It is no small feat for an independent bookstore to stay in business during the times when even giant chains have caved in. It is a downright marvel when a brand-new bookstore emerges and proceeds to forge upstream against the general trend of brick-and-mortar decline. One such miracle occurred in the midst of the Downtown Arts District in 2011 when The Last Bookstore opened its doors, dazzling eager bibliophiles and inquisitive passers-by with its spacious, beautifully laid-out interior packed full of new and used editions of every genre. With its affordable prices, friendly staff and a massive, continuously changing collection, the bookstore quickly claimed for itself a permanent place among the most popular destination of Downtown LA.
The famed town of Beverly Hills is arguably synonymous with Los Angeles. From opulent mansions to the glamour associated with Hollywood, Beverly Hills embodies the essence of LA's fanciful lifestyle. There is a lot to enjoy here, enough to justify a day visit, if not more. You may start by exploring the heart of Beverly Hills; the fabulous Rodeo Drive and the adjacent streets, all lined with some of the best world-class boutiques from coast to coast. Visit a few art galleries, such as the Gagosian and William Karges, located in the same area. Grab a bite to eat at one of the more casual cafes and bakeries, or splurge at the legendary Spago. Dozens of top-notch spas are at your fingertips. A mid-afternoon stroll through the lush Beverly Hills Park provides a nice change of pace and a natural respite in between your urban explorations. West Melrose and Robertson shopping districts await insatiable shoppers looking to explore further.
The Fashion District sprawls over 90 blocks of downtown Los Angeles, and is just the place to be if you are looking for bargains or wholesale material. This section of the city is absolutely crammed with stores selling designer clothing, shoes, accessories, textiles and even flowers at unbeatable rates. Other bric-a-brac on display includes toys, lingerie, CDs, prom gowns and kids wear. Over 1,000 such retailers show off their wares at a flea market, which always dons a festive appearance. Weekends are particularly busy, with great discounts of up to 30 percent. Hours of operation and credit cards may vary by store.
It isn't exaggerating to say that Rodeo Drive contains some of the most expensive real estate on the planet. Remember Julia Roberts' shopping spree in Pretty Woman? Rodeo Drive is where she went. The place boasts of a great mixture of clothing, restaurants, unique shops and celebrity spotting. Be warned, however, some of the stores are so exclusive, shopping is by appointment only.
Natives in-the-know refer to this outdoor bazaar as The Alley and here is where you will find a quarter mile of goods of every description and wall-to-wall people in search of the perfect bargain. Here in Santee Alley you will find casual and chic day wear and evening wear. There are all kinds of jewelry concessions as well as menswear, children's clothing, lingerie and toys. If you like the idea of searching through piles and piles of merchandise for the best bargains, among throngs of other people who are doing the same thing, you won't want to miss cruising The Alley.
With harder-to-find upscale boutiques as well as the usual mall fare, the Beverly Center is one of the more popular shopping destinations in the city of Los Angeles. The structure itself is certainly unique for a mall, with two floors of shops and a third of food court and cinemas atop five-levels of parking, filling an entire city block. Among the more unique stores found here are Belgravia Collection, Betsey Johnson, Cabochon Fine Jewelry, Alexio, Club Monaco, Politix, Vertex, The Icing and Shauna Stein.
This cigar shop has been in business since the 1940s. It started out selling only its own line of cigars which were simple but high in quality and flavor.These days, the owners sell 25-30 other brands in addition to their own line, which has evolved into a premium cigar over the decades. The owners sell their cigars in boxes with bands. Cigar lovers should definitely give the house brand a try as it is aromatic and delightful. Call for open hours.
This is the store to come to for information about Japan. It carries an enormous inventory of English language books about Japan, as well as books in the Japanese language. You can also find Japanese magazines, CDs, computer software and videos in Japanese with English subtitles.
Marukai Market is fittingly located in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles as this supermarket specializes in Japanese groceries. Here, you can shop for everything associated with Japan, from sushi party platters to kimonos in a range of styles and patterns. It also stocks pottery and ceramics printed with beautiful Asian designs, hibachi grill, which is a heating apparatus for cooking East Asian food, packaged curries, green tea packets, electronics, cosmetics and personal care products. Whether you are looking for Japanese furniture to infuse tranquility into your home, or the perfect ingredients to cook Japanese meals, this supermarket won't disappoint.
Fugetso-Do, a small Japanese sweet shop, open since 1903, is the oldest business in the Little Tokyo area. They sell candies, sweet bean paste, rice crackers and taffy, cake and other confections. The decor of this store is old fashioned but welcoming. You will surely be amazed by the wide variety at this sweet store. The specialty here is the Mochi, Japenese confection made out of steamed glutinous rice. Fugetsu-Do founder, Seiichi Kito is the one who originally created the popular fortune cookie concept. And yes, they are freshly made every morning!