Los Angeles is known as the City of Angels, and it really is heaven for shopping. The scene is incredibly varied: up-and-coming local designers, the highest of high-end boutiques, and plenty of flea markets combine to cement the city’s relaxed yet stylish reputation. Thanks to the notorious L.A. sprawl, far-flung neighborhoods offer different duds for different tastes. Residents generally split the city in two—by Eastside (the Hollywood side) and Westside (the beach side)—but many enclaves between are peppered with shops you won't want to miss.
The sun-and-sand beach culture and Hollywood stars provide big influences on the shopping scene. Stylists are always on the lookout for the newest trends and looks for the pretty young things they dress, and emerging designers take inspiration from what's being worn on the street.
Paparazzi are right there to capture the looks of the stylish starlets the second they're worn, whether they're parading on a red carpet or seen emerging from a hot spot. Together the style makers set the cutting-edge pace—what you see here on the racks will be big back home but maybe not for another six months.
"Sunny and 70" is the weather forecast for a good part of the year, and the climate means that most shopping centers are open-air, to allow you to park your car and walk from shop to shop. This foot traffic also means that good eateries open near good shops, and you can always find somewhere delicious to dine and covertly star-watch.
Those new to Los Angeles usually start at Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, not far from Hollywood. This tourist hot spot is a destination for window-shopping along the cluster of blocks and can provide a few hours of entertainment—or, if you're looking for a designer logo bag or red-carpet wear, get ready to do some serious spending.
Then you can hop in your car and absorb the city’s artsier side, exploring eclectic boutiques and scouring for deals in the numerous neighborhoods: finding down-and-dirty bargains in Downtown, hitting funky West Hollywood, kicking back with the laid-back beach vibe of Santa Monica and Venice, or going edgy in Silver Lake, Echo Park, or Los Feliz. Let the games begin.