An exclusive guide to sophisticated shopping in Los Angeles
Save plenty of room in your luggage as you find your desired designer pieces, vintage treasures and more on this California dream vacation. | By Alesandra Dubin | December 3, 2021
There’s no doubt: LA is a top place to shop. Experienced fashionistas go shopping in Los Angeles to find the region’s famous sprawl of outlets, from top designers to unique boutiques for one-of-a-kind finds and everything in between. We’ll help you discover coveted treasures and experiences that will serve as lasting memories of your trip, including:
Exclusive access: Sip Champagne on the secret terraces of luxury fashion houses in Beverly Hills
Vintage couture finds: Unveil vintage fashion finds on Melrose Avenue
Famous flair: Wander the “Coolest Block in America” in Venice Beach or promenade through the open-air shops of Santa Monica
Is there a more famous luxury shopping district in the world? Beverly Hills is best known for its grande dame of shopping streets, Rodeo Drive. You’ll find boutiques from Louis Vuitton, Hermès and all the usual luxe suspects. Have your personal concierge (at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills) arrange your private shopping trip to take advantage of the hidden entrances, free-flowing Champagne, open-air terraces, and private salons and lounges, only available to their VIP guests.
The outdoor shopping plaza Two Rodeo is another Instagram-worthy backdrop for browsing, raised above the bustling avenues below. Nearby Beverly Drive and Brighton Way — a top stop for men’s fashion, with names like Isaia and Eleventy — also offer a range of contemporary shops and VIP experiences, all amid manicured streets and lively dining outlets.
The glittering Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills makes for ideal accommodations after a day of Chanel-ing around 90210. Book The Private Retreat package to elevate your stay in true Beverly Hills fashion, which includes (among other luxuries) complimentary access to The Private Suite at Westfield Century City, an outdoor LA shopping mall. The shopping doesn’t have to stop once you’re on-property. Plan for a visit to the House of Bijan: the exclusive menswear brand’s second location is housed within Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills.
Expansive rooms and suites at this coveted property feature floor-to-ceiling windows and top-end technology. Plus, three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the force behind the food here. His signature restaurant offers 360-degree city views from the open-air terrace.
After dinner, rest those tired shopping legs in the heated rooftop pool, or even indulge in a treatment at the sumptuous spa by La Prairie. If you need anything, your personal concierge is just a text away, 24 hours a day.
Downtown Los Angeles
The two-decades-long renaissance of downtown LA has transformed the once business-focused district into one of the most exuberant places in LA to shop, sip and see shows. In such enclaves as the Arts District and the Historic Core around Spring Street, score one-of-a-kind pieces from unique galleries and shops with distinct points of view, like DRKRM, Esentialle or The Last Bookstore.
The city-block-long Bloc connects the financial, fashion, jewelry and theater districts. And you’ll find tons of shops as well as dining and entertainment at the open-air FIGat7th. Throughout the area are pockets to nab special pieces from communities that make up the city’s melting pot, too. Custom hats from Gladys Tamez Millinery? Yes, please.
You’ll make your visit to downtown LA perfect in 2022 with a stay at the new Conrad Los Angeles. The hotel will be part of the Frank Gehry-designed The Grand LA development. Set to open in March 2022, the 28-story hotel will include 305 modern guest rooms with an elevated indoor-outdoor lobby.
From this posh pied-à-terre, you’ll have sweeping views of the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, plus a huge rooftop terrace complete with a private pool deck overlooking downtown. Restaurants, lounges and alfresco spaces here embrace the city’s outdoor culture, and the whole property will come LEED-certified, catering to cyclists, pedestrians and those prioritizing a stay with minimal environmental impact.
Melrose Avenue begins at Santa Monica Boulevard, where the cities of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood meet. This legendary avenue is famous for its independent spirit, and its over 300 shops reflect that vibe. You’ll spot luxurious boutiques from the likes of Vivienne Westwood to the whimsical housewares and accessories of Jonathan Adler, plus high-end vintage shops like Decades and Wasteland.
Nearby streets like West 3rd and Beverly Boulevard offer numerous options for shoppers exploring on foot. Mall lovers will enjoy a spin through the nearby Beverly Center and the open-air shopping center The Grove, known for its famous central fountain and kid-friendly trolley rides (plus a good chance of a celeb sighting).
Shopped 'till you dropped? Explore the museums in the nearby Miracle Mile district, or take a load off at one of the many world-class restaurants within walking distance.
Venice Beach and Santa Monica
The coastal stretch from Venice to Santa Monica has its must-stop shops. Venice remains true to its reputation as a funky, individualistic destination, offering unique apparel and homeware stores in keeping with its famous flair. Abbot Kinney Blvd is widely known as the “Coolest Block in America,” and shops like Burro, Sofia Kaman and Sweaty Betty make it so.
Further north is Santa Monica’s popular alfresco shopping street, the 3rd Street Promenade. You’ll also find the recently overhauled Santa Monica Place shopping mall, an open-air destination featuring Nordstrom, Louis Vuitton and many more. Both spots are just steps from the beach, the five-star dining on Montana Avenue, and the Santa Monica Pier’s dazzling Ferris wheel. If you have the family in tow, Santa Monica makes for an all-in-one destination.
Tucked into a residential enclave on the Palisades Bluffs, the intimate, 70-room Oceana Santa Monica, LXR Hotels & Resorts makes a dreamy destination for your shopping-focused trip to town. Imagine the coveted property as your own, with its ivy-covered facade and living room-like lobby.
The beachy vibe pervades the design, done in soothing color palettes, with sparkling gold metal accents, bold geometric patterns and wooden finishes. Lush foliage and ocean views abound here, and the veranda is the perfect place to take them in amid outdoor dining or sunbathing. After a day of shopping, collapse onto an oversized daybed around the pool with olive trees dotting your view.
No matter your style, Los Angeles is the perfect destination for a shopping vacation. From funky finds by the beach to heirloom handbags on Rodeo Drive, you’ll find scores that will always remind you of cherished travel memories.
Alesandra Dubin is a news and lifestyle editor and writer based in Los Angeles. A veteran digital journalist, she’s covered travel, food, events, fashion and beauty, entertainment, home, parenting and viral content for more than 15 years. An avid traveler, she trots the globe with her husband and 5-year-old twins.