DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Downtown Los Angeles has long been known as a shopper’s paradise, particularly when it comes to deals on clothing, accessories, jewelry and flowers. There are endless streets, alleys and hidden gems to explore from the Fashion District to Chinatown. Likewise, innovative new boutiques have opened, and designers are thriving on the boundless creative energy found in this shopping mecca. And with so many new residents to cater to, the Financial District will soon see a new Target store open in the 7+Fig shopping complex.


This creative loft district is home to an eclectic collection of businesses. Most can be found along Traction Avenue, which is the hub of this unique neighborhood, but you’ll also discover unique shops in unlikely places.

Freaks Vintage Clothing

Great vintage clothing and accessories.

826 E. Third St., (213) 628-1234.

Loft Appeal East & Reel Appeal

This popular Downtown furniture store has branched out to the Arts District with a second location featuring contemporary home furnishings. Next door is the spectacular warehouse dubbed Reel Appeal, where the entire contents of a Burbank studio are up for sale — from cool movie props to furniture and antiques.

521 S. Hewitt St., (213) 625-1725 or


You’ll find beautifully hand-crafted Italian cotton and linen bedding at their stylish Arts District showroom. They’ll often have sample sales of up to 75% off.

912 E. Third St., (213) 965-1114 or

SCI-Arc Supply Store

This is the student store for the Southern California Institute of Architecture; the Downtown community can purchase books as well as architecture and art supplies.

811 Traction Ave., (213) 687-0854 or


Though the high-rises overhead are filled with bankers, lawyers, accountants, real estate brokers and the like, it’s not all business in this bustling district. Downtown’s two major malls can be found here, as well as a host of shops that’ll keep you busy well past the lunch hour.

Caravan Books

If you’re looking for rare and antique books and piece of L.A. history, a visit to Caravan is in order. The quaint shop has been in business since 1954, when Morris Bernstein was part of a larger “Book Row” on Sixth Street. These days, son Leonard runs Caravan, and he’s usually seated behind and old wooden desk. He still wraps your purchases in brown paper.

550 S. Grand Ave., (213) 626-9944.

505 Flower

These two towers house a modern underground shopping area that features a flower shop, fitness center, photo shop, dentist and several eateries including Weiland Brewery Underground and Rowdy Red Burger Bar.

505 S. Flower St., B Level.

Golf Exchange

This pro shop carries a wide array of clubs and golf accessories.

637 Wilshire Blvd., (213) 622-0403 or

L.A. Phil Store

After your visit to the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall, stop in to the gift shop where they sell everything from coffee table books on the architect Frank Gehry to unique jewelry and music-related T-shirts.

131 S. Grand Ave., (213) 972-3440 or

Macy’s Plaza

This longtime shopping mall features more than 30 specialty shops, eateries and services. Macy’s anchors the plaza, which also includes Bally’s Total Fitness, a postal center, and women’s apparel chains such as Express, Casual Corner and Victoria’s Secret. On the first Saturday of every month, there are free children’s activities.

750 W. Seventh St., (213) 624-2891.

MOCA Store

This is a great resource for art-related gifts. You can spend a good chunk of time here looking through books and checking out the fun toys, calendars, towels, home design items and other gizmos and gadgets. A museum membership gets you 10% off.

250 S. Grand Ave., (213) 621-1710 or

7+Fig at Ernst & Young Plaza

The open-air design takes advantage of the L.A. weather, with a weekly farmer’s market and frequent fashion shows, art exhibits, live music and holiday events. There are several big chains including Starbucks, Mrs. Field’s and more. There’s also a food court, restaurants and a host of handy services — a post office, photo shop, shoe shine, florist and even Gold’s Gym.

735 S. Figueroa St., (213) 955-7150 or


It’s an urban, gritty shopping adventure in this eye-popping district where wholesalers open up their cramped shops to the public. You’ll find just about every kind of trinket, toy and accessory imaginable here at cut-rate prices. Don’t forget to bring cash.

Dish Factory

This 35,000-square-foot space carries some 10,000 items ranging from inexpensive restaurant-style dishes to heavy duty stock pots to flatware. It’s an ideal spot to hit if you’re hosting a party and need multiples on the cheap.

310 S. Los Angeles St., (213) 687-9500 or

Toy District

Despite its name, you’ll find more than just toys within this 12-block district. There are 500 businesses selling everything under the sun — silk flowers, electronics, DVDs, fashion accessories, incense oils, craft supplies, luggage and so much more. All of it is offered at wholesale prices to the public. Most stores are open Monday - Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For a little bit of everything, a good place to start is Los Angeles Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the district.

Third on the north, Fifth on the south, Los Angeles on the west and San Pedro on the east. Visit

Mega Toys

Though there are a plethora of smaller toy stores, Mega Toys — as its name implies — is a huge space filled with cheaper versions of whatever toy is in fashion. Fashion dolls, remote controlled cars, drum sets, water gun soakers, barf balls, plastic dinosaurs, you name it.

905 E. Second St., (213) 617-1353 or


From traditional herb and gift shops to art galleries and design-forward boutiques, Chinatown offers some of the best shopping Downtown. The main plazas are a great place to start your excursion, while the packed alleys offer a bit more excitement and haggling.

Central Plaza

An iconic pagoda entryway distinguishes Chinatown’s most popular and historic plaza, which features fanciful paper lanterns hanging overhead and colorful gift shops packed with pretty umbrellas, jade keepsakes and silk pajamas. Central Plaza is bordered by North Broadway, North Hill, Bernard and College streets.

For modern and unusual gifts visit Realm, which offers shoppers sleek barware, graphic-inspired dishware, design books and silver pieces. There’s also a selection of books, cards, toys and other novelties. It’s hard to walk away without buying something.

425 Gin Ling Way, (213) 628-4663 or

Open seven days a week, concept boutique Choose Chinatown features cult Swedish streetwear label Cheap Monday, among others. You’ll find cool graphic T-shirts, hoodies, tight retro denim, sunglasses and scarves for both men and women.

441 Gin Ling Way, (213) 613-9200 or

Chung King Road

Across Hill Street, and through West Plaza, you’ll find Chung King Road. This tiny pedestrian alley is only 40 feet wide and mixes Chinese shops and mahjong clubs with about a dozen contemporary art galleries. Full of vintage charm, visitors will find original storefronts and romantic lanterns overhead. Regular concurrent gallery openings draw the artsy crowd.

Chung King Road is between Yale and Hill streets.

Dynasty Center

Just out of view of Broadway, savvy shoppers hit this huge indoor swap meet with dozens of stalls selling clothes, jewelry, toys, keepsakes and purses. There are bargains to be had, especially if you are willing to haggle a little. Just next door is the Chinatown Plaza, a collection of jewelry storefronts.

Both the Dynasty Center and Chinatown Plaza are in the

800 block of Broadway, between Alpine and College streets.

Flock Shop

A small shop with big style, this boutique offers plenty of surprises such as funky baby apparel, hand-carved earrings, silkscreened T-shirts, vintage items, candles and local artwork. If you want to take home something original, this is the place.

943 N. Broadway #103, (213) 229-9090 or


You’ll find Asian art, antiques, miniatures, opera puppets, jewelry and more at this Chinatown gift shop.

943 Chung King Road, (213) 626-5904,

Lion’s Den

The latest in underground sneakers and streetwear, hard to find brands and one-of-a-kind items. This place specializes in limited edition kicks like Alife and Gravis.

945 Sun Mun Way, (213) 596-0887 or

Welcome Hunters

This stylish boutique sells men’s and women’s clothing with a focus on up-and-coming, avant-garde designers with collections from London, Stockholm and Copenhagen. It’s pricey, but if you want cutting-edge gear you’ll find it here.

451 Gin Ling Way, (213) 687-9905 or

Wing Hop Fung

This two-story department store is the district’s largest and most popular. It features 20,000 square feet of Chinese gifts and herbs. On the bottom floor there’s an entire loose-leaf tea selection spanning aisles and display cases as far as the eye can see. Walk by this section and you’ll glimpse glass jars filled with hand-rolled jasmine pearls and the beautiful, dried pink buds of China rose tea (it’s one of the largest herbal retailers in the country). Upstairs, Wing Hop Fung has an impressive offering of spirits, from sake to an ever-growing wine collection — more than 100 types and dozens of often-scarce Japanese and Korean sake. The top level also features a multitude of gifts and home items, such as dishes, rice cookers, silk pajamas and clothing, decorations, dry goods and teapots, among other things.

727 N. Broadway, (213) 626-7200 or


Interspersed between civic buildings and government offices, shoppers will find pockets of retail that service the legions of government and City Hall workers as well as a growing residential community. Most businesses are open weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

2nd Street Cigars and Gallery

Home of the La Plata Cigar Company, this art-filled shop offers their house line as well as national brands. There is a good supply of accessories too, from torches to cutters to humidors. La Plata also hosts frequent cigar tasting events and art openings.

124 W. Second St., (213) 452-4416 or

Los Angeles Mall

Tucked between the County Hall of Administration and the County Courthouse, it’s easy to miss this somewhat dated subterranean collection of retail. Once there you’ll find about a dozen eateries, a bookstore, gift shop, shoe repair, and a handful of other services.

201 N. Spring St.

City Hall Farmers Market

Unfolding on the lawn of City Hall every Thursday, this sizeable farmers market features colorful flowers, local produce, rotisserie chicken, olives, honey, artisan bread, crafts and more. It’s an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon, especially on warm days when you can enjoy lunch on the picnic tables.

South Lawn of City Hall (at First and Main streets), 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


El Pueblo is the city’s vibrant birthplace, and the adjacent Union Station brings thousands of commuters and visitors through this tiny area daily. Within its boundaries shoppers will discover a small yet bustling marketplace of Mexican goods and restaurants.

Olvera Street

The center of El Pueblo is Olvera Street, a historic marketplace that boasts 80 shops and stalls stocked with leather goods, candles, handicrafts, souvenirs, candy, tequila, art, delicious food vendors and restaurants. Olvera Street is a must for any tourist and Angeleno. Generally open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

845 N. Alameda St., (213) 628-1274 or


Downtown’s biggest and most vibrant shopping hub, the Fashion District is a dense collection of storefronts and alleys crammed with goods at rock bottom prices. While the marts are open to the public only during sample sales, and a few wholesale-only shops are off limits to the public, the sprawling district is a veritable playground for those armed with cash, comfy walking shoes and little tenacity.

California Market Center

While this 2,000-showroom fashion hub sells to the trade, the public can get a taste of the action during the monthly sample sales from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On the last Friday of the month, you’ll spot a line of well-dressed Angelenos that often stretches around the block. Expect to find racks of discounted designer garb and accessories. Cash only.

110 E. Ninth St., (213) 630-3600 or

FIDM Museum Shop

This super chic gift shop has it all, from jewelry and books to shoe sculptures and eco-friendly handbags made from recycled pull tabs.

919 S. Grand Ave., (213) 623-5821 or

FIDM Scholarship Store

Part of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, this store helps raise money for student scholarships. There are frequently changing racks of stylish apparel, jewelry and accessories at 50% to 98% off retail. They often receive donations from major department stores, boutiques, manufacturers and wholesalers, so you’ll often score big-name finds. It’s the perfect place for gifts too, especially during the holidays.

919 S. Grand Ave., (213) 624-1200 or

Flower Mart

Two cavernous buildings across the street from each other make up the Flower Mart — the main hive of a sub-district focusing on wholesale blooms and floral supplies. The public is welcome to shop alongside designers, who come here for the most vibrant of flowers. There are bunches of fresh blooms, pre-made bouquets, potted plants and floral supplies. There is an ATM but you should come prepared with cash. The mart opens to the public at 8 a.m. Mon., Wed. and Fri. and 6 a.m. Tues., Thurs. and Sat. The entrance fee is $2 on weekdays and $1 on Saturday (closed Sunday). There’s parking on Wall and San Julian streets.

Southern California Flower Market is at 742 Maple Ave.,

(213) 627-2482. Los Angeles Flower District is at 754 Wall St., (213) 627-3696 or

Michael Levine

Though there are smaller and even cheaper fabric shops in the district, this 60,000-square-foot store has it all under one roof, including the latest designs (Amy Butler, Echino, Heather Ross), patterns and notions. The staff is super helpful and there’s even a bathroom. Across the street, you’ll find a space devoted to interior fabrics. Don’t forget to grab a bacon-wrapped hot dog from the vendor outside. Parking is validated in the lot if you spend $20 or more.

920 S. Maple Ave., (213) 622-6259 or


This is the place to go for big name and designer label women’s clothing at a discount. These are the real thing, not the knockoffs you’ll find throughout the district. There are 7,000 square feet of goodies to peruse and the stock changes frequently. The holidays bring even more bargains.

934 S. Maple Ave., (213) 623-3083.

Moskatels (Michael’s)

This huge arts and craft store is owned by Michael’s but often offers goods for lower prices. There’s a wide selection of silk flowers, baskets, ribbon, vases, party goods, scrapbooking kits, frames, decorations, art supplies — everything a crafter could need. There’s even a wedding section. Located between Seventh and Eighth streets, three blocks east of Los Angeles Street and one block west of San Pedro Street. Open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

733 S. San Julian St., (213) 689-4590.

Santee Alley

Santee Alley is considered the epicenter of Downtown bargain hunting. This open-air street market comprised of more than 200 stalls and small shops is open daily, though weekends attract the biggest throngs clamoring for cheap jeans, trendy shoes, knock-off sunglasses, toys and men’s suits. Haggling is expected, and though a number of shops now take plastic, prices often go down if you pull out cash.

Parking at the Alley can be more of an effort than even the most intense bout of bargain hunting, but don’t be discouraged. Many lots charge $5 to $7 for the day. For other transportation options, as well as restaurants, restrooms and ATMs, pick up the Fashion District map (at, at the California Market Center, or from a yellow-clad district ambassador on the street).

Olympic Boulevard to 12th Street, between Maple Avenue and Santee Street, (213) 488-1153.

Santee Street

The bazaar-like Santee Alley is packed with people and fun knockoffs, but don’t overlook the street itself. These are shops, not stalls, crammed with apparel, accessories and lots of sparkly costume jewelry that makes great gifts. Usually, there’s no wholesale license needed.

Santee Street is located just west of Santee Alley.

Roger Stuart

Upscale men’s suits and clothing at moderate prices. Suits are made in Italy and Spain. Professional service. Open daily.

729 S. Los Angeles St., (213) 627-9661 or


As the local shopping nexus for the interior design industry, this district features hundreds of furniture manufacturers that sell primarily to the trade only. Occasionally, shoppers in the know can take advantage of special sales. Bounded by the L.A. Mart on the northwest (at Broadway and Washington Boulevard), Central Avenue on the east and Florence Avenue on the south.

L.A. Mart

The L.A. Mart is a full-resource center for gifts, decorative accessories and home furnishings. The L.A. Mart is usually for the trade only — in other words a qualified buyer or designer. But look for the occasional L.A. Mart sample sales, when the public can buy goods at up to 70% off wholesale.

(800) LAMART4 or


There’s a shopping renaissance taking place in the Historic Core. The usual discounted goods along Broadway and surrounding streets are making room for cool new boutiques selling everything from designer clothing and furniture to underground streetwear and sneakers.


Many of Broadway’s historic structures are filled with discount retail shops and mini swap meet malls on the ground floor. On the ground floor of faded but gorgeous historic buildings, shops sell wedding dresses, cheap perfume, bootleg DVDs, shoes, electronics and sunglasses. The strip is a mash of people, blaring music, rumbling buses and vendors proclaiming their bargains to passing customers. It’s uniquely L.A. and definitely worth a visit.

On Broadway between

Third and Ninth streets.

Crack Gallery & Boutique

This store on the ground floor of the Hayward Hotel offers a blend of sexy, attention-getting men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. It also carries affordable pop art pieces. Open daily.

204 W. Sixth St., (213) 622-3493 or

Farmacia Million Dollar

At this botanica, visitors will find a large collection of herbs, candles and saintly statuettes for every objective — whether you want to win the lottery, get a promotion, find love or even get revenge. There are traditional drug store sundries and a professional pharmacist on hand, but the real fun is searching the aisles for unusual gifts.

301 S. Broadway, (213) 687-3688.


It’s billed as a flea market inside a store. There’s used, vintage, consignment and antique stuff such as cool furniture, 1950s artwork, Italian handbags, knickknacks and the like. It’s small but there’s plenty to see.

548 S. Spring St., (213) 622-2122 or

Grand Central Market

This is the city’s oldest and largest open-air market, and it bustles with activity from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. There are dozens of ethnic foods stalls, fresh produce stands with bargain prices, exotic spices and fresh juices. The sawdust-covered ground and vintage neon signs are a charming throwback to the old days, but there’s plenty of diversity to make it reflective of the modern city too.

317 S. Broadway, (213) 624-2378 or


Catering to the influx of urban dwellers, this new store sells modern furniture and home accessories at moderate prices. The selection includes everything from bookshelves and sofas to lighting and rugs.

758 S. Spring St., (213) 817-1053 or


You’ll find this tiny shop of Old School collectibles tucked under the SB Lofts. The fashion, music and cultural high and lowlights of the 1980s and early ’90s are up for sale — everything from vintage shades to vinyl to MC Hammer action figures. Oh, and don’t forget the neon accessories.

548 S. Spring St., (213) 693-4180 or

Ross Cutlery

This longtime Downtown store offers an extensive collection of knives including blades for chefs, sportsmen, collectors or personal protection. Counters and walls are also lined with scissors, flashlights, trimmers, razors, lighters and countless other gadgets.

310 S. Broadway, (213) 626-1897 or

(Sub)urban Home

Edgy, custom-made furnishings tailored for loft living — platform beds, stylish chairs, sectional couches, bookshelves and coffee tables. There are also a few Mid-Century pieces and ceramic skulls thrown in the mix.

101 W. Fifth St., (213) 243-5881 or


The famed Los Angeles Jewelry District is the place to go for deals on precious gems, watches, engagement rings and all manner of baubles. Shoppers benefit from impressive savings since they’re buying directly from the manufacturers at wholesale prices. There are a number of jewelry marts throughout the area, including: International Jewelry Center (550 S. Hill St.); California Jewelry Mart (607 S. Hill St.); Jewelry Theater Building (411 W. Seventh St.); and the 556 S. Broadway Building. Tip: Parking is widely available throughout the district, and can vary greatly, from $3 to $22 a day.

Visit The district’s hub is Hill Street, from Fifth to Eighth streets.

Icing on the Ring

Engagement rings, diamonds and lots of education for newbies.

607 S. Hill St., Suite 333, (888) 565-6150,

Lara’s Jewelry

A popular spot for engagement rings and fine jewelry.

550 S. Hill St., Suite 570, (213) 623-0919,

Pershing Square Farmers Market

This Wednesday market unfolds in the heart of Pershing Square with rows of colorful produce vendors, tantalizing food stalls, crafts, jewelry and other goodies from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Lunchtime is the busiest, when the workers from the surrounding towers descend.

532 S. Olive St.,

St. Vincent Jewelry Center

This is the largest and arguably the most popular complex in the Jewelry District, with more than 450 tenants selling every jewel, stone, precious metal and bead imaginable. There are prices to fit every budget. Stores open at 10 a.m. and doors close at 5 p.m.

640-650 S. Hill St., (213) 629-2124 or


First Street’s historic storefronts beckon shoppers with everything from ramen to curios to flowers. There’s also some great shopping in the multi-level plazas where you can find Japanese sweets, clothing boutiques, Hello Kitty goodies and everything in between.

American Apparel

Get your sweat-shop free cotton basics — T-shirts, leggings, short shorts and other retro-inspired garb.

363 E. Second St., (213) 617-7222 or

Anzen Hardware

Since 1946 they’ve offered finely crafted gardening tools, gadgets and knives — professional chefs even frequent the store. There are also kitchen utensils, carpentry goods, saws, household stuff and bonsai tools. They make keys too.

309 E. First St., (213) 628-7600.

Fugetsu Do

For more than a century, Fugetsu Do has made traditional Japanese sweets from ingredients such as pounded rice and bean paste. Try the chewy pillows of rainbow-colored mochi, which come in a variety of flavors like green tea, chocolate and even peanut butter. It’s the oldest family-owned business in Little Tokyo.

315 E. First St., (213) 625-8595 or

Japanese Village Plaza

Japanese Village Plaza is Little Tokyo’s most popular place to shop and stroll. You can’t miss the First Street entrance, which is guarded by a traditional fire tower. There is a lot to see and do from browsing gift shops to sampling green tea frozen yogurt. There are sweet shops, sushi bars, a market, karaoke and lots of people watching. Two-hour parking with validation on Central Avenue between First and Second streets.

335 E. Second St., (213) 617-1900.

Kimski Makes

A trendy apparel boutique featuring vintage and new items at moderate prices.

369 E. Second St., (213) 626-0340 or

Little Tokyo Galleria

This indoor Japanese shopping mall is anchored by the Little Tokyo Marketplace, a full-service grocery store specializing in Asian products and ready-made food. There are several restaurants including Sushi Go 55 and Honda Ya, and shops filled with housewares, dishes, knickknacks and more. Don’t miss the arcade and karaoke rooms.

333 S. Alameda St. (213) 617-0030.

Pop Killer

This popular boutique has it all, from fun vintage gear like sunglasses and T-shirts to newer accessories and apparel.

343 E. Second St., (213) 625-1372 or

Rafu Bussan

This sprawling gift shop carries it all, from ceramics and tea sets to origami papers and cookbooks. You won’t leave empty-handed.

326 E. Second St., (213) 614-1181.


A sneaker consignment store with rare names. These kicks are pricey but unique.

334A E. Second St., (213) 617-0252 or

Weller Court

This shopping center includes several restaurants, shops, karaoke clubs and a boba cafe. The Marukai Market is a fun place to shop and popular eateries include Orochan Ramen and Curry House. There’s also a skate shop, clothing boutique and gelato shop.

123 Onizuka St., (213) 617-3696.


The heart of the OBD is Fourth and Main streets, where a growing cluster of retail has popped up to support its thriving loft community. It’s a fun, vibrant slice of Downtown life.

The Last Book Store

Located on the ground floor of the San Fernando Building, this indie shop sells old and used books. The assortment is eclectic, including everything from cookbooks and sci-fi to fiction and photography books. Most titles are less than $10. They’ll also buy your used books and CDs.

400 S. Main St., (213) 617-0308 or

Metropolis Books

Metropolis is the scrappy, owner-operated bookstore you love to support. Service is always friendly, and they offer a unique selection of best-sellers and local authors. There are frequent book readings and signings. If you can’t find a title in stock, they’re more than happy to order it for you.

440 S. Main St., (213) 612-0174 or

Old Bank District Market

This is the neighborhood’s go-to market for all those necessary sundries you forgot to pick up earlier — pita chips, beer, wine, chicken stock, martini olives, ice cream. There’s also a deli and coffee bar, and great patio seating. The friendly owners even remember the names of their regulars.

409 S. Main St., (213) 680-9000.

Raw Materials

All the art and architectural supplies you could need as well as custom framing.

436 S. Main St., (213) 627-7223 or


The retail showroom for this L.A.-based design house features avante garde designs (somewhere between underground and couture) with accessories starting at $100 and the priciest items topping $1,000. If for nothing else, go for the window shopping.

125 W. Fourth St., (213) 626-2662 or


These one-of-a-kind vintage and Goth pieces from dreadlocked designer Stella Dottir will certainly catch your eye. There are unique pieces for sale, but Dottir also specializes in custom-made clothes.

430 S. Main St., (213) 623-8464 or

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