Part of the fun of shopping in LA is that you get to be outside in the sun walking down a palm tree lined avenue, preferably near the beach and at minimum at an outdoor mall. You also get access to some of the best vintage shopping around and discover artisans from all over who make unique art, furniture and accessories for your home.
It’s hard to pick where to start in a city so spread out, plus you have the added pressure of trying to see all the beaches. The best way to decide where to shop is to figure out exactly what kind of experience you are looking for.
If you want to splurge or window shop in some of the most exclusive boutiques, like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, then you need to head to Rodeo Drive. It’s worth checking out just to see the Chanel, Lanvin, Jimmy Choo and Burberry displays.
There are also some famous LA hotspots like Mr. Chow in the area for a fancy lunch or dinner. I like Cheesecake Factory for the quintessential American experience myself. Wolfgang Puck’s Spago is also close by. The man knows how to make a good pizza.
You can also check out Barney’s, Neiman’s or Saks in Beverly Hills. Have a drink at the Polo Lounge if you want to feel extra fabulous.
Many guides will urge you to skip this area and go right to the upscale and trendy Melrose…
If you want well curated designer boutiques in a less intimidating area, head to Melrose avenue in West Hollywood.
This street is very long so if you want to shop vintage, that’s one thing, but if you want new designer threads, make sure you verify the address and plan your time. Paul Smith, Maxfield, Fred Segal (check out the celeb filled Mauro Café inside), Vince, and Acne can all be found on Melrose Avenue.
If sustainability and style are what you seek, then head to Reformation.
Be sure to check out Kelly Wearstler’s boutique. Any of her coffee table books would make an excellent gift. Her celebrity clientele and portfolio of hotel designs make her a home décor guru.
Jessica Biel’s child centric Au Fudge is one to check out as well.
For vintage shopping, head to the more retro artsy part of Melrose avenue to Wasteland. You can tell it’s good as soon as you walk in. The music is pumping, in the good way. There are a lot of people shopping, and the space is huge. The first thing I saw when I walked in were Gucci t-shirts. Designer logos are having a moment so I loved that they were front and center. I found amazing leather jackets, tons of dresses and they have the ‘IT bag’ of the summer made out of bamboo. After my friend and I tried on the whole store, we closed the shop, paid for our items and left exhausted and ready to head back to the hotel. We tried some other vintage shops, but this was the highlight of the vintage section of Melrose Avenue for us. Shop their Instagram here.
Crossroads Trading Co. is also famous for amazing designer finds and their on-line shopping experience.
If you are in LA on a Sunday and want to go to a Flea Market you have a lot of options. The Rose Bowl Flea isn’t open every Sunday so check their site to be sure it’s on. Melrose Trading Post is on every Sunday. It is worth the 3$ entrance fee. You will find everything from furniture, to jewelry, to art. This flea market is worth booking a few hours of your time. The Farmer’s Market on 3rd also gets good word of mouth.
For the one stop shop for all your shopping needs (from Sephora, Crate and Barrel, to Barney's) be sure to check out this beautiful iconic open-air shopping center. You will likely spot a celeb or two.
Jennifer Anniston, Miranda Kerr, Dakota Johnson, Rosie Huntington-Whitley, Elizabeth Olsen and Lana Del Ray have all been photographed shopping here. (Please don’t make the mistake of confusing Melrose Avenue with Melrose Place.)
The Apartment by The Line and Veronica Beard can both be found on Melrose Place, one block north of Melrose Avenue.
Isabel Marant, Violet Grey, The Row (Mary Kate & Ashley’s brand that also sells vintage jewelry), Elizabeth and James, Marni, Chloe and Equipment are also part of the brands found here that made In Style magazine call this corner of LA “retail gold”.
If you are in Melrose Place for lunch, try Croft Alley or get a coffee at the infamous Alfred’s.
If you want to treat yourself to a Light Therapy Treatment or Laser Genesis adored by celebs, make an appointment at Kate Sommerville.
You will also find the brand Zimmerman for…
Hot Australian Boho Dresses & Bathing Suits
If you are looking for the feminine and bohemian looks that everyone from Beyoncé, Kaia Gerber, Kate Middleton, and Selena Gomez rock; be sure to prioritise Zimmermann. I suggest you go there first because you will likely spend all of your money here, so you want to start with a full wallet.
Two-piece crop tops & skirt sets, playsuits, statement shoes, and flouncy dresses are the name of the game for this Australian designer who started selling her dresses at the flea markets in Sydney. Once Vogue caught wind of her designs, the secret was out when the magazine featured her in a two-page editorial. This brand is also famous for changing the bathing suit.
If what you are looking for is cool vibes, hip boutiques and artisanal discoveries, head to Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach. You can very easily spend a full day shopping, eating and playing on the beach.
For a special event, I would go here to buy an outfit. LCD stands for Lust, covet and desire. Brands like Creatures of Comfort (worn by celebs like Kendall Jenner) are available here. This boutique is so hipster hot that your phone will likely explode just reading about it.
FYI: A Creatures of Comfort boutique can be found in on West Sunset in West Hollywood.
The Piece Collective
An all white and whicker interior lit by radiant sunshine make it a place you want to move in to.
Don’t even get me started on the fine jewelry and gorgeous boho beachwear! Picture glass candle holders filled with sand, hammocks, and pottery turned into jewelry for your home. From carpets, to the perfect pair of jeans, you won’t leave empty handed.
I was particularly impressed by Vancouver artist Michele Quan whose art is simple but absolutely striking. We could not stop staring.
I fell in love with a ring by Be Maad handmade in moonstone and gold. This designer has been featured in both Glamour and Elle magazine. Her jewelry designing journey started on an inspired trip to India. (You can’t go to California and not purchase something with a celestial or cosmic theme!)
My friend and I both bought a hand-painted glass vase and left the store feeling… wistful.
Not only is The Butcher’s Daughter a great way to enjoy healthy vegetarian fair, but they have a small grocery section that you have to check out for candles, oils and wines. This restaurant is gorgeous and ridiculously popular. Don’t miss it, whether you want to browse or just grab a smoothie, or both. Check out their lush Instagram here.
If you are a jewelry lover, you have to check out Gorjana. It is filled with fun bohemian jewelry in every color. From half moons to gem stones, you will definitely find that perfect trendy piece. I love that they host parties in a living room in the back of the store.
The shelves are stocked with Veuve Cliquot and lust worthy décor. This place was adorable.
One of the perks of having a store in LA is that you don’t need a roof. Grow Venice has everything from outdoor furniture, to floating flamingo pool toys and unicorn light features. Shopping here was free of the confines of a building and was more like shopping in an open-air flea market.
This is the perfect place to buy a gift or treat yourself to clothing by Spiritual Gangster.
For the guys, there are several cool shops on Abbot Kinney that they’ll enjoy. This is a great area to enjoy with your girl friends or with your significant other.
On Main street in Santa Monica, we found an awesome vintage shop. At first glance The Closet Trading Co. doesn’t look promising but the more we looked, the more we found. I fell back in love with second-hand shopping in this store. I like that it allows you to be more creative and to express your individuality with unique pieces, as opposed to trendy pieces you’ll see on everyone else. It’s also better for the planet. I found an amazing Wild Fox sweatshirt, which is one of my favorite brands and cool art deco inspired jewelry. My friend found practically new Gucci sandals. This “Luxury Resale” company has 4 locations. They work with local artists who make them great jewelry. I bought 3 necklaces for around 20$ US each. I also found a few cute vintage t-shirts that make going to yoga class early in the morning more fun.
On their site, they have a very clear list of brands they do buy versus brands they don’t, so you know they will have the good stuff. Shop their IG here.
Also on Main street is Lost & Found. Gwyneth Paltrow loves their selection of children’s t-shirt and feathered headbands, as well as shopping for women’s fashion and home decor.
She, and every blogger I read, also recommends Opening Ceremony and RTH Shop on La Cienega boulevard, also in West Hollywood.
If you are more into being where there is a lot of action, head to the 3rd Street promenade in Santa Monica by the beach. It’s only a few blocks long but it’s packed with shops and popular restaurants. It can get busy, so be aware that this is not a quiet space. You’ll find jeweler Alexis Bittar, the popular Magnolia Bakery, and Drybar which is always a great experience for a transformative blow dry.
Celebs like Jessica Alba, Jennifer Garner, Reece Witherspoon, Ellen Pompeo, and Taylor Swift have all been spotted at Brentwood Shopping Mart.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s first goop shop is also a draw to this glamorous open-air mall that looks like a barn.
Shop at Madison for Ulla Johnson. They also have a 3rd street location and a boutique in (the OMG so beautiful) Malibu Beach.
If you can get out to Laguna Beach, it’s well worth the 45-minute drive. Gorgeous beaches, fun boutiques and a laid-back atmosphere make it well worth your time. People come from all over to sit on the beach and watch the sunset. That includes celebs. You could explore this area for a few days so don’t hesitate to book an air bnb.
Be sure to explore the 1000-step beach that will take your breath away.
Nearby is the Fashion Island mall at Newport Beach which is the stuff of shopping dreams. The Anthropologie here is massive and stunning, particularly during the holidays.
Can I go back to LA now?