Places to Go: Shopping in Los Angeles

The city of Los Angeles welcomes you to …… SHOP!  Ha!

To be honest I don’t love shopping.  Some people LOVE shopping – me?  yeah, nah not so much.  I can shop for my kids & other people but I find shopping for myself annoying & frustrating because I can never decide on anything, having to stop & try things on is time consuming  & if I didn’t have to go to work my wardrobe would consist of jeans & t.shirts  so I’m not one who shops to keep up with the latest fashion.  If I manage to pull off a somewhat fashionable ensemble it’ll be because I’m wearing clothes that my sisters or friends have given me #truestory.  Shouts to my sisters Talia & Leilani for my current ASOS wardrobe lol!

That being said I have had a few friends who have gone up to Los Angeles or are going to LA for a holiday and they’ve bombarded me with emails  about where to shop as well as shopping tips and right on cue Air New Zealand Holidays  have gone and released fabulous  Black Friday packages  to Los Angeles for all you wonderful shoppers looking for an amazing deal or 2.  So I feel like it’s a sign that I need to share my Los Angeles shopping tips with ya’ll!

For those of you who are not familiar with Black Friday  it is  is one of the major shopping days of the year in the USA and is always the Friday after Thanksgiving.  More info on Black Friday Sales here.

Black Friday Shoppers

This year it will fall on Friday 23 November and while it is not recognised as an official US holiday, many employees take the day off (except those working in retail) to line up outside some of their favourite retail stores to get in on the numerous doorbuster deals on offer.  Many retailers open up at midnight to hordes of people waiting anxiously outside the windows , so if you’re up to the madness that is Black Friday shopping – check out my shopping tips below & then check out the Air NZ website for some fantastic packages staying in Santa Monica or Hollywood.

Looking for bargains?  My personal favourite store is Ross Dress for Less *Biggie voice* Baby Baby! lol!

Kim Kardashian would probably be trying not to spew in her mouth at the mention of this store but hey!  it has bargains galore and for a single mama with 2 kids on a very limited budget I pretty much do my kids clothes & shoe shopping for the year at this store whenever I’m in the US.  When I’m checking in at my hotel I’m usually asking the concierge where the nearest Ross store is lol!   There are a few in the LA area – one on Hollywood Blvd not far from the Walk of Fame & although there isn’t one in Santa Monica my girl Lauren Rogers (Santa Monica VCB Senior Manager Sales & Services) put me onto the one in Venice which is maybe a 10 minute cab ride away.  There is also one in Fairfax not too far from ‘The Grove’ as well.

If you’re staying in the downtown LA area, Fashion District is also great for bargains and is the hub of the apparel industry in LA.  Santee Alley would probably be the main centre of this area (Fashion District spans 100 blocks with both wholesale & retail stores)  My friend Sene was volunteering up at the Dream Centre in LA one time I was in LA and she took me down there with a couple of friends to do some last minute shopping. It was a great shopping & cultural experience and kind of reminded me of a funky version of the Otara & Otahuhu shops except all the store keepers were Mexicans or Hispanics.  The last time I was there was a while back but apparantly it’s really exploded in terms of the number of stores there now.   My friend Ashleigh Elliot was in LA recently (Unlike me, Ash DOES like to shop lol) and told me she got all of her heels in Santee Alley so there you go.

Santee Alley 

And if you do get down to Fashion District I’d pop over to the LA Jewelry district too!  Wholesale prices with savings from 50 – 70 percent!    I remember wandering down one of the streets in Jewelry district and literally buzzing out at all the stores just selling jewelry.  I went into a couple to see how much their J-Lo looking gold hoops were and they gave me a price but WEIGHED the gold first which determined the price!  Holy!  Had never seen that done before!

If you’re staying in or around Hollywood then the Hollywood/Highland Centre is right there and is also connected to the Kodak Theatre which has shopping, dining & entertainment galore.  I was there for work earlier this year and the industry put on a huge party for all of the attendees inside the Kodak Theatre entrance and they had lots of different food stands and a lot of the shops on the Hollywood/Highland side open for us to check out.  I’d definitely recommend checking it out even if it’s just to see the Walk of Fame situated right outside the Kodak Theatre.

Connor Cruise

Tom & Nicole Cruises son Connor Cruise was the DJ  – thought I’d casually throw that in there with a pic I casually took of him because we’re boys haha NOT!  (I didn’t actually know who he was until AFTER I’d taken the pics Ssssshhhh!!)  Hollywood is also great if you’re looking for the $5 souvenir LA, Hollywood, Santa Monica (you name a city in LA and they’ll have it) tees.  One of the stores that my sister Leilani and I spent a bit of time in when we were checking out Hollywood/Highland was DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse).  Awesome selection of designer shoes & handbags/accessories at wholesale prices.

If you’re after Outlet shopping then Citadel Outlets would be the closest – its only 10 minutes away from downtown LA & I see it from the freeway every time I’m going to or from the airport so am pretty sure its enroute to the airport as well.

Santa Monica would probably be the place I’m most familiar with in terms of shopping as I’ve stayed down there a couple of times and wandered round a bit (window shopping) with my friend Gordy who appeared to be in Shoppers Heaven.  I left him to the shopping and went and sat in the sun & treated myself to a Pink Berry frozen yoghurt as recommended to me by my sisters besties Che & Shirlina.  Shot guys!  Sooooo good!

3rd Street Promenade

3rd Street Promenade is pretty much the heart of downtown Santa Monica and has all of the major national retailers such as The Gap, J Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s, Old Navy, Urban Outfitters, Armani Exchange, French Connection, Victorias Secret, Diesel, Benetton and waaaay more.  As well as the fashion stores there are plenty of crafts, jewelry, home furnishings, antiques, stationary, gift & souvenir stores .  For all you Apple geeks there is a sleek & dazzling Apple Store  where you can get hands on with the latest devices and take part in training and how-to sessions.  I did manage to purchase a few things in Santa Monica …. I found Timberland boots there for a bargain.  In NZ they’re at least NZ $330 but I managed to score 2 pairs of Timbs for US $140 – YUSS!!  ‘White T.shirts & Timberland boots – thats how I like it baby’ (Beyonce).

There is also Santa Monica Place which is 3 levels of open air shopping, dining & entertainment adjacent to 3rd Street Promenade & 2 blocks from the beach.

Other shopping areas in Santa Monica you can check out are the Santa Monica Pier & Ocean Ave area, Main Street (The Santa Monica Walk-in Visitor info Centre is located on Main Street so feel free to walk in & Lauren and her staff will help with any shopping queries as well as local shopping tips I’m sure), Pico Blvd & Montana Ave.

Main Street, Santa Monica.

Watch out for topless guys jogging too – FOCUS!!  You’re there to shop remember!

So seeing as I’m not the keenest of shoppers & don’t know too much about fashion I thought I’d enlist the help of my sister Leilani of Lani Says who blogs about fashion regularly and was also the official blogger for BooHoo.co.nz for #NZFW (check out their Facebook roundup here) so knows a bit more about fashion & shopping than me with my jeans & tees lol  She’s also been to LA with me a couple of times and has stayed there more recently with her fiance (award winning NZ rapper David Dallas) yeah, just thought I’d throw that in there too lol!

So here’s how our convo went:

Me:  Lanz have you done much shopping in LA?  Got any fave places to shop there?

Leilani:  My faves would be just around Fairfax & the Beverly Centre but yeah, Fairfax is like the trendy place.

Me:  Ahhh yup Ive been to the Beverly Centre – very cool!

Leilani:  Oh and theres that cool big like, out door mall close to fairfax called ‘The Grove’  The Ggrove has shops like Zara and is like an affordable chain store but quite classy.  I’d say like Country Road or Witchery but way cheaper & just as good quality.  Then there’s Fairfax Road which has got like Supreme, Huf, Diamond, all the real good Skate shops & like Fight Club and there’s a bunch of good vintage shops in that area too.

The Grove

Me:  Oh true yeah, my mate Ashleigh went up with her hubby for the World hip hop champs in Vegas & stopped in LA on the way back & she said all the girls she was with all wanted to go Fairfax to op shop.

Leilani:  yeah, its real good vintage.  There’s also a famous spot on Third called Joan’s  -Joan’s on Third and on the same street but on the opposite side is Magnolia bakerywhich is quite famous too i think.  But yeah, all those places are like all walking distance from each other.  As is ‘The Grove’ and Beverly Centre is like 5 mins down the road.  It’s seriously the best place to stay if you’ve done all the hollywood ish its like, the ‘real’ LA – if you’re rich and hipster lol!  We saw that red head chick from ‘How I met your mother’ at Joans and theres always like random actors hanging round there. But yeah, there’s still affordable ish – you’ll find affordable stuff at the malls. Even wanky places like Supreme is cheapish compared to what we pay here.

Beverly Center

Me:  Cool yeah, I think thats why the Eagle Rider guys took their party out to Fairfax cos it’s the ‘cool’ part of LA lol

Leilani:  haha yeah it is though! You know that Odd Future group?  They just hang out in Fairfax

Me: OK so do you have any fave stores in LA? a fave purchase you made in LA? fave shoe store?

Leilani:  nah lol I’ve never really been much of a big shopper it just stresses me out. I only shop if I need something or shop online lol I hate shopping overseas. I would rather eat and visit different cafes haha

Me:  hahaha shot you must be Samoan lol! ok so any fave cafes?

Leilani:  Kings Road Cafe thats real good – I blogged about that here and yeah that Joans place is dope

Cool!  Thanks Lanz!

This post is more aimed at people going to LA and staying in the downtown LA, Hollywood or Santa Monica areas so hope this helps – there’s also places like Rodeo Drive & Melrose Ave for all you high rollers – sorry about it!  I’ve only window shopped there but you’ve got all your high end labels like Fendi, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Jimmy Choo, Juicy Couture and you know – just the norms for people living in Beverly Hills or Ballers wives lol!

I had also asked Hip Hop blogger & owner/editor of The Smoking Section - John Gotty for his recommendations for Trendy places to shop in Los Angeles and being a major sneaker head he put me on to these great stores:

The Hundreds – 7909 Rosewood Ave.  About 4 blocks up from ‘The Grove’ and a couple of blocks up from the CBS TV studio in Fairfax.  It’s a streetwear type store with sneakers, snapbacks, tees & clothing.

RIFLA – 334-A East 2nd Street (In-between Central and San Pedro in Little Tokyo), downtown LA – not far from the Otani Hotel.  SNEAKERS – Jordans, Airforce 1, SB, Dunks, Air Max, Nike & other sneaker brands.  Gotty said it’s a consignment (not used, all new) shop with a large selection which is rare and great stock which most places don’t have.

Primitive Shoes – This store is located in Encino so you’d need a rental to get up there but it has a great Streetwear selection in stock.  One other selling point is that it’s owned by pro skater Paul Rodriguez.

Kitson LA - For the ladies – check out the website for the different locations so you can get decked out in the latest Celebrity style & designer clothing.  Have your camera ready in case you happen to spot a celeb in-store.  If you need to get in some last minute shoppping there’s also a store at LAX international airport.

Hall of Fame – Hats, tees, sweaters, tanktops and beanies.  Located 449 N. Fairfax Ave.

He also gave me a link to a Sneaker Forum which gives a list of all the best sneaker stores in LA which I will now pass on to you here

Lastly,  for all you cool people with ipones & ipads there’s also a Shop LA app that you can get discounts, coupons & deals with!  Veddddy nice!

Make sure you check out these awesome Air NZ Holidays Black Friday packages which went on sale last Friday!  Sales end this Friday 21 September 12.

So don’t wait!  Get in there!  Swimwear!! $1999 for return flights to LA, return airport transfers 4 nights accommodation in 3.5 – 5 star accommodation in Hollywood & Santa Monica and a 24 hour Hop-on/Hop-off Pass with Starline Tours is bargains in itself yo!

The Starline Hop-on/Hop-off 24 hour pass is actually a really easy way to get around LA and there are stops in all of the areas that I’ve mentioned above!

** Important note:  I would like to point out that this is a personal blog site and is my own personal opinion.  They do not represent the ideas or opinions of Air New Zealand or Air New Zealand Holidays **

All the best with your shopping!  Go Hard!

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