it's Italian, exclusive or expensive, you'll find it at the Beverly Center. "It's got over 100 stores, so it's really a one-stop shop," Berger says.
According to Sarah Dandashy, AskAConcierge.tv host and concierge at The London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills, a bargain hunter's alternative sits across the street. "The Beverly Connection is near the Beverly Center, and it's got the bargain versions, like Ross, Marshalls, Saks Off 5th and more," she explains.
To experience more of what Los Angeles has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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