On both of my trips to Los Angeles I knew that I was going to spend some money. Not only was the euro stronger than the dollar on both occasions, I also visited twice during summer sales.
Although my days of large shopping sprees are over, I'll make an exception for shopping in Los Angeles. Not only because things are cheaper there than they are in Belgium, but also because there are so many stores there that we don't have. In this post, I've listed the places I went to shop while I was in LA.
The Beverly Center
I’ve been a Macy’s fan ever since my parents took my brother and me to New York a couple of years ago. When I saw the huge Macy sign on the outside of the Beverly Center, I just had to go. Now I must admit that the Macy’s in New York was a lot bigger and had more stuff for young people than the one in the Beverly Center, but I still managed to find four pairs of shoes (that’s right, four pairs), a jacket and a shirt.
The Beverly Center was also the place where I finally found some sneakers. It’s weird. The shopping thing I remember most about my other two trips to the States (the one to New York and another one with my parents from San Francisco to San Diego) is that the choice in sneakers was so much bigger. Now, there still was a lot of choice everywhere… for the guys. For women, they almost always had just one or two pairs of street sneakers and all the rest would be real sporting gear. My feet aren’t big enough to try on men’s shoes, but I did find a pair in the boys section :-).
The result of my shoe shopping (I bought the red Keds in Sportie LA at Melrose Ave):
When we went to Beverly Hills we knew beforehand that we’d limit ourselves to window shopping. Yes, we knew we’d go shopping crazy in Los Angeles, but we did have a shopping spree budget in mind and that didn't allow for any Beverly Hills spending.
Instead we just had fun walking along Rodeo Drive and the adjacent streets, trying to guess who of the people we passed by ‘belonged there’ and who didn't – tourists like us, for example.
Aaah, Melrose Avenue. A dangerous place… as it was just a two-minute walk from our hostel! Melrose Avenue is great if you want to get away from the big chain stores. Yes, there’s an American Apparel, but the rest are mostly boutiques and vintage stores. I shopped the part east of N. Fairfax Avenue on both of my trips to Los Angeles and always got back with some cool new finds. I didn't come across any really expensive stores here, but they’re not all budget either. You also can’t always tell by the look of a store whether it’ll be budget or more mid-range.
Melrose Trading Post
Matt, our personal Laguna guide, had told us that there was a flea market right across the street from our hostel on N. Fairfax Avenue. He was talking about the Melrose Trading Post, also known as the Fairfax Flea Market.
The Melrose Trading Post is held each Sunday on the (rather large) car park of the Fairfax High School. You pay $3 to get in, but that money goes to the Fairfax High School and you get a lollipop and a lot of cool market stands in return, so I’d say it’s a good deal.
The stands at the Melrose Trading post are pretty divers. There are people selling furniture, remade clothes, music records, books, jewelry, art… Of course some stands are more interesting than others and the quality of what’s on offer varies as well, but I haven’t seen any real junk at the Melrose Trading Post. No old toys that have been lying in a garden for years, for example.
There’s also a nice food court at the flea market, so if you come on a Sunday morning you could grab lunch here.
While you’re eating or strolling around be sure not to only look at the stands, as the people visiting the flea market are just as interesting, rocking a lot of different clothing styles.
My friend Sylvie bought some dresses and jewelry there; I bought a bracelet.
Which reminds me: it’s best to wear something you can easily put something else over or under, as not all vendors have some kind of private changing cabin at your disposal.
If it’s warm and sunny outside you might also want to bring a hat, as there’s not a lot of shade on the grounds.
And whatever you’re looking for, don’t forget to bargain!
Address: 544 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, CA, 90036
Parking: you can park for free along N. Fairfax Avenue. It’s metered parking, but free on Sundays.
Opening times: 9 am – 5 pm
3rd Street Promenade
I love 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. You’ll mostly find chain stores there, but I didn’t mind as we don’t have a lot of those stores in Belgium and they were right up my style-alley. 3rd Street Promenade is also great because it’s so close to the beach. You can go shopping in the morning, then take a break on the beach and go shopping again when temperatures cool down.
The Grove in Los Angeles is a small outdoor shopping center where you’ll also find some restaurants and a movie theater. There’s not that much to shop at The Grove, but it’s a nice place to visit in the evening when all the lights are on. My recommendation? First have dinner at Farmers Market, located right next to The Grove, and then go for a late night shopping stroll. Stores at The Grove are open until 11 pm.
Of course these are just a few of many places where you can get your shop on in Los Angeles. It’s where I’ve been and shopped, but maybe you can add some other places to empty your wallet at?
Where to stay in Los Angeles
If you're looking for an apartment rather than a hotel, I recommend checking airbnb. Sign up through my link and get a discount on your first stay!
How to get to LA
I flew from Brussels to Los Angeles via New York and rented a car while I was in the city.
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