Downtown, Los Angeles
Dismiss notions that Los Angeles doesn't read and doesn't like to buy books! Los Angeles is home to a good number of quality and popular book stores, many of which are independent. If you are a bookworm and seeking the best and largest book shop to spend hours and hours, head downtown to The Last bookstore, off 5th and Spring.
The Last Bookstore is not just a book shop but an experience. Sure, it can be a pain to find parking around here but trust me, it's worth it. Mostly a book store with used books in very good condition, TLB also has a vinyl shop, coffee shop and sells a limited number of compact discs as well. Vinyl sell/trade from the buyer is on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Arguably, the biggest draw here may not be the reading and listening merchandise but the store building itself. From the outside, it's pretty much solid concrete, but stepping within, eyes marvel over the architectural eye candy. The 2-story space was built in an old bank building from early 20th century. The ceiling are super high and sophisticated. Sections of the store have local artists' touch treatment with crafted art and relics featured throughout. Standout features include a time machine vault room and labyrinth.
There is great variety of book selections. Sci-fi fans would especially be happy here but every genres is pretty plentiful. Used and new books are fairly priced, nothing too outrageous. For bargain hunters like me, go upstairs to the labyrinth-like mezzanine has an excellent $1 book selection. Many good titles are available, not just cheesy pedestrian junk with weathered pages. Make sure to bring your book bag so that you can handle all the literary goodies.
Several book and music related events occur through the year, including readings, lectures and DJ spinning. Check website for current events schedule.
What to pay: from $1
Downtown's Macy's Plaza, at 7th and Flower Street is a central mall... well, it's not truly a "mall" but a place where one may incidentally getting a Macy's item, a bottled water, grab a bite, buy a lotto ticket and yes, mail a letter.
Macy's Plaza is well behind the times when it comes to modern malls. For one, it is a solely indoor mall and interior mall planning is about out of vogue like bell-bottomed pants. Critics hate the old fashioned quality of the place but I find it quaint, embrace it and make it a point to shop here. Modernity will transform this place before long, however There is a 160+ million plan to transform the plaza to "The Bloc". Looking at working plans, The Bloc shall be a outdoor shopping center that would very likely give close by 7th and Fig center (featuring upscale dining and a deluxeTarget store) a run for the money. See website for details.
Besides Macy's department store, the plaza currently consists majorly on local draws like LA Fitness gym, the traveler's favorite Sheraton Hotel and a post office. In addition, there are about a dozen of small shops including a Hallmark store, Mr. G Toys and Accessories, Victoria's Secret, Express, Lady Foot Locker. If you don't like crowds, come here for alternative shopping.
Details not completely confirmed but there is slated to be a Trader Joe's grocery store at the up and coming The Bloc.
when in the Staples Center and if you are a fan of various Los Angeles Sports Teams like the LA Lakers, LA CLippers, LA Galaxy, LA Angels, LA Sparks and LA Kings, then this huge store in front of the Main Ticket office of the Staples Center is the thing to shop for the various LA Sporting Memorabilia and souvenir items like jersey's, baseball caps, shirts, shorts, rubber shoes, fridge magnets and a lot more.
opens: 9:30 am to 5:30 pm everyday
What to buy: Jerseys costs $ 26.95, Baseball caps at $ 16.95, shirts at $ 22.95 and a lot more.
What to pay: not a dent on your wallet
Nothing fancy here at all, just grand convenience stores when traveling downtown. It took a while but downtown L.A. finally has mainstream drug stores for its people.
Rite Aid Locations:
501 S. Broadway- very close to Pershing Square/Metro Red & Purple.
One I frequent often. There's a greeter at the door to say hello to you right away (first eyes of heavy security for location prone to a lot of theft). It's notorious too for long lines and can be some sketchy people (no surprise- it's a typical downtown metro area- but not too dangerous of any area to avoid.) Convenient 7-11 right adjacent to it. A little frustrating to shop 'cause many essentials items are behind locked case (Seriously, even Burt Bee's Wipes and AA batteries).
446 E. Washington. Like above but more south, near Santee Alley area.
1744 W. 6th St- Koreatown area. Not as sketchy as above.
617 W 7th St. Located in a better stretch of downtown, short walking distance to the 7th St Metro Station. Efficient service , clean and usually can find what I want quickly.
Note: If you are in need of getting cash, Go to either RA or Wal or cash back after purchase. Limits vary but can get up to $35 dollars back.
What to buy: various items like personal care necessities, medicine, food/snacks, maps, emergency items like band-aids, aspirin and an umbrella when it rains!!
What to pay: a few dollars or more
While I like macarons, I'm not a true aficionado. At $2 per macaron, I bought myself a small sampling of the flavors I thought looked interesting and then a gift box of 13 for a friend who loves them. A couple of the flavors I chose were just OK but the salted caramel ones were delicious! Still $2 per macaron? But when I challenged my husband to make them, macarons are definitely an art, his 1st batch came out the size of oranges and the 2nd batch looked just like little meringues, maybe it's best to leave the baking to the professionals.
What to buy: Macarons of course!
What to pay: $2 per macaron, no discount for gift boxes
Japanese food is easily found these days. When I was a little girl, we make a once a week trip to downtown LA to Little Tokyo to do our grocery shopping. These days there are a lot more Japanese markets in Southern California.
Marukai and Nijiya Markets are the more prevalent markets in SoCal. The photos here are from the Nijiya Market in Little Tokyo.
Shopper Shuttle is a new concept transportation service, exclusively for shoppers in Los Angeles. SS has a fleet of luxury-appointed vehicles, affordable rates, and retail-savvy guides (a.k.a., "Shopping Sherpas"), visitors and local Angelenos no longer have to worry about where to go shopping and how to get there (and back).
OK, that's the marketing material on thier website. Basically you can get a ride in a luxury vehicle from your house/hotel to the shopping mall of your choice for as little as $9. Prices start at $9 and don't run much more than that -unless you choose to go to the Camarillo outlet mall. You are guaranteed a ride back, another $9, or however much you are paying, depending on how far you are going.
The Shopping Sherpas are also very shopping savvy and can help you decide where you need to go depending on what you are shopping for. They specialize in the downtown fashion district and know where to find what and for how much. It is a unique service
I totally recommend them!! I'll have to put this listing in transportation as well.
What to pay: $9 and up each way
I am not sure why the "OC" poster dissed Downtown LA. (actually I DO know why... OC is NOT LA... if you want culture, don't go down there unless you drive all the way to San Juan Capistrano or Laguna).
Downtown LA is a treasure trove of weirdness. Now I won't contradict and say you won't find junk, because you will. Knock-offs to rival China, crap that will fall apart tomorrow. But I work in entertainment and my job is to buy things that look good on set. And let me tell you... between the Flower mart, the fabric stores and the odd amazing find (most notably the sample sale items) it's a neat place to walk through. And the cheapie food on the corner... tasty tasty (but not for a weak stomach!)
What to buy: Bare essentials, socks, underwear, cheap-o jeans that you might want to decorate yourself, backpacks, t-shirts, flowers, fabric if you're a crafty (hell... any sort of notion for crafties.. buttons, etc) Jewelry in the Jewelry area. *that's real jewelry, btw... got a pair of fabulous white gold hoops for $10 after I walked out of one store.. turns out they owned three on the block and by the time I got to the third one, the $50 earrings were $10... haven't tarnished and that was 8 years ago that I bought them)
What to pay: bring $20. If you see anything costing more than that (other than at the Fashion School's sample sale stuff) it's not worth it or a simple walk away will give you less.
Shopping in LA doesn't always involve expenisive clothing from Rodeo Drive. Just take a trip to Downtown LA and you will discover a great and cheap place to shop.
The Garment district of LA sells tons of clothing for both men and women at cheap, cheap prices. Granted, it isn't the best quality but when you are paying $5 for a shirt to go out to the bar in, you really can't complain. They also sell cheap maternity clothing and mens wear.
This area is a great area to wander around in. The further north you go the more "districts" you will discover. There is a lso an area for fabrics, jewelry, crafts (beads, wedding favors etc), and flowers. All are withing a 30 minute walk.
What to buy: Cheap clothing for men and women. Also sell discounted maternity clothing.
The downtown area of Los Angeles has a lot to offer people looking for deals. The Fabric district of Los Angeles is a small area of about 5 square blocks selling fabric for apolstery, quilting and clothing at discounted prices. The more you buy the better deal you get.
This area is great to wander around in. I think it gives a perosn a better idea of the people that live in LA. It's not all celebrities and rich people. The further out you wander the more "district" you will discover. There are also areas just selling clothing, flowers, jewelry and crafts all within walking distance.
What to buy: Fabircs for apolstery, clothing, quilting and window treatment at discounted prices.
Downtown Los Angeles could easily be racked under "Off the Beaten Track". The butt of many jokes, Downtown has had more than it's share of hard times since the focus of the city moved North and West. However, the last five years brought in "Adaptive Reuse" permits - modern condos in historic buildings - and every service related to the burgeoning, hipoiserie moving Downtown has followed. Make an afternoon trip to the Center City and walk Broadway(the busiest street West of Chicago). There are hundreds of discount shops and street stalls; most focused on the gigantic Mexican community - a wee bit of Tijuana in LA. There are incredible bargains and an exciting, albeit, rowdy street scene. Do some shopping, grab a churro(or a beer at Cole's on Sixth St.) and get out by dusk. This is the "real" Los Angeles.
What to buy: Tons of shoe stores and bargain clothing shops. The Jewelry district is right around the corner, and Western Wear is surprisingly cheap in the Mexican-owned "Ranchero" shops.
What to pay: Most clothing is under ten. Better items average $20.
This shop has a wide variety of items, from designer furniture to cheap kids' toys. Everything is well-designed and a little offbeat. This is one of my favorite places for gift shopping, and I always take out-of-town guests to visit.
What to buy: They have a great selection of art books.
If you appreciate good design you will like everything in the store.
They have some apparel, housewares, children's items (including the most creative toys and books!), posters, knicknacks, even some travel supplies (got a very good suede passport case there).
What to pay: It completely varies on what you get. Items range from $1 - $1000.
If your looking for cute and trendy clothes at fantastic prices than "Yessi" in the downtown Fashion District is the place for you...
Located at 1104 1/2 Santee right off of Maple & Santee Street in downtown Los Angeles, it is in the heart of the fashion district.
The best time to go is during the late morning or early afternoon...it's gets way too crowded after 3:00pm especially if your going on a weekend (not recommended)
What to buy: My favorite things there are the cute tops. They have everything from casual to dressy. They also have an wide array of hats and accessories too.
What to pay: Pants/Jeans about 25-60 bucks. Tops from 9-25 bucks.
You can find all things Japanese in Little Tokyo. Chopsticks, origami paper, bento boxes, kimonos, fans, etc. Fun!
This is another shopping center in downtown. Theres a Robinson May, Anne Taylor, Viella, an aray of eateries, as well as a gym, coffee houses, and novelty shops.