Shop, Eat and Sip Your Way Through These LA Suburbs

Sep 2, 2022

Scope out the SoCal shopping scene.

Between the exclusive designers on Rodeo Drive and the upscale shops in The Grove and Westfield Century City, LA has earned its reputation as an international shopping hub. Still, some of Cali’s best shopping actually happens in the ‘burbs. Thankfully, Suburban Jungle Strategist Bree Rotter has shared her favorite retail spots in the LA suburbs, as well as a few tasty places to fuel up – so you can shop even more. 

#1. Culver City 

Culver City, known as the “Heart of Screenland,” has been the site of various production companies throughout its history. From the iconic MGM Studios to the modern Amazon Studios, this suburb has played an important role in Hollywood history. Fun fact, shopping has always been big here, too. Culver Center, just steps from Sony Pictures Studio, was one of the first mall-style shopping centers in the country.

Trendy shops are still a major part of Culver City’s retail scene. If you’re exploring this suburb, visit The Platform to browse the collection of independent retailers. Broome Street General (which anyone familiar with Silver Lake might recognize) offers a well-curated selection of gifts and home goods. The Optimist is a go-to for men’s LA lifestyle fashion and women can find limited-edition pieces at Reformation. If you need a pick-me-up, there’s a Blue Bottle in The Platform or you can book a leisurely meal at the Margot rooftop – a Culver City hotspot for cocktails and plant-based dishes.

Downtown Culver City also features some charming boutiques like Lundeen’s for gifts and the bookstore-cafe combo Village Well. There’s a Salt and Straw for a sweet treat and if you need to run errands, stop by the Tuesday night farmers markets or Trader Joe’s.

#2. Santa Monica 

Santa Monica is a classic beachfront town complete with a pier and carnival rides. Take a stroll and you’ll pass tons of local artists selling their crafts. If you’re downtown, visit the Third Street Promenade or Santa Monica Place for upscale shopping. You’ll find all the big names here, including Lululemon, Apple and Nike but on Wednesdays and Sundays, you can also explore the artisanal offerings at the downtown farmers market.

Make your way to Montana Ave if you want to do more boutique shopping. Here you can check out Andrew’s Cheese Shop for specialty picnic fare or the Moondance Jewelry Gallery for unique statement pieces. For a caffeine break, pop into Caffe Luxxe. Sweet Lady Jane is the place to go for SoCal treats, but there’s also Breadblok if you’re looking for something gluten-free.

#3. Pasadena 

When Pasadena locals want to shop, they often make Old Pasadena their first stop. This revitalized area was the town’s original commercial center and today it’s still a hub for retail. You’ll find national brands like Allbirds, Anthropologie and the Apple Store plus tons of unique local shops. Elisa B. sells on-trend women’s fashion and Finn + Willow offers a curated selection of men’s and women’s apparel. HöMAGE is a go-to when residents need to shop for a handcrafted gift and pet parents can pick up locally-made treats for their pup at The Dog Bakery.

Over in the Hastings Ranch neighborhood, locals can easily run errands at the open-air Hastings Village shopping center. In addition to all of the big box stores, there’s a great wine store nearby. Good Luck Wine Shop was opened by a local couple and showcases natural wines (if you’ve been wanting to try orange wine this is the place to go).

#4. Calabasas

Situated in the gorgeous San Fernando Valley, Calabasas is well-known as a home for celebrities. Stop by The Commons while you’re exploring Calabasas for a taste of the local shopping scene. This charming Mediterranean-inspired outdoor mall features a mix of national and boutique shops. Bonjour Fête is a fun storefront selling well-designed party supplies and Elysewalker curates high-end women’s fashion. And if you want to cap off a shopping day with a delicious sushi dinner, Sugarfish is a popular choice. On certain summer nights, you might even get to enjoy live music as you stroll through The Commons.

#5. Laguna Beach

Made famous by the MTV reality show, Laguna Beach is especially known for its gorgeous coves and dramatic mountain bike trails. Many artists make their home in Laguna Beach and there are more than 100 galleries in town. 

When residents want to do some shopping, they have plenty of local places to explore. Twig offers clothing and accessories – including some town-branded pieces. Pop into Beach House for coastal SoCal fashion and home decor. AMĒNAH sells its own clothing line alongside handcrafted jewelry and houseware. Next door, Simple Laguna features high-end appeal and Vertigo Home is a nice option when you’re ready to start furnishing and decorating your new place. 

If you get hungry while shopping, Laguna Beach also has some great local Mexican restaurants (and if you move to town, you’re going to want these on your radar). Papa’s Tacos and Alvia’s El Ranchito are two of our favorites. 

Curious about the SoCal suburbs? We’re here to help! Get in touch today so we can answer all of your questions and help you plan a town tour (we can even work a few shops into your itinerary).

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