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Top 10 shopping locations in Los Angeles
From vintage chic to haute couture, LA’s stylish retail hubs are guaranteed to delight brand-lovers and savvy bargain-hunters. We discover the top 10 places to shop in the star-studded city of Los Angeles.
Why: This charming tree-lined Santa Monica retail neighbourhood located 21km from the heart of Downtown LA is spread over ten blocks between 17th and 7th Streets. Bordering Santa Monica and Brentwood, this stretch is one of the Westside’s most chichi shopping hubs and home to 150 sumptuous one-off shops and boutiques selling apparel, jewellery, make-up, footwear, home furnishings, gifts and more.
What can I buy: The speciality shops outnumber the chain stores in this all-encompassing enclave and there are many unique shops to make the trek here worthwhile. Highlights include the aesthetically-gorgeous Shabby Chic for home decor (1013 Montana Ave), the dazzling Moondance Jewellery Gala (1530 Montana Ave) and Every Picture Tells A Story (1311 Montana Ave) - a super cool gallery-cum-store that sells a huge range of kids’ books. For vintage glamour pieces and Oscar-worthy cocktail dresses, don’t miss Aura Boutique on 1528 Montana Avenue.
Why: The Holy Grail of shopping is located on the west side of the Los Angeles metropolitan area between Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards. This world-famous street spans three city blocks and provides couture-crazed fashion darlings with over 100 upscale apparel stores and luxurious one-off boutiques. For those on a budget, window shopping is the safest option.
What can I buy: Drain your wallet at Prada, Armani, Lanvin, Gucci, Christian Dior, Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Valentino. The best of the rest includes Juicy Couture, Versace, Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Roberto Cavalli. Located at 420 North Rodeo Drive, Bijan dresses the likes of President Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, Vladimir Putin and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Celebrated as ‘the most expensive shop in the world’, this ‘strictly by appointment only’ store has graced ‘The Drive’ since 1976; customers spend an average of $100,000 on a typical visit.
Why: Located at 8500 Beverly Boulevard, this sprawling eighty-storey LA landmark is found between La Cienega and San Vicente Boulevards on the cusp of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. Frugal shoppers can mingle with 90210’s elite whilst maxxing out their credit cards on luxury brands and mid-priced wardrobe staples.
What can I buy: There are around 160 speciality boutiques to drool over; sift through the racks at high-end gems such as Gucci, D&G, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Jimmy Choo and Burberry and stock up on sports car paraphernalia at The Ferrari Store. The two anchor department stores - Bloomingdale's and Macy’s - are definite crowd-pleasers whilst fast-fashion retailers H&M, Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 are more affordable choices. Men’s urban streetwear brand Tradition launched here a few months ago and legendary American label Halston Heritage will be debuting one of its first freestanding stores at the centre later this year.
Why: Located just ten minutes south of Downtown LA, this huge shopping complex resembles an Assyrian palace with its fairy-tale turrets and landscaped courtyard flanked by palm trees. Located off Interstate 5 at Atlantic Boulevard North, there are around 115 outlet stores to tempt shoppers with a passion for cheap-but-chic clobber. Expect savings of up to 70 per cent on many items.
What can I buy: For the less designer-driven, purse-friendly faves include mainstays such as Adidas, Levi's, Sony and Nike. Shop at Gap, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein and rummage the rails for cut-price high-fashion at American Apparel, DKNY and Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. Most appealing are Michael Kors, Fossil, COACH for must-have bags and accessories, and Converse, Crocs, Nine West and Sketchers for footwear. Refuel at Ruby’s Diner, a lively 1940s-style diner open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Original Farmers Market
Why: Located on the northeast corner of East Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, this LA institution has been enthralling gourmands since it opened in 1934. Expect a knockout assortment of food stands from local traders and around 100 stalls and shops selling fresh-from-the-farm delights, wholesome food products, delectable sweet treats, crafts and beauty supplies.
What can I buy: This fascinating market packs a punch with LA locals, workers from the adjacent CBS Television City complex and food fanatics. Dining options are diverse; from sandwiches, sushi, oysters and doughnuts to fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and fine meat cuts. There are also plenty of eclectic stores selling weird and wonderful memorabilia, clothing and quirky home furnishings. Literary lovers should head to Taschen, a high-end bookseller stocking a huge selection of titles on films, pop culture, art, fashion, photography and architecture. Opening times are Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 8pm and Sunday 10am to 7pm.
LA Fashion District
Why: LA’s Downtown Fashion District spans 100 blocks and boasts over 1,000 stores. Famed for its wholesale showroom buildings, most apparel, accessories, shoes and textiles is sold for up to 70 per cent off standard retail prices. Many retailers only accept cash and haggling is both expected and entertained. Thrifty types who don’t mind fake designer labels (and knock-off goods) should head to Santee Alley; this vibrant ‘back alley’ on Olympic Boulevard is a cut-price paradise with a bazaar-type vibe.
What can I buy: Bargain-buyer bliss starts at the European Corridor on Pico Boulevard, home to chic stores selling discounted evening dresses. Whilst some showrooms are strictly ‘wholesale only’, others open their doors to walk-in customers. Head to the Menswear District on Los Angeles Street between 7th and 9th for discounted suits and ties and take time to visit the historic Los Angeles Flower Market - a charming indoor space selling fresh flowers, potted plants and floral supplies. If you happen to be here on the last Friday of the month, head to The California Market Centre, Cooper Design Space, Gerry Building and The New Mart between 9am and 3pm; this is when the showrooms sell their end-of-season samples to the public at unbelievably low prices.
Westfield Century City
Why: Opened in the Seventies, this open-air single-level mall located at 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard was acquired by the Westfield Group in 2002. It has since enjoyed a multi-million pound renovation to include nearly 200 stores and a flagship state-of-the-art 15-screen multiplex cinema with stadium seating. Parking is free for the first three hours in the underground car park which has high-tech bays that change colour when a spot becomes available.
What can I buy: High-end labels Swarovski Crystal, J.Crew, Kate Spade and True Religion are mixed with more affordable national chains such as Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Thomas Pink and Hollister. Head to Abercrombie Kids and Gap for childrenswear and buy straight-off-the-runway style at Karen Millen and Zara. Standout stores include CUSP, the new boutique by Neiman Marcus featuring of-the-moment apparel, shoes, handbags and accessories, and Alex & Louis – a one-off store selling fashionable men’s dress shirts, ties and belts.
Why: Located next to the Farmers Market in LA’s Fairfax this 575,000-square-foot Disney-esque open-air complex is packed with pedestrian boulevards lined with Art Deco-inspired facades. Highlights include a 14-screen cinema and a cute vintage tram that ferries lazy shoppers along the walkway between shops. There are 50 retailers based here selling fashion, beauty products, books and more.
What can I buy: Mixed in with usual high-street suspects such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Nike, Zara and Anthropologie are US favourites Pottery Barn Kids, Barnes and Noble, Barneys New York CO-OP and Kiehl's. Must-see stores include the cutesy American Girl Place , famous gourmet cupcake bakery Sprinkles and fashion-savvy department store Nordstrom which houses concessions by Jimmy Choo and Stella McCartney. Topshop opened its first West Coast flagship at the Grove on Valentine's Day, filling a huge 25,000-square-foot retail space with must-have fashion.
Why: The hip factor is high on this eclectic shopping strip located between Fairfax and La Brea Avenue. Melrose is a shopping spectacle and a must for glamorous high-end fashion, eccentric vintage, grunge clothing and designer homeware. North of Melrose Avenue's intersection with La Cienega is Melrose Place, made famous by the Nineties TV show.
What can I buy: Drop by at Marc Jacobs, the neighbourhood’s beacon of chic at 8400 Melrose Place and head to Fred Segal (8100 Melrose Ave) for quirky and ultra-hip deluxe gear. Also explore Decades (8214 1/2 Melrose Ave) – a renowned vintage and designer consignment shop filled with party dresses, show-stopping gowns and couture castoffs. Stock up on gifts and shoes from lesser-known designers at pastel-painted boutique TenOverSix and spot celebrities at DASH boutique, a 2,000-square-foot space at 8420 Melrose Avenue owned by the Kardashian sisters. For more cutting-edge fashion and Seventies-style garments, visit Wasteland on 7248 Melrose Avenue.
Why: A Mecca for shopping-obsessed Hollywood stars and the hounding paparazzi, Robertson Boulevard is almost as exclusive as Rodeo Drive - but with a funkier and edgier vibe. This fashion-forward street boasts an inspiring selection of on-trend clothing stores, jewellery boutiques and iconic celebrity-laden eateries including The Ivy and Newsroom Cafe.
What can I buy: Watch the pages of celebrity magazines come to life as you (possibly) share changing-room space with a Hollywood star at Lisa Kline, Diavolina, Intermix, All Saints and 7 for All Mankind. Robertson’s grand dame is undoubtedly Kitson at 115 S. Robertson Blvd - the store is nearly as famous as its A-list customers for its skinny jeans, oversized sunglasses, accessories and shoes. Kitson Men (146 N Robertson Blvd) offers a great selection of tees and sweatshirts whilst Kitson Kids (116 N. Robertson Blvd) is essential for A-list offspring - Victoria Beckham, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears are all fans.