As for shopping....Melrose is great. I don't think the Beverly Center is all that impressive. It's an older mall...kind of dated. You may want to look into the outdoor walking malls such as "The Grove" on Fairfax & 3rd street (great eating there too thanks to the Farmer's Market) or check out "The Americana" in Glendale if you don't mind taking a short drive out of LA. If you don't mind taking the subway from Hollywood to the Gold Line terminal in Chinatown you can then continue on the train to Old Town Pasadena for some more good shopping, eating, and nightlife (best visited on a weekend in the evening).
I first tasted these amazing choccies when I received one as a gift. Okay, I actually got a little box of 4 choccies, and my toes curled in happiness. This was the absolutely BEST chocolate I've ever tasted! So when I got to LA, I made immediate plans to visit the Santa Monica Farmer's market where they were purchased. I'm so glad I did!
Guanni's is a booth at the market which specializes in hand made Organic Peruvian chocolates. The flavor is so rich that even I can't eat one whole piece in a single sitting :) These little treasures not only taste like a bit of orgasmic heaven, they are pretty to look at too. With gold dust, orange salt, gold leaf, silver dust and others, this stuff is simply amazing to view.
In addition to these obvious treats, they also sell organic maca and organic roasted cacao. I decided upon both of these after talking with folks in line about what their favorites were. The maca is a powder, and adds a malty flavor and sweetness to cereals and drinks. The roasted cacao is pure chocolate without the additives that make up the dark chocolate that I crave. I purchased the nibs which are broken up pieces of roasted cacao, and therefore easier for me to munch upon. Since getting home with my treasures, I have had them in various dishes, drinks, and in the case of the nibs - straight up.
I am already worried about running out! How's that for a ringing endorsement? BUT, I just discovered their website! I hope this means my stock will never run dry :)
What to pay: 12-50$ US for a box of choccies (depending on size), less than 15$ for maca or cacao.
The Farmers Market is not at all a market in the sense that you might expect - that is, I always think of rows and rows of stalls selling inexpensive and/or artisan type items when I think of a market. The Farmers Market is more of a food court where there are lots and lots of chip-van type structures selling hot and cold food which you can eat walking along or at tables in front of the sales units. The tables are outdoors in the main but most are covered by awnings to shelter from the weather. The day that I visited it was very hot and to be honest I didn't like the combination of heat and smells. I refused to eat there and went elsewhere.
There are also a number of very inexpensive shops, though again I didn't buy.
I believe that there are a couple of shops where the very best of fresh fruit and vegetable produce in LA is to be found. Unfortunately I didn't see them.
In addition to food there's quite a bit to be seen here which would be of interest to history buffs. I have posted a pic of the clock tower at Farmers Market and in time I will post pics of some other interesting landmarks/monuments/historical items.
What to buy: Food here really - there are 36 restaurants on a very casual theme selling everything from Japanese to Brazilian to French!
What to pay: It's very inexpensive here - but I didn't buy so can't give exact prices.
Farmer's Markets have become a popular occurence in Los Angeles. Santa Monica started the movement, and now every town and neighborhood has a day set aside for "Farmer's Market".
One of the oldest is the Hollywood Farmer's Market, which runs every Sunday from early morning until, approximately, 2:PM. Four city blocks are shut down in the heart of Hollywood proper: Ivar between Sunset and Hollywood, and Selma between Vine and Cahuenga. If you're planning a day in Hollywood, consider a Sunday. That way you can pop over and see the locals puttering about.
What to buy: There are two bread stands, and one does an outrageous "Rosemary Loaf". I can't remember the name, but it's NOT Bezian. Does that make sense?
Lately, a flea market has been popping up adjacent to the Farmer's Market, so you'll have plenty to see and do. Food stands provide breakfast to many shoppers and live bands have been known to pop up. There's even a pet adoption agency camped out at one end.
What to pay: By nature, most of the produce is organic, so prices might be a slight bit higher than some supermarkets, however, the quality is far superiour - and, if you arrive near the end of the market, farmers are selling off their fruit and vegetables at fire sale prices just to save on trucking it back.
The farmer's market is not actually a farmer's market. It's a mix of outdoor shops and restaurants with pleasant atmosphere. You will find all the brand name chain stores here plus a few unique shops. Restaurants vary from tea/coffee stands to fast food to nice, sit-down meals.
I am one of the rare girls who hate shopping. If I must go to a mall for the expressed purpose of girly "shopping", I perfer to spend my time here browsing a few shops and getting a descent (but not spectacular) meal afterwards.
Adjacent parking structure.
What to buy: Everything you can buy at a mall
This doesn't compare to other farmer's market such as Pike Place Market in Seattle or Granville in Vancouver, but it is charming. Many food stands, produce stands and local crafts.Farmers Market was created in 1934 when 18 farmers parked their trucks on vacant land at Gilmore Ranch to sell fresh produce to “locals” who flocked to the location. Farmers Market is home to 70 shops. About 3 million people visit the market annually. There is a newer section right next door to the Farmers Market called ,The Grove. It's an outdoor mall that includes the stand by's Nordstrom, Barnes & Nobles, Crate and Barrel and a movie cineplex. While here we saw the paparazzi following Victoria Beckham(Posh Spice) as she was shopping.
Some interesting notes about Farmers Market:
*James Dean is believed to have eaten breakfast at Farmers Market on the day of his fatal car crash (9/30/55).
*On an average day, Market visitors purchase more than 1,000 gallons of coffee.
*Walt Disney sat a Market patio tables when he was preparing designs for Disneyland, and elements of the Market are incorporated into those original designs.
Just a simple normal shopping area. There are many people come to get something for reasonable price.
What to buy: I spend quite long time to be here to enjoy buying local thing and suvenir for friends.
What to pay: Different price from cheap to a little more expensive only.
Farmers Market Has a huge variety of shops to choose from. We were there on a public holiday so it was pretty busy but i've been told that apart from weekends it isn't usually so packed. The central Mall has many unique shops and theatres and restaurants to choose from. We especially liked the Pottery Barn Store as we dont have them here in Australia. It has gorgeous Kids stuff from clothes to Bedroom accessories, linens ect.. The Hot Dog stand ( I cant remember the name of it but its very easy to find - at the end of the outside mall right in the middle of the grassed area, had awesome hot dogs with ver unique titles and great fries!
The Farmers' Market is not just about food. There are more or less 20 shops there to browse around in.