One of the biggest draws for tourists to Los Angeles is undoubtedly the shopping. Anything and everything can be bought here. In fact, the malls are practically attractions themselves. No expense is spared and attention is paid to every detail in order to give the customer a truly satisfying experience. And because of the nearly year-round perfect weather, many shopping centers are outdoors allowing customers to soak up the sun while they spend their dollars. Here’s a list of the Top 5 places to shop in the L.A. area based on atmosphere, quality of stores, and location.
5. Hollywood & Highland Center – Although locals rarely venture there, the Hollywood & Highland Center is a perfect first stop for visitors to Los Angeles. Besides over 75 retail stores and restaurants, it boasts a nightclub, upscale bowling, and the Kodak Theater where the Academy Awards are held annually. The mall evokes “Old Hollywood” with its whimsical Babylonian elephants (inspired by D.W. Griffith’s classic film Intolerance) perched atop pillars in the central courtyard. Plus, from the upper level terrace you’re rewarded with amazing views of the hills and iconic Hollywood Sign in the distance. As a convenient bonus for tourists, the Walk of Fame is right out front and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, with its handprint-adorned forecourt, is just next-door.
4. Beverly Center – This monolithic 8-story indoor mall right in the heart of Los Angeles is the embodiment of the L.A. shopping experience. Anchored by Bloomingdales and Macy’s, Beverly Center offers over 150 mostly high-end shops, set above 5 levels of parking. Its convenient location where the cities of L.A., Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood converge makes it very popular for people from all walks of life. Plus, you can’t beat the view from the escalators on the glass-walled sides of the building.
3. The Grove – Reminiscent of Old Europe with its pastel-colored buildings and copper roofs, yet featuring art deco-style architecture and details, The Grove was very controversial when it opened eight years ago. Now however, it’s a tremendous draw for tourists and locals alike. A double-decker trolley trundles down the length of the shopping center, taking visitors past a small park where outdoor concerts are frequently held. It connects The Grove with the original Farmer’s Market next door, which many will argue is the better half of the shopping area. The highlight of the mall is likely the fountain with its choreographed water and music show every half-hour, like a much smaller version of the one at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
2. Third Street Promenade & Santa Monica Place – The Third Street Promenade has been a shopping haven for years because of its ideal location on a bluff
just a couple blocks away from the Pacific Ocean. Its trademark dinosaur-topiary water fountains and colorful street performers always enchant tourists. Now, with the recent re-opening of the adjacent Santa Monica Place, visitors have even more options for shopping while enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather. At Santa Monica Place, they literally took the roof off the outdated indoor mall, revitalizing it with luxury stores encircling an open-air plaza. The top level offers sensational views of the ocean and famed Santa Monica Pier where you can dine al fresco at one of the diverse new restaurants.
1. Rodeo Drive – Arguably the world’s most famous shopping street, Rodeo Drive and the surrounding blocks form the “Golden Triangle,” the premiere
shopping district of not just Beverly Hills, but all of Los Angeles. Although priced out of reach for most people, the boutiques lining Rodeo Drive are a great place to window shop for everything from designer labels to haute couture straight off the runways of Paris or Milan. Strolling down the palm-tree lined streets as limousines drive past (with the chance of a celebrity sighting) epitomizes the Southern California lifestyle.
So what do you think? Do you have a favorite that didn’t make the list? Please write your opinion in the “Comments” section below!