advertisement

Beverly Boulevard (from Robertson Blvd. to La Brea Ave.)

Beverly is L.A.'s premier boulevard for mid-20th-century furnishings. Expensive showrooms line the street, but the shop that started it all is Modernica, 7366 Beverly Blvd. (tel. 323/933-0383; www.modernica.net). You can still find vintage Stickley and Noguchi pieces, but Modernica has become best known for the authentic -- and more affordable -- replicas they offer (Eames storage units are one popular item). Scent Bar, 8327 Beverly Blvd. (tel. 323/782-8300), the sleek retail shop from the wildly popular fragrance website www.luckyscent.com, is the place to go for exclusive fragrances from Monyette Paris and Parfums de Nicolai.

British designer and rock royalty Stella McCartney (8823 Beverly Blvd.; tel. 310/273-7051; www.stellamccartney.com) opened her eponymous digs in an ivy-covered 1920s cottage. Here you'll find the entire collection, from ready-to-wear and fragrance to footwear and handbags. At nearby Erica Courtney, 7465 Beverly Blvd. (tel. 310/858-6700; www.ericacourtney.com), celebs like Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, and Eva Longoria Parker are all fans of Courtney's drop-dead gorgeous diamonds. If you complain that they just don't make 'em like they used to . . . well, they do at Re-Mix, 7605 1/2 Beverly Blvd. (btw. Fairfax and La Brea aves.; tel. 323/936-6210; www.remixvintageshoes.com). This shop sells only vintage (1940s-1970s) -- but brand-new (as in unworn) -- shoes for men and women, such as wingtips, Hush Puppies, Joan Crawford pumps, and 1970s platforms. It's more like a shoe-store museum. A rack of unworn vintage socks all display their original tags and stickers, and the prices are downright reasonable. Celebrity hipsters and hepcats from Madonna to Roseanne Barr are often spotted here.

Other vintage wares are found at Second Time Around Watch Co., 8763 Rosewood Ave., West Hollywood (tel. 310/271-6615; www.secondtimearoundwatchco.com). The city's best selection of collectible timepieces includes dozens of classic Tiffanys, Cartiers, Piagets, and Rolexes, plus rare pocket watches. Priced for collectors, but a fascinating browse for the Swatch crowd, too.

When it's time to unwind and beautify, hit Ona Spa for a tension-relieving massage. The attached Privé Salon is one of the city's trendiest salons where celebrity-sighting is common. One of the best-kept-secret spas in the neighborhood is Skin Haven Spa Studio, 300 N. Crescent Heights Blvd. (at Beverly Blvd.; tel. 323/658-7546), where owner Sharon Ronen's customized facials will leave you glowing for weeks.

La Brea Avenue (north of Wilshire Blvd.)

This is L.A.'s artiest shopping strip. La Brea is anchored by the giant American Rag Cie alterna-complex and is also home to lots of great urban antiques stores dealing in Art Deco, Arts and Crafts, 1950s modern, and the like. You'll also find vintage clothiers, furniture galleries, and other warehouse-size stores, as well as some of the city's best restaurants, such as Campanile.

Upscale seekers of home decor head to Mortise & Tenon, 446 S. La Brea Ave. (tel. 323/937-7654; www.mortisetenon.com), where handcrafted heavy wood pieces sit next to overstuffed velvet-upholstered sofas and even vintage steel desks. The best place for a snack is Nancy Silverton's La Brea Bakery, 624 S. La Brea Ave. (tel. 323/939-6813; www.labreabakery.com), which foodies know from gourmet markets and the attached Campanile restaurant.

Stuffed to the rafters with hardware and fixtures of the past 100 years, Liz's Antique Hardware, 453 S. La Brea Ave. (tel. 323/939-4403; www.lahardware.com), thoughtfully keeps a canister of wet wipes at the register -- believe us, you'll need one after sifting through bags and crates of doorknobs, latches, finials, and any other home hardware you can imagine. Perfect sets of Bakelite drawer pulls and antique ceramic bathroom fixtures are some of the more intriguing items. Be prepared to browse for hours, whether you're redecorating or not. There's a respectable collection of coordinating trendy clothing for men and women, too.

Robertson Boulevard (between Wilshire and Beverly blvds.)

If you're a fan of celeb magazines like US Weekly, you simply must pay a visit to one of L.A.'s most popular shopping streets. It's common to see the likes of Jessica Simpson, Lindsey Lohan, and Paris Hilton shopping at trend-obsessed boutiques like Kitson, 115 S. Robertson Blvd. (tel. 310/859-2652; www.shopkitson.com) and Lisa Kline, 136 S. Robertson Blvd. (tel. 310/246-0907). A splashy Dolce & Gabbana flagship boutique at 147 S. Robertson Blvd. (tel. 310/247-1571; www.dolcegabbana.com)? has the full spectrum of men's and women's clothing and must-have accessories like sunglasses and jewelry. After shopping like a celebrity, dine among them at the Ivy.

Just up the street, two of L.A.'s most unique day spas beckon the tired, the stressed, and the famous. L.A. Vie L'Orange, 638 1/2 N. Robertson Blvd. (tel. 310/289-2501; www.lavielorange.com), specializes in manicures and pedicures that use yummy ingredients like milk, honey, oatmeal, and orange-scented oils. Two doors away, you can spend an entire afternoon at the Kinara Spa & Café, 656 N. Robertson Blvd. (tel. 310/657-9188; www.kinaraspa.com), just like faithful fans Halle Berry, Naomi Watts, and Jennifer Garner.

Rodeo Drive & Beverly Hills' Golden Triangle (between Santa Monica Blvd., Wilshire Blvd., and Crescent Dr., Beverly Hills)

Everyone knows about Rodeo Drive, the city's most famous shopping street. Couture shops from high fashion's Old Guard are located along these 3 hallowed blocks, along with plenty of newer high-end labels. And there are two examples of the Beverly Hills version of minimalls, albeit more insular and attractive: the Rodeo Collection, 421 N. Rodeo Dr. (www.rodeocollection.net), a contemporary center with towering palms; and 2 Rodeo (www.tworodeo.com), a cobblestoned Italianate piazza at Wilshire Boulevard. The 16-square-block area surrounding Rodeo Drive is known as the Golden Triangle. Shops off Rodeo are generally not as name-conscious as those on the strip (and you might actually be able to afford something), but they're nevertheless plenty upscale. Little Santa Monica Boulevard has a particularly colorful line of specialty stores, and Brighton Way is as young and hip as relatively staid Beverly Hills gets. Parking is a bargain, with nine city-run lots offering 2 hours of free parking and a flat fee of $2 after 2pm.

The big names to look for here are Prada, 343 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/278-8661); Chanel, 400 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/278-5500); Bulgari, 201 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/858-9216); Gucci, 347 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/278-3451); Hermès, 434 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/278-6440); Louis Vuitton, 295 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/859-0457); Polo/Ralph Lauren, 444 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/281-1500); and a three-story Tiffany & Co. that's one of the largest Tiffany stores in the world, 210 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/273-8880). There's also the ultrachic clothiers Dolce & Gabbana, 312 N. Rodeo Dr. (tel. 310/888-8701); British plaid palace Burberry, 9560 Wilshire Blvd. (tel. 310/550-4500); and NikeTown, on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive (tel. 310/275-9998), a behemoth shrine to the reigning athletic-gear king.

Wilshire Boulevard is also home to New York-style department stores (each in spectacular landmark buildings), like Saks Fifth Avenue, 9600 Wilshire Blvd. (tel. 310/275-4211); Barneys New York, 9570 Wilshire Blvd. (tel. 310/276-4400); and Neiman Marcus, 9700 Wilshire Blvd. (tel. 310/550-5900).

When all that walking and gawking tires you out, do what all the Beverly Hills beauties do: Hit a spa. Thibiant Beverly Hills Day Spa, 449 N. Canon Dr. (tel. 310/278-7565; www.thibiantspa.com) has been offering classic treatments since the 1970s. Guys have a place of their own at the high-end barbershop, the Shave, 230 S. Beverly Dr. (tel. 310/888-2898; www.theshavebeverlyhills.com). You don't need to stay in one of the fabulously luxurious Beverly Hills hotels to get all the pampering services. At the Spa at the Four Seasons, California-flavored treatments use everything from tequila to caviar in decadent massages and facials. The Spa at the Peninsula Beverly Hills uses diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires in some of their signature treatments. At the Beverly Hills Hotel Spa by La Prairie, the facials and massages are some of the most expensive in town, but it's a great reason to spend a decadent day at the "Pink Palace" without having to drop $1,000 a night on a room.

The Sunset Strip (btw. La Cienega Blvd. and Doheny Dr., West Hollywood)

The monster-size billboards advertising the latest rock god make it clear this is rock-'n'-roll territory. The Strip is lined with trendy restaurants, industry-oriented hotels, and dozens of shops offering outrageous fashions and stage accessories. One anomaly is Sunset Plaza, an upscale cluster of Georgian-style shops resembling Beverly Hills at its snootiest. You'll find Billy Martin's, 8605 Sunset Blvd. (tel. 310/289-5000; www.billymartin.com) founded by the legendary Yankees manager in 1978. This chic men's Western shop -- complete with fireplace and leather sofa -- stocks hand-forged silver and gold belt buckles, Lucchese and Liberty boots, and stable staples like flannel shirts. Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd. (tel. 310/659-3110; www.booksoup.com), has long been one of L.A.'s most celebrated bookshops, selling mainstream and small-press books and hosting book signings and readings.

The Sunset Strip's trendiest hotels have in-house spas and spa services -- like Agua at the Mondrian, 8440 Sunset Blvd. (tel. 323/848-6070; www.mondrianhotel.com) -- which offer great added amenities for hotel guests. But to feel like a real superstar on the Strip, go to the "facialist of the stars": Ole Henriksen Face/Body, 8622 W. Sunset Blvd. (tel. 310/854-7700; www.olehenriksen.com/spa), is where stunners like Ashley Judd and Charlize Theron go for glowing skin.

West 3rd Street (between Fairfax and Robertson blvds.)

You can shop until you drop on this trendy strip, anchored on the east end by the Farmers Market and The Grove. Many of Melrose Avenue's shops have relocated here, along with terrific up-and-comers, several cafes, and restaurants like A.O.C. and Locanda Veneta. Fun is more the catchword here than funky, and the shops (including the vintage-clothing stores) are a bit more refined than those along Melrose. Traveler's Bookcase, 8375 W. 3rd St. (tel. 323/655-0575; www.travelbooks.com), is one of the best travel bookshops in the West, stocking a huge selection of guidebooks and travel literature, as well as maps and travel accessories.

There's lots more to see along this always-growing street. Refuel at Chado Tea Room, 8422 1/2 W. 3rd St. (tel. 323/655-2056; www.chadotea.com) a temple for tea lovers. Chado is designed with a nod to Paris's renowned Mariage Frères tea purveyor; one wall is lined with nooks whose recognizable brown tins are filled with more than 250 different varieties of tea from around the world. Among the choices are 15 kinds of Darjeeling, Indian teas blended with rose petals, and ceremonial Chinese and Japanese blends. You can also get tea meals here, featuring delightful sandwiches and individual pots of any loose tea in the store.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.