Shopping in Los Angeles
In a metropolis that so many celebrities and power players call home, it’s not a huge surprise that Los Angeles has one of the best shopping scenes in the world. Occupied with luxury cars and lavish lifestyles, the City of Angels has the best to offer anyone seeking therapy in the form of a great purchase. Los Angeles is revered for its world-famous shopping areas, such as Rodeo Drive and Third Street Promenade, but the size and diversity of the city means there are stores almost everywhere you go. Planning where to spend your limited time is crucial to having the best possible experience and not miss out on anything. If you don’t feel like you’ve left LA with some of the best purchases of your life, you probably didn’t try the right spots.
A great place to start is one of the established shopping centers, which offer an organized method to the madness. Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is a must for anyone who has never been and offers the most luxurious experience to its shoppers. The top names in high fashion line both sides of the pristine street where Lamborghinis and Maseratis casually drive through on a regular basis. The shops are limited to the highest caliber, which include Chanel, Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford, Celine, Dior and many more. You can shop at Tiffany’s or Versace on Two Rodeo Drive, which is a cobblestone walkway at the end of Rodeo with a European aesthetic. There are plenty of restaurants that match the quality level of the shops as well, all within walking distance. Il Fornaio is an excellent, but relaxed restaurant right off of Beverly that is always open and has a nice café vibe. If you’re looking for something a bit more exclusive, you might try booking Urasawa, which is an intimate Japanese restaurant that takes limited reservations per night and is hid-den right off of Rodeo.
Another top tourist destination that shouldn’t be missed is Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, where you’ll find a higher variety of retailers and more street entertainment. The road is blocked off to traffic, which makes it pleasant to walk around. There are tons of restaurant options when you need a break from all of the shops, which span three blocks from Wilshire Boulevard to Broadway. Some top shopping destinations on this street include Allsaints, Burberry, Fred Segal, Madewell and Nordstrom. The street has a great ambiance and is decorated with over-the-top, life-size topiaries in the shape of various animals, making it a great spot to take the family. It’s also within walking distance from the Santa Monica Pier.
Westfield Century City is a popular outdoor mall, which is three levels and has almost every retailer you can imagine. From luxury retailers like Louis Vuitton and Armani Exchange to more practical options like Free People and Zara, you’ll find a little bit of everything here. Shop- ping outside in the consistently beautiful weather will make you wonder why anyone would want to shop indoors with less-than-fresh air and fluorescent lighting. The food options at this mall are surprisingly great, housing the must-try restaurant Breadbar that will restore your faith in eating at the mall again.
Other shopping complexes include The Grove, Hollywood & Highland, The Americana at Brand, The Beverly Center, Santa Monica Place and Westside Pavilion. Westside Pavilion is frequently used as a location when filming various shows and is the mall used in the famous ‘90s movie Clueless. All of these malls have a fairly similar lineup of stores including Nordstrom, J. Crew, BCBG Max Azria and Anthropologie.
The main perk of shopping in the third largest city in the world is the diversity of options you have outside of malls, which can sometimes feel like you’re just shopping back at home. Los Angeles has many streets that are lined with independent shops and boutiques filled with character. For a more unique shopping experience, you might try some of Los Angeles’ shopping neighborhoods listed below which have come about somewhat organically and give you a more authentic taste of the city’s shopping landscape.
Robertson Boulevard is one of the most elite shopping areas in LA, and is well known for being frequented by celebrities and paparazzi on a regular basis. Some of the best boutiques are Intermix, Zimmermann, Madison and Les Pommettes, which neighbor luxury retail giants like Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Nanette Lepore. After you’ve emptied a few accounts, you can relax and have lunch at the world-famous restaurant The Ivy, which serves contemporary American cuisine and has a small cottage-like ambiance despite the regular celebrity visits.
La Brea Boulevard (between Beverly and West Third) is the perfect place to shop if you’re looking for something completely unique. The street is filled with eclectic and high-end shops that will keep people asking, “Where did you find that?” Some notable shops include What Goes Around Comes Around (a luxury vintage store that has an evolving collection of Chanel and Hermes pieces any woman would drool over) and the contemporary/streetwear centered shop American Rag Cie. Parking is typically easy to find in this area and if you like sushi, then Sugarfish by celebrity sushi chef Sushi Nozawa is the place to go.
Melrose Avenue is another shopping area that is a must-see for those with a high shopping endurance! There are tons of shops up and down Melrose that vary from Kitson and Urban Outfitters to high-end options like Herve Leger, Vivienne Westwood, Marni and Alexander McQueen. The boutique scene is definitely in full swing on Melrose with some highly respected names such as Tenoversix, Creatures of Comfort and Resurrection calling the popular street home. If you get tired of shopping for your closet, Melrose also offers a great variety of stores for the home such as Adam Hunter, Mogul and Dedon. Blu Jam Cafe is a popular place to sit down and take a rest with gourmet global cuisine and a double espresso to get you through to the next destination.
Abbott Kinney Boulevard is heaven for shoppers with a fashion forward, but unique style. Among contemporary designers such as IRO and Rag + Bone, you’ll find just about every other quirky genre of shopping that you can imagine in some of the most respected boutiques in LA. Guild is a high-end shop with a distinctive mix of designer pieces and an impressive collection of vintage Rolex’s. Satine is another boutique with luxury pieces that you likely won’t find in any Barney’s or Saks. They specialize in up-and-coming designers like Ksubi, but still have a few classic favorites, such as Valentino, in stock and the environment is very relaxed, just like the rest of Venice Beach.
An underrated shopping area that’s on the rise is Downtown Los Angeles. The main shopping attraction used to be the Fashion District, but other high-end retailers have moved in like Acne Studios, which has been praised for revitalizing the run-down area. Brigade is a great boutique to check out on Seventh Street, which carries a great variety of contemporary brands that are high-end, but wearable. Austere is another must-visit when in downtown, which is a lifestyle store featuring Scandinavian products that are artfully arranged and correspond with how the product would naturally be used... a bit like a luxury Ikea. Of course, if you’re in downtown, you also have to stop at Bottega Louie, a restaurant/pastry shop that will make you want to move in next door.
Shopping in LA is exciting because things are constantly in a state of change. Downtown is expected to flourish in the near future as a thriving community to live, shop and dine in, evidenced already by certain successful businesses in the area. Rodeo Drive is also constantly shifting around with designers improving their stores and making extreme changes. Louis Vuitton just recently unveiled a three-story store they’ve been renovating over the past year, and features a made-to-order service for women’s and men’s leather goods—which is more of a reason than I need to justify a shopping trip to LA. With the weather picking up and Fashion Week passing by, it’s time to take shopping to the next level and explore your options for a stylish spring.