Whether you're looking for trendsetting fashions or just some tourist schlock mementos, Los Angeles has your shopping needs covered like no other place in the world. Heck, Los Angeles practically invented the shopping mall.
But to really shop L.A.-style, you need to combine your outing with a trip to a day spa and make it an all-day event. For example, if you're planning an outing to the Grove, an outdoor mall (highly recommended), you should first make a lunch reservation at Morels French Steakhouse and Bistro (tel. 323/965-9595), and then go online to buy movie tickets to the Grove Theatres (tel. 323/692-0829; www.thegrovela.com). When the big day arrives, you meet your friends for coffee in the morning, hit the shops, check your packages with the Grove concierge, have lunch, see a matinee, pick up your purchases, and call it a day. Nicely done.
A note on shopping hours: Street shops are generally open Monday through Saturday from 10 or 11am to 5 or 6pm. Many are open Sunday, particularly those near the beaches, movie theaters, or clusters of other stores. In addition, quite a few offer extended evening hours 1 night a week, often Wednesday or Thursday. Mall shops take their cue from the anchor department stores and generally open from 10am to 8 or 9pm. On Sunday, shave an hour or two off each side, while holiday periods increase mall hours substantially.
Sales tax in Los Angeles is 9.75%; savvy out-of-state shoppers know to have larger items shipped directly home to save the tax.
Stellar Shopping -- If you want to mix in some celebrity sightings along with your shopping spree, head to the Beverly Center. A handful of high-end shops here cater to the famous and wealthy, particularly Hugo Boss and D&G. Other shops like Ed Hardy cater strictly to hopeless fashion victims.