The 4 Most Underrated Shopping Streets in L.A.

These up-and-coming blocks are giving the old guard a run for the money

Sunset Junction

From surf apparel to Italian eyewear, custom perfume to chic jeans, this Silver Lake enclave defies everyday convention.

Mission Workshop

You can survive the urban jungle (and perhaps the real one) by using the lifetime-guaranteed clothing and bags from this utility- goods outpost. The founders include a former San Francisco bike messenger and a onetime apparel designer for Navy SEALs and NASA. The waterproof and durable backpacks, duffels, jackets, and vests are field tested—just take a look at the brand’s website.

Retrosuperfuture

Since opening in 2015, the eyewear shop (one of two in the United States) has become a destination for those seeking sunnies and opticals handcrafted in Italy. The 1,800-square-foot space houses the Milan-based company’s vast range of vintage interpretations and cutting-edge frames, from classic aviators to the very now flat-lens styles.

Le Labo

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A patchwork of subway tiles clings to seemingly ancient concrete walls in a perfumerie dotted with old-world furniture. The vibe is prewar Paris, but the service is new world order. Choose your scent, which is custom blended while you wait, the bottle then labeled with your name and the date. You don’t get that kind of attention at a department store perfume counter.

Mollusk Surf Shop

Eastside wave riders were stoked when this San Francisco-based institution opened in their hood in 2015. The store offers a variety of long and short boards (from makers such as Anderson, Mandala, and Tyler Warren), plus wet suits for the whole family.

Buck Mason

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Erik Schnakenberg and Sasha Koehn sold packages of clothing basics to male subscribers who wanted to take the guesswork out of everyday dressing. In 2015, the duo opened a brick-and-mortar in Venice and last year launched this second outpost in their Silver Lake backyard. All-American staples (henleys, tees, jeans, chinos) are manufactured within 15 miles of the shop.

Nico & Bullitt

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This new retro-gift emporium is full of ’70s throwbacks (rug wall hangings, bell-sleeve dresses, macramé plant holders), along with vintage toys, apothecary items, stationery, and art supplies. The inventory is as extensive and varied as the epic menu of an all-day diner.

The Odells

Laura Stang and Jason O’Dell rebranded their shop, formerly Bucks & Does, earlier this year. They still sell apparel from top heritage labels and local designers, but now you’ll find more from their lines, B&D and the ODells. The pair often collaborates; O’Dell’s photos are turned into printed fabrics for the ODells collection of maxi dresses, rompers, and kids’ wear.

The NOW

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Just when you think you can’t try on one more outfit, you come upon The NOW spa, which offers a timely respite from the demands of shopping. Walk-ins are welcome, based on availability. The atmosphere is communal yet private (canvas walls and curtains separate the treatment rooms). Best part: A 25-minute massage is $35.

The DTLA Loop

Long a retail wasteland, downtown is finally getting the stylish boutiques it deserves. Turn an afternoon into a shopping safari.

Nice Kicks

Before founder Matt Halfhill opened his first brick-and-mortar in Austin, Nice Kicks was a webite devoted to providing up-to-the-minute news about sneaker release dates and shoe history. With its eye-catching neon signage and extensive collection, the store on Main Street is worth visiting IRL. In addition to selling the typical sought-after brands (Adidas, Jordan, Nike), it offers plenty of cool socks and accessories to round out your look.

Lab³

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The packed interior means the odds are good you’ll find something for the pickiest of friends. Try a fragrant eucalyptus-and-sage Paddywax candle, a pearl necklace, or a heart-shaped sparkler, paired with a witty greeting card from San Diego’s Azul Oscuro Design. Peppered throughout the 7th Street shop are vintage items like a burnt orange picnic set in a wicker basket and a charming Underwood typewriter.

Little Damage

All of the small-batch soft serve at this Spring Street newcomer is made daily. Even better, it comes in unconventional colors and flavors, like a dark gray almond charcoal or a bright teal “unicorn tears” option, which looks all the more festive with a Fruity Pebbles topping. The shop’s playful neon sign (“I licked it, so it’s mine!”) on the black-and-white-checkered wall was made for Instagram glory.

Tanner Goods

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The Portland-based company opened its flagship L.A. store on Broadway in 2014 and has been building a loyal fan base with its handmade leather pieces (and a few other likeminded brands) ever since. First-timers tend to ogle the meticulously arranged displays, from the leather accessories on the central table to the clothes hanging by the antique Grand Prix II jukebox. The craftsmanship is also evident in the range of ready-to-customize belts and a lumberjack-chic button-down from Tanner’s clothing line, Woodlands.

Mykita

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The high-end Berlin brand opened its only West Coast location last fall in the stunning art deco Eastern Columbia Building on Broadway, where it boasts a world-class array of eyewear options. Check out the Decades collection, which takes inspiration from silhouettes that were popular from the ’30s to the ’80s . Or if you feel like making more of a statement, the fashion-forward Mykita Studio line is worth a look. Sure, the frames are expensive—the ones from the classic NO1 collection will set you back around $500—but a great pair of shades changes everything.

Preux & Proper

Helmed by chef Samuel Monsour since 2016, the Spring Street spot serves Creole and Cajun food alongside delicious cocktails, which are divided into three categories: Dirty South Remedies, Lowcountry Cures, and Appalachia Elixirs. (There are also beers on tap and microproduction wines.) Douse the buzz with a few games of shuffleboard or some deep-dish biscuit-dough pizza.

Fairfax Avenue

Build a dope outfit at these almost painfully hip streetwear boutiques between Oakwood and Rosewood avenues

Killion

The new kid on the block, Killion, churns out high-end retail at wholesale prices. Selvage denim jeans set you back just $59; buy them when you see them because they rarely get restocked.

Supreme

Supreme is like the holy grail of streetwear: Its simple logo tee, with the word Supreme inside a red box, is coveted by celebrities (Drake) and average consumers (your teenage cousin).

Huf

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Skate giant Huf offers limited collections (often collabs with characters, like the Pink Panther) and its own line of footwear. The graphic snapback hats—seen on Kendrick Lamar—are standouts.

Melody Ehsani

Most Fairfax shops skew unisex, but Melody Ehsani oozes femininity. Gold-script necklaces, acrylic Venus-symbol earrings, and other handmade pieces embody an in-your-face aesthetic.

The Linc

Original and fun, this strip of Lincoln feels like Abbot Kinney used to, withs hops that will have you coming back for more.

Tradesmen

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The former studio of sculptor Charles Ray is now paneled in warm cedar and brims with casual menswear. Baseball-inspired sweats by Jackman and finely crafted work shirts by OrSlow hail from Japan, as does the yarn in the National Athletic Goods tees. Pants include reproductions of vintage Levi’s and impossibly soft chinos from the Hill-Side.

LCD

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Even as she prospered in online commerce, owner Geraldine Chung yearned for the brick-and-mortar experience. Her customers pose in the shop’s minimalist dresses, skirts, and tops before an eye-catching asymmetrical mirror built by a local artisan. The store has also hosted a pop-up of home goods from the Arts District’s the Good Liver.

Late Sunday Afternoon

Owner Matthew Schildkret makes the intricate knotted scarves that inspired the store’s launch in an old radio repair shop. Children’s books abound (Schildkret is an author as well) in addition to an altruistic spirit, with leftover fabric fashioned into blankets for foster kids. Wrest your eyes from the colorful spools of thread to check out the jewelry by L.A. artists.

Superba Food + Bread

Consider this your day-long fueling station: flaky pastries for breakfast; a rich croque madame for lunch; farro risotto (with herbs from the on-site garden) for dinner—unless it’s Sunday, when the fried chicken special is a must. Don’t pass on the raspberry mousse for dessert.

Christy Dawn

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The original Marina Vacuum sign still winks above the shop of this model turned designer, whose flowing dresses evoke an era of tea dances and garden parties. Christy Dawn Peterson rescues deadstock fabrics in vintage-y prints—from prairie florals to pop art polka dots—for her made-in-L.A. line. The bags and shoes complete the look of a bygone time.

General Store

The earthy ceramics, wood wall hangings, and fiber totes are what you’d expect to see in the home of someone who eats organic and adopts a homeopathic regimen. A clay cup is both match holder and striking surface. A bag mimics the human form—if it were a sculpture by Botero. With the spin of an illustrated wheel you’ll learn what local produce to consume when.

Deus Ex Machina

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You can order up custom motorcycles, all manner of bicycles, and surfboards to fit your skills at this shop/café housed in a one-time Conroy’s flower shop (the marquee is the giveaway). There are outfits and artworks galore to go with those big toys at this self-described “Emporium of Postmodern Activities.”

The Golden State Store

All goods in this Cali-centric store celebrate the 31st state. Feeling touristy? There’s a kitschy plate for that. Restless? Graphic pillows take you to the beach and desert and the roads in between. Homesick? A tote features L.A. icons, from LAX to Echo Park. And lest you forget, T-shirts remind you to “Enjoy the Ride.”

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