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Best Architectural Skateboards
Loaded Boards makes composite skateboard decks (primarily longboards) for the most discriminating skaters, which means each board is handcrafted with care, and carries bold graphics with ultra-slick finishing by a team of shop designers. Many are trained engineers and architects; all are supremely devoted to the sport. Whether during the...
Best Place to Buy a Powdered Deer Horn
Harbin Deer Antlers Trading Co.
Why would you want to buy a powdered deer horn? Because, when they're steeped in tea, they boost energy and muscle growth—a health bonus that Major League Baseball takes seriously enough to ban them as performance-enhancing substances. (And they're not alone: Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis got in trouble for...
Best Bike Workshop for Women
If you've ever dreamed of fixing your bicycle's flat tire, loose chain or squeaky brakes but don't have the slightest idea where to start, Bicycle Kitchen is here to help. The East Hollywood nonprofit offers full-service bike repair with a catch: You've got to do it yourself. For a suggested...
Haus of Love
Looking to expand your shopping repertoire to include local boutiques that carry independent designers? Kelly Love and Fez Phez, owners of DTLA's Haus of Love, have you covered. Their shop is a platform for emerging design talent. It stocks mostly up-and-coming L.A. brands, as well as a few labels from...
Best Antique Shop
Open just a few hours a week (Wednesday through Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.), this dusty, signless storefront is easy to miss. But if you glance through the window, you'll see an ancient wheelchair and crutches, old cans and bottles, and a selection of shiny silver toasters and waffle makers. Inside...
Best Shoe Repair-Slash-Knishes
Best Shoe Repair
Once a deli staple, the knish is enjoying a renaissance of late, with a new book out by Laura Silver on this iconic Jewish equivalent of the potato pie or empanada. Some of the best can be found at Best Shoe Repair in the Fairfax District. Each morning at 6...
Best Place to Buy a Musical Instrument
Timewarp Music in Venice is known for its huge selection of vintage and oddball instruments: clavichords, harpsichords, bylophones, toy pianos, ukuleles, violins, mandolins, saxophones, Duran Duran–era keytars and analog synthesizers. The store has become a favorite with musicians in search of unique sounds. If you're looking for a hard-to-find retro...
The Langham Huntington's new, 11,000-square-foot luxury spa, Chuan Spa, combines advanced skincare methods with Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, techniques — in fact, it's the only global spa brand based on TCM. That means a focus on yin and yang, the meridian system (jing luo) and the five elements (wu...
Best Yarn Shop
The Little Knittery
In the past few years, Atwater Village's stretch of Glendale Boulevard has become so hip that Mayor Eric Garcetti considers it a model for "Great Streets" around the city. Perhaps more importantly, the six-block strip east of the L.A. River boasts both a natural foods store and an accordion school...
Best Record Store-Slash-Hair Salon
The Artform Studio
Music and hair have long been a sort of cultural peanut butter and jelly, but the Artform Studio might be the world's first business to recognize the entrepreneurial possibilities in their collision. Located in the Arts District since 2010, the Artform's vintage record collection is one of the best in...
Best New Vintage and Artisan Marketplace
Artists & Fleas
With the legendary Rose Bowl Flea Market, Unique L.A., Renegade Craft Fair and Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles, the alternative vintage and local maker–oriented retail scene in this city is robust. Now add to the mix Artists & Fleas, an import from New York City, which launched its...
Best Vape Shop
Smoke shops are ubiquitous in L.A. Historically, the big draw has been generic, "roll your own" cigarettes, but the e-cigarette revolution has opened up new doors for these businesses. Cig Zone in Westside Village has taken full advantage of the popularity of vaporizers, e-liquid (which contains nicotine) and accessories. It's...
Best Vintage Hardware Shop
Rick's Hardware Co.
Thanks to Shari and Rick Pistone, owners of Rick's Hardware Co. in North Hollywood, thousands of unique vintage doorknobs, drawer pulls and hinges have been saved from landfills. Their treasure chest of a store is lined with wooden cubbies filled with stunning hardware for doors and cabinets, with items of...
It may be true that there's no good way to get your pubic hair ripped out by the roots. But there are better ways and there are worse ways, and the best way is to visit Burbank's little-known gem of a salon, Krimson, and get your lady- or man-parts sugared...
Best Horror Prop Shop
Dapper Cadaver Horror Props
At Dapper Cadaver Horror Props, the stuff of nightmares awaits you — coagulated by type and made so well you'd never know it's merely a set of replicas. Located behind an unassuming storefront just off the 5 freeway, this den of dread carries everything from lab jars to a dozen...
Best Zine Shop
A wonderland of eclectic print art, Book Show drew hard-core zine lovers and curious tourists alike to peruse its carefully curated collection, which runs from a table-sized dictionary to a zine all about potatoes. Owner Jen Hitchcock, a former L.A. Weekly writer, says her zines appeal to people who have...
Best Comic Book Shop
Golden Apple Comics
To succeed in this digital era, comic book stores can't just sell comic books. They need to provide a sanctum for the unwashed nerdy masses. An L.A. institution since 1979, Hollywood's Golden Apple Comics excels in this area beyond all others. Long known for hosting book signings for the industry's...
Best Surf Shop
Malibu Surf Shack
As the first surf shop to open up in Malibu, back in 1972, Malibu Surf Shack is a PCH mainstay. Owned by couple Sean and Leslie Weber, this shop is located right across from the Malibu Pier and overlooks Surfrider Beach, home to one of the most famous surf breaks...
Best Place for Hostess Gifts
When you're invited to a dinner or party or backyard barbecue, you can show up with potluck. But to our mind, it's always more gracious to bring a hostess (or host) gift, and we think the best place to pick one up is Heath Ceramics. The only SoCal outpost of...
Best Metal Shop
These guys aren't your average shop rats. The metal heads at Breakform Design are trained architects with the brains of engineers and the hands of expert artisans, who can figure out how to build anything in steel, bronze, brass or aluminum. Less a go-to shop for metalwork and more a...
Best Place to Spot a Celebrity
Ralph's in Malibu
Plenty of small, boutique markets around Malibu offer basic groceries or organic items. And lots of celebrities have mansions and getaways along "the Bu's" pristine coastline. But here's a question: Where do celebs shop if they want to stock their pads with something as basic as a 24-pack of Eggo...
Best Vintage Eyewear
The first thing optician Van de la Plante asks customers when they walk into his tiny eyewear boutique in Echo Park isn't about their eyesight — it's whether they'd like a glass of Scotch and a seat on one of two tattered, turn-of-the-century armchairs. The Scotch, poured from a beveled...
Best Bike Shop
Spokes N Stuff
Helmets, baskets, tires and lots of other bike stuff fill the friendly neighborhood bike shop Spokes N Stuff. The store is geared (pun intended) toward the average cyclist, with equipment for middle-of-the-road riders taking up most of the floor space. Under owner Joey Harris, Spokes N Stuff sells and repairs...
Best Plant Sale
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
The twice-yearly plant sale at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens gives you the chance to own a little piece of California's growing history. In addition to the usual plant-sale finds, the Huntington offers cuttings from its own rare plants — everything from roses to strawberries to cacti...
Best Waxing Spot for Those Who Can't Commit to a Brazilian
Brazilian waxes have become the industry standard, but they're not without their flaws. Not everyone wants to be a pelvic chrome-dome, after all. Plus, they're pricey. Isn't there a way to procure proper hair removal without being left bald and poor? Thank heaven for Queen Bee. The salon offers the...
Best Place to Find Your Signature Scent
Some people collect fragrances the way others collect art, and in L.A. those people go to Scent Bar. If you still think of department store cosmetic counters when you think of perfume, a visit to this shop is your wake-up call. The small boutique is lined with shelves of niche...
Best Doggie Day Care
The Loved Dog
Dog "life coach" Tamar Geller's kennel, the Loved Dog, isn't so much doggie daycare as an awesome house party that your dog wishes he could go to every day. Here, Geller separates dogs based on temperament — mellow dogs upstairs in the 1,800-square-foot "lounge," hyper dogs downstairs in the 2,600-square-foot...
Don't let the Black Friday foolishness freak you out. The holiday season can be hell for many people, but outlet malls are heaven for bargain hunters. Located less than 15 minutes from downtown L.A., and the only one of its kind in Los Angeles County, Citadel Outlets has more than...
Best Place to Buy a Spell
Farmacia y Botanica Million Dollar
Farmacia y Botanica Million Dollar looks more like a small-town drugstore than a den of magic. The walls are toothpaste-white, the shelves crammed with Tums next to bath powders that bring good luck, and the, er, pharmacists will answer your questions about black and white energy as calmly as if...
Best Place to Crash
Some of the most inexpensive places to stay as a tourist in the city are still pretty overpriced (or just plain gross). But for anyone traveling solo or with a group of friends for a short period, hotel amenities aren't as important as a good access point for exploring the...
Best Store to Buy Stationery and Office Supplies
Daiso is a shop that quickly turns into an addiction. The Japanese chain store, with multiple locations across Los Angeles County, sells most of its stock for just $1.50 a pop, ensuring that it's almost impossible to leave with just one item. Venture into the stationery aisles and you may...
Best Bookstore, Westside
Angel City Books & Records
The paucity of bookstores on the Westside can be disheartening, but Santa Monica's Angel City Books & Records has been a sanctuary for book-buying locals since 1998. Though small and narrow, the store is easily navigable and feels more cozy than cramped. Filled with a meticulously curated selection of used...
Best Cigar Shop
The Main Stogie
There are cigar shops and then there are cigar emporia, the former being just a seller of cigars while the latter is really a clubhouse, a hangout, a man cave. The Main Stogie, on Alhambra's handsome, historic Main Street strip, offers the atmosphere you want in a smoking establishment. The...
Primrose Organics Salon & Boutique
Beauty without toxicity is the mantra at Primrose Organics Salon & Boutique. "When you enter, you don't smell chemicals," says owner Felicia Howe, who opened the full-service salon in 2009 to offer Angelenos a healthier way to color, highlight and style their hair. Housed in an early–20th century bungalow with...
Best Airbrush Nails
CT Nails #9
Your fingernails are 10 tiny canvases and it's time to put them on display. CT Nails #9 owner David Huynh is the Warhol of the nail salon, and for a shockingly low $25, he'll put his skills to work airbrushing almost anything in the world on your fingertips. Whether you...
Best Record Store When You Have an Entire Day to Kill
L.A. has plenty of awesome record stores, so why make the trek to Long Beach? Because Fingerprints has everything: a great selection of new and used vinyl, CDs of all genres, DVDs, books, T-shirts, gifts and an awesome atmosphere to boot. The 22-year-old store moved to its new Fourth Street...
Best Place to Buy Collectibles
Frank & Son Collectible Show
Just half an hour east of downtown is a 65,000-square-foot collector's paradise. The Frank & Son Collectible Show opens to the public every Wednesday and Saturday, selling comics, trading cards, figurines, sports memorabilia, movies, video games and more things than you have the money to purchase. Fans of television shows...
Best Shoe Store
You can't quite see to the far end of the display tables at the Sherman Oaks Macy's — all those heels, sandals, boots and flats stretch out, by our reckoning, for a city block. According to a natty-looking salesman, the more than 2,000 pairs of shoes on display here are...
Best Art Supply Store
Top's Art Supplies
In an age of ever-larger art superstores, Top's Art Supplies still has human scale. The compact Koreatown store features the finest hand-picked, imported supplies — brushes and scissors from Japan, paper from India — along with neatly arranged collections of sketchpads, colored pencils, painting supplies and markers. Family-owned and operated...
Hana Auto Service
Here's the mathematical equation for a good mechanic: (honesty + skill)/cost. Tally it up and Hana Auto Service, a clean, well-tended shop on the north end of Koreatown, is a winner. Cars zip in and out of the wide lot all day, some coming from as far as Arizona and...
Best Place to Buy a Gift for the Man Who Has Everything
Please Do Not Enter
Hidden among the oak-paneled law firms in the historic 1926 PacMutual Plaza tower, Please Do Not Enter shuns the drywall and dropped ceilings of its neighbors in exchange for an open, minimalist space. All polished concrete and exposed brick, the hybrid luxury boutique/gallery houses a meticulously curated collection of men's...
Best Place to Charge Your Electric Car
In front of Arts District gourmet marketplace Urban Radish, you'll find an Electric Vehicle, or EV, oasis with 10 level-two Blink chargers and two level-three superchargers (super because they can take your battery from empty to 80 percent in 20 minutes). Installed three years ago by Linear City Development as...
A fresh, well-arranged bouquet of flowers is more than just a gift. It's a vibrant, nearly living thing, offering color, scent and a graceful shape. The staff at French Florist understands this very well, and also understands the virtue of offering supremely fresh and well-chosen flowers at a reasonable price...
Best Bookstore, Eastside
Adam Bernales and Denice Diaz knew it would be difficult to open a bookstore in East L.A. When they launched Seite Books four years ago, the area had never had an independent, nonreligious bookstore. The closest chain store was a Borders in Pico Rivera. It started slowly but the inventory...
Best Lumber Company
Far West Plywood
If you wanted a hunky guy who could build anything and has the means to own a tricked-out, $30,000 pickup truck — not that we're looking or anything! — check out the crowd picking up goods each morning at Far West Plywood in Northridge. It's frequented by contractors, not average...
Best Nail Salon for Men
Mr. Nail Lounge
When Maston Kucheki found herself pondering what kinds of businesses catered to females but not to males, nail salons came to mind almost immediately. She took the opportunity to turn her unique idea into reality with the help of her partner and mother, Nana Kucheki, opening Mr. Nail Lounge in...
Best Nail Salon
Olive & June
Leave it to a New Yorker to start L.A.'s best nail salon. The truth is, we Angelenos just don't care that much about our nails, which is why there aren't many options between the high-end spas and the cheapo spots. Enter Olive & June, where you can choose from the...
Best Record Store
With the recent resurgence of interest in vinyl, record stores are suddenly cool places again. The factory-size Amoeba Music certainly has a large selection, and smaller independent shops such as metal/punk haven Vacation Vinyl in Silver Lake, Permanent Records in Highland Park and Echo Park's Origami Vinyl are intuitively stocked...
Best Video Store
Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee
Imagine yourself in a dusty world where VHS tapes inherit the earth, people punctuate phrases with "you see?" and geezers croon about Barbara Stanwyck and John Wayne to tunes churned out by an adenoidal Victrola — and you've just imagined yourself into Eddie Brandt's Saturday Matinee in North Hollywood. You...
Best Gift Shop
On a shaded stretch of Mission Street about two miles south of Old Town Pasadena sits Marz Boutique, a singular gift emporium with a dazzling selection of knickknacks, tchotchkes and curios — many of which you've probably never seen anywhere else. One of the best (or worst) things about this...
Jenny & Jimbob
Jenny & Jimbob began with a line of matchbox necklaces, which the husband-and-wife designers sold wholesale to more than 1,000 stores worldwide. After observing how other store owners became stressed out during the buying process, Jennifer Hall Pellitteri and Jimbob Pellitteri swore they'd never open a shop of their own...
You've been told by 20 people that acupuncture will cure what ails you, be it insomnia, acne or indigestion. Still, you're not sure if Eastern medicine is simply needles and hokum. Get over your hesitation at Dongguk University, where prices are so cheap, you can try acupuncture four times for...
Best Pet Store
Big things come in small packages, and no store is more representative of that adage than Pet Project, a fun, colorful and compact seller of everything the urbane dog or cat could ever want or need. Situated in the heart of downtown's core, this place is jam-packed with premium quality...
Best Craft Market
Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles
The Port of L.A. is doing its best to turn old industrial areas into a tourist destination. While it's still a work in progress, Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles is a big step in that direction. Located in a WWII-era warehouse, the craft market (open Friday through Sunday)...
Best Vintage Store
Shareen Mitchell's supersized store across from the Los Angeles State Historic Park, Shareen, is a must-stop for costume designers (Mad Men's Janie Bryant most notably), actresses (Zooey Deschanel is a longtime customer) and fashionistas who come to peruse the affordable, expertly selected racks of vintage women's clothing dating from the...
Best Luggage Repair
Langer's Luggage Shop and Handbag Hospital
Since 1907, Langer's Luggage Shop and Handbag Hospital has specialized in restoring vintage leather and vinyl goods, no matter what their condition. Owner Raffi Aintablian is passionate about doing quality work. To him, each piece has its own story. Beautiful old briefcases, vintage Gucci bags and worn-in Western boots all...
Best Tattoo Shop With a View
Crimson Unicorn Tattoo Parlour
Not that he would ever engage in such ephemeral, trendy trifles, but if L.A.'s own (eternal) poet laureate Charles Bukowski were to get tattooed, he would do it at Crimson Unicorn Tattoo Parlour. For one, it's right across the street from the King Eddy Saloon, one of his favorite haunts...
Best Fabric Boutique
"This is a magical place, where magical things happen," says Fabric Planet owner Jack Jacob Sapar, who has transformed his functional, one-stop fabric shop into a fairyland where couture dreams come true. This warm, kaleidoscopic emporium in the heart of Venice has become a sanctuary for local designers and hobbyists...
Best Surf Shop (Valley)
Kennedy Surf Shop
An outpost of beach culture in the heart of Woodland Hills, Kennedy Surf Shop has been a second home to San Fernando Valley surfers for decades. Since 1972, owner Glen Kennedy has supplied beginners and diehards alike with a wide range of hand-shaped surfboards. A dedicated surfer himself, he's spent...
Best Tattoo Shop
What do you look for when you go to a tattoo shop? Good artwork. Attention not just to the drawing but to the craft of putting it into your skin. Professionalism. And, perhaps more important than any of these other qualities, you want to feel comfortable being there. You don't...
Long Beach Airport
Everyone knows LAX is a nightmare, so where do you fly out of? Burbank? Ontario? How about Long Beach Airport's newly revamped terminals? They feature modern, clean design and tiny outposts of local restaurants — Sweet Jill's for sticky buns on early-morning flights, and a classy wine bar with an...
Best Head Shop
Captain Ed's Shoppe
A San Fernando Valley institution, Captain Ed's Shoppe has served generations of smokers with the finest glass pipes and other accessories since 1967. With locations in Reseda and Van Nuys, this joint is so beloved that you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the 818 area code with a...
Best Cabinet of Curiosities
Inheritance is a species of wunderkammer that seems to be presided over by a dream personal shopper: one who has scoured every flea market and estate sale in town and selected only the best objects to put on display, and who then throws in factory-new merchandise to complete the picture...
Pommes Frites Candle Co.
With their brown glass jars and hand-printed labels, the candles at Pommes Frites Candle Co. smell even prettier than they look. When Kristen Pumphrey moved from Austin to Long Beach in 2011, she and husband Thomas Neuberger made candles out of their two-bedroom home. They've since moved into a larger...
Best Storage Company
The idea behind L.A.-based Clutter is so ingenious, we can't believe it took until 2013 for someone to make it happen. Simply put, it's a storage space where they pick up, and later retrieve, your crap for you. The idea is a storage unit that keeps a "visual inventory" of...
Best Discount Kitchen Supply
Housed in the basement labyrinth beneath the massive Koreatown Galleria, KitchenPlus sells every type of kitchen gadget you could ever want — and hundreds of culinary novelties you never knew you needed. Owned by the Kim family since its 1992 inception, K-Plus, as it's known among fans, stocks roughly 15,000...
Best Designer Warehouse
dosa just might be the coolest brand you've never heard of. The clothing company has been around for 30 years, hiding out for much of that time in a gorgeous building downtown. Three open levels house a showroom, an office space and a sewing/production area. In an age when most...
Best Place to Buy Water-Wise Plants
California Cactus Center
You'll be greeted by a truly giant giant saguaro when you arrive at California Cactus Center in Pasadena. This is notable because the saguaro is mainly seen in Arizona; the fact that it's thriving here is indicative of the growers' abilities. Given California's ongoing drought, take the hint and plant...
Best Toy Store
Few things motivate consumers to seek out quality more than the desire to enrich and safeguard their children. Kidsland is dedicated to that ethos, from amazingly cutting-edge, nearly futuristic baby car seats and strollers to a comprehensive selection of baby toys, teething rings, pacifiers and feeding-related accessories. In this generous...
Best Animal Hospital
VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital
The VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital is the Cedars-Sinai of veterinary hospitals. The flagship of the national VCA chain and a teaching hospital to boot, this sparkling clean Sepulveda Boulevard location has animal dermatologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, dentists and acupuncturists. They've got underwater treadmills for fat cats and gimpy dogs...
Best Knife Shop
In terms of both size and selection, Ross Cutlery is the biggest knife shop in the country — 6,000 square feet of kitchen knives and hunting knives and Swiss Army pocket utility knives and daggers and ninja swords. Which is to say, a lot of freaking knives. The place has...
Best Barber Shop
Vinny's Barber Shop
Vinny's Barber Shop has a sort of unofficial slogan: "It's a haircut." And indeed, it is that. In a world where a million salons try to pose as the real McCoy, you need look no further than this East Hollywood spot for an old-school barber shop with a modern, contemporary...