Shopping Melrose AvenueOn our Los Angeles tours we are sometimes asked about good shopping locations where “real” Angelenos go to buy their shoes, jeans, shades, vintage, whatever. There are many great shopping areas around Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica, but probably the most “L.A.” would have to be Melrose Avenue.
Melrose has a spectrum of shops from high-end boutiques to trendy sneaker shops to antiques to vintage clothes. Michael Jackson used to love shopping at the antique stores here and at Off the Wall on Cienega just north of Melrose.
For luxury go to the west end of Melrose Avenue, including Melrose Place. Drop your AMEX at Marc Jacobs (8400 Melrose Place), Diesel (8401 Melrose Place). On Melrose proper the high-end continues, with Fred Segal (8118 Melrose Avenue), Vera Wang (8445 Melrose Avenue), Diane von Furstenberg (8407 Melrose Avenue), and Helmut Lang (8382 Melrose Avenue).
Of course on this part of Melrose you can also visit DASH (8420 Melrose Avenue), the boutique owned by the enterprising Kim Kardashian and family.
As you move further east you get to more of the interesting shops that exhibit the latest in LA trends. It was full of punk and new wave shops in the 80s and has set the standard for gritty L.A. trendiness since. The original Johnny Rockets opened here, and it once was home to the Burger that Ate L.A. At the far end you’ll run into Pink’s Hot Dog Stand, which has been an L.A. institution since 1939.Melrose Avenue also is home to a couple of Los Angeles’s great comedy venues. The Groundlings (7307 Melrose Avenue) is a comedy sketch school that puts on shows many nights of the week for the public. It’s a breeding ground for many performers on Saturday Night Live and TV and film. Famous alums of the Groundlings include Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow, Paul Reubens, Jon Lovitz, Kathy Griffin, and several others.
Also on Melrose is the Improv (8162 Melrose Avenue), a stand-up comedy club that featured a long list of comedians before they hit it big, like Richard Pryor, Larry David, and Jay Leno; even Dustin Hoffman played the piano. Just about every big name comedian has performed at the Improv at some point in their careers.
So there you have it — a whole day of shopping, food, and fun. So when you’re not seeing L.A. on one of our tours, you’ve got another whole day on Melrose planned. See you there!