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The neighborhoods below are listed from west to east (and within each area, from north to south):
Malibu: A great place to shop and have lunch. Go north/west on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) to Cross Creek and turn right, there are small (but great) shopping malls on either side.
There are great boutiques (about 15 blocks worth) along Montana Avenue
in Santa Monica, There’s also the famous Third Street Promenade in Santa
Monica where you’ll find chain stores like The Gap and Urban
Adjacent to the Promenade is the newly-remodeled Santa Monica Place Mall. Anchored by upscale Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, the mall offers dozens of stores plus rooftop dining options (in all price ranges) with views of the ocean. And there’s a nearby Fred Segal on 5th and Broadway, where you'll see a celeb or two.
Venice: More boutiques can be found on Main Street and on Abbot Kinney Blvd (more artsy) both in Venice, about 1/2 day’s worth of shopping.
Brentwood: A little bit east of Montana Avenue shopping is Brentwood Gardens which has Ron Herman, Madison, and Theodore, and next door is the best resale store, P.J. London. Stop at the Country Mart on 26th at San Vicente Blvd for more great shops.
Century City: The Westfield Ventury City Mall has some of the best upscale and mid-range shopping on the westside of Los Angeles. Anchored by Bloomingdales and Macy’s, Westfield offers over 100 shops ranging from traditional stores like Brooks Brothers to leading edge fashions by BCBG, True Religion and many others. There’s an Apple store there and more inexpensive vendors like Gap and H&M.
Beverly Hills: There’s famous Rodeo Drive (for window shopping), but there’s also the lesser-known shopping streets like “little” Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Drive, Canon Drive, Roxbury Drive and Camden Drive. Along Wilshire Blvd, you’ll find Barney’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nike and high-end designer stores like St. John. Shopping in Beverly Hills is a full day, if not more.
West Hollywood: Robertson Boulevard (between Melrose Av & Burton Way) is home to stores like Kitson, Madison, and Lisa Kline, all favorites of celebutants. In the northern portion of West Hollywood, along the Sunset Strip, you’ll find the mini-neighborhood of ‘Sunset Plaza’ (2 blocks west of the intersection of Sunset Bl & La Cienega Bl). Stroll through the boutique shops and the H&M store and lunch at one of the cafes there (be on the lookout for celebs there, too).
The La Brea Av and Melrose Av shopping districts:
There are three adjacent shopping areas, here:
a. Along Melrose Av, running east from Robertson Bl (see above) to Fairfax Av. This area features upscale boutiques -- some are well-known, others are newcomers.
b. Along Melrose Av, running east from Fairfax Av to La Brea Av. Here, you’ll find more mid-range, small, funky boutiques and resale shops.
c. Running south on La Brea from the corner of Melrose Av & La Brea Av. Some boutiques but also some larger furniture and home accessory shops. You’ll find everything from American antiques to the latest European styles.
Beverly Grove/”Central Los Angeles”: This neighborhood is anchored by the Beverly Center (an immense upscale indoor shopping mall) on the west side of the neighborhood and the Grove (a medium-sized, mid-range outdoor mall) on the east side of the neighborhood. In addition, there are numerous “mini outlet” shops adjacent to the Beverly Center in the Beverly Connection Mall across the street from the Beverly Center as well as a large Loehmann’s (outlet) store to the south of the Beverly Center.
In between these anchors are 2 parallel streets: Beverly Bl and 3rd St. Both have great restaurants and interesting boutique shops along Beverly Bl and 3rd Street between La Cienega Blvd and Fairfax Ave.
The Center of Hollywood is at the intersection of Hollywood Bl where you’ll find the mall of the same name (Hollywood & Highland Center Mall). This is an ‘okay’ mall but you can do better. A little south of Hollywood Bl and a few minutes east is Amoeba Records on Sunset Bl, the best music store in L.A
If you're in the market for shoes, there is a shoe outlet called Off Broadway Shoes -- an entire city block long -- on the edge of central Hollywood. The address is: 6920 W. Sunset Bl. Here is the outlet's website: http://www.offbroadwayshoes.com/
Downtown: Santee Alley for designer knock-offs
You could spend a whole day in the Fashion District (the area adjacent to Santee Alley) for inexpensive, trendy, shopping. Friday is sample sale day, all the designers open their showrooms to the public and sell current samples, for close to nothing. There’s the Jewelry Mart, the California Mart and the Flower Mart. Check la.com for exact addresses.