Hollywood Boulevard (between Gower St. and La Brea Ave.)
One of Los Angeles's most famous streets is, for the most part, a cheesy tourist strip. But along the Walk of Fame, between the T-shirt shops and greasy pizza parlors, you'll find some excellent poster shops, souvenir stores, and Hollywood-memorabilia dealers worth getting out of your car for -- especially if there's a chance of getting your hands on that long-sought-after Ethel Merman autograph or 200 Motels poster.
Some longstanding purveyors of memorabilia include Hollywood Book and Poster Company, 6562 Hollywood Blvd. (tel. 323/465-8764; www.hollywoodbookandposter.com), which has an excellent collection of posters (from about $15 each), strong in horror and exploitation flicks. Photocopies of around 5,000 movie and television scripts are sold for $10 to $15 each -- Pulp Fiction is just as good in print, by the way -- and the store carries music posters and photos.
The legendary Fredericks of Hollywood, 6751 Hollywood Blvd. (tel. 323/957-5953; www.fredericks.com), located just a block east of Hollywood & Highland, is worth a stop if you're looking for devilish dainties. The flagship store features lingerie worn by celebrities like Sharon Stone, Julianne Moore, and Halle Berry.
Larchmont Boulevard (between Beverly Blvd. and 2nd St.)
Neighbors congregate on this old-fashioned street just east of busy Vine Avenue. As the surrounding Hancock Park homes become increasingly popular with artists and young industry types, the shops and cafes lining Larchmont get more stylish. Sure, chains like Jamba Juice and the Coffee Bean are infiltrating this formerly mom-and-pop terrain, but plenty of unique shopping awaits amid charming elements like diagonal parking, shady trees, and sidewalk bistro tables.
One of L.A.'s landmark independent bookstores is Chevalier's Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd. (tel. 323/465-1334), a 60-year Larchmont tradition. If your walking shoes are letting you down, stop into Village Footwear, 248 N. Larchmont Blvd. (tel. 323/461-3619), which specializes in comfort lines like Josef Siebel. Or even better, stop in for a foot -- or full body -- massage at Healing Hands Wellness Center, 414 N. Larchmont Blvd. (tel. 323/461-7876; www.healinghandswc.com), which has affordable 1-hour massages starting at $55. An entire afternoon of pampering can be had at Le Petite Retreat Day Spa, 331 N. Larchmont Blvd. (tel. 323/466-1028; www.lprdayspa.com), which offers great packages for couples or a girls' day out.
Melrose Avenue (between Fairfax and La Brea aves.)
It's showing some wear -- some stretches have become downright ugly -- but this is still one of the most exciting shopping streets in the country for cutting-edge fashions (and some eye-popping people-watching, to boot). Melrose is always an entertaining stroll, dotted with plenty of hip restaurants and funky shops selling the latest in clothes, gifts, jewelry, and accessories that are sure to shock. Where else could you find green patent-leather cowboy boots, a 19th-century pocket watch, an inflatable girlfriend, and glow-in-the-dark condoms on the same block? From east to west, here are some highlights:
l.a. Eyeworks, 7407 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/653-8255; www.laeyeworks.com), revolutionized eyeglass designs from medical supply to stylish accessory, and now their brand is nationwide. Off the Wall Antiques, 7325 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/930-1185; www.offthewallantiques.com), is filled with neon-flashing, bells-and-whistles kitsch collectibles, from vintage Wurlitzer jukeboxes to life-size fiberglass cows. The L.A. branch of a Bay Area hipster hangout, Wasteland, 7248 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/653-3028; www.thewasteland.com), has an enormous steel-sculpted facade. There's a lot of leather and denim, and some classic vintage -- but mostly funky 1970s-style garb, both vintage and contemporary. An outpost of the edgy Floyd's Barbershops, 7300 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/965-7600; www.floydsbarbershops.com), keeps the street's style-for-less theme by charging around $24 for men's and women's cuts. It's like a salon, music store, and Internet cafe rolled into one.
Melrose Heights (between La Cienega Blvd. and Fairfax Ave.)
This posh section of Melrose, anchored by the venerable favorite Fred Segal, 8100 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/655-3734; www.fredsegal.com), houses designer boutiques such as Diane Von Furstenberg, 8407 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/951-1947); and Paul Smith, 8221 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/951-4800). L.A. jewelry designer Suzanne Felsen, 8332 Melrose Ave. (tel. 323/653-5400), is a celebrity favorite -- she transformed a 1920s Spanish home to house her gold and platinum baubles lined with Peruvian opals and Mandarin garnets. Perennial fashion favorite Marc Jacobs has three stores at 8400, 8409, and 8410 Melrose Ave., featuring ready-to-wear, accessories, menswear, and the less expensive Marc by Marc Jacobs collection.
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.