It's the weekend before Christmas and all through the house, everyone was stirring...because they gotta go Christmas shopping!
Have you gotten your shopping done yet? Don't worry, Humor Travel Life has you covered. Unfortunately, I'm not Santa and can't cover the entire world, so this post will focus on where to shop in Los Angeles. Technically, this blog post can apply all year 'round, so feel free to reference back anytime.
The first thing to know about Los Angeles is that it is rather annoyingly spread out, which means that shopping can greatly depend on where in LA you're located. The good news though, is that there is plenty of shopping almost everywhere in LA, so let's break it down by neighborhood.
If you're in...
The Grove /Farmer's Market
The Grove is also a major tourist spot, so be aware of that. It's a beautiful outdoor shopping destination and is one of those LA places where it also feels like people go to be "seen" - mainly because it's also a spot where you're more likely see a celebrity. As far as shopping goes, it really doesn't have a ton of stores to choose from and tends to cater to more expensive brands. However, there are stores like GAP and Barnes and Nobles there as well, so there is some budget variety. The coolest part of The Grove, however, is the farmer's market next door. This is a great spot to get locally-made gifts like popcorn and candies.
The Beverly Center
The Beverly Center is set up like a traditional mall. The good news is that it's not nearly as busy at The Grove and offers more shopping. It's got both the fancy brands and the budget-friendly brands. The worst thing about The Beverly Center is that it can be confusing to navigate but other than that it's a pretty good shopping experience.
Melrose Trading Post
This weekly event happens every Sunday from about 9AM-5PM in the parking lot of Fairfax High School. It's costs roughly $3 to get in, and it's a great local flea market in the heart of WeHo. This is a perfect LA spot to shop for original, unique gifts that you won't find in regular malls. Plus, you can venture over to the local stores along Melrose Avenue once you are done.
Hollywood & Highland
If you actually live in LA, you're less likely to do your shopping at Hollywood & Highland. The biggest reason being that it is also the epicenter of Hollywood tourism. Nevertheless, there are plenty of residents who actually live in Hollywood and might prefer to stay nearby. This mall features popular stories like American Eagle, Forever 21, and GAP. Fun fact: it's also connected next to the Kodak theater, which is the home of the Academy Awards ceremonies.
I'm no aficionado when it comes to shopping in Beverly Hills, but it's true that Rodeo Drive is the main street for shopping in this famous Los Angeles neighborhood. If you have the budget for it, this is where you'll find those designer brands.
Westfield Century City
Another confusing outdoor mall, but the Century City mall offers popular chains like H & M, Banana Republic, and an Apple Store.
3rd Street Promenade
You're probably sensing a theme that there's a lot of outdoor shopping in Los Angeles...and you would be correct. The 3rd Street Promenade is no exception. It's another popular tourist spot because Santa Monica is a top tourist destination in LA, so be aware of crowds. However, the shopping here is fantastic. Bonus points for being right off the ocean.
Burbank Town Center
Bubank is located in what's known as 'The Valley', which basically refers to the LA neighborhoods over the hill. It's a literal valley, go figure. The valley's not so bad really, and it seems to have more of a suburban feel to it. Don't be fooled by the suburban demeanor though - it's also where major movie studios like Universal, Warner Bros, and Disney are located. The Burbank Town Center is a traditional type of mall located in downtown Burbank, which is a cute neighborhood to hang out in. This mall is great for those regular chain stores we all know and love. There's also more shops outside the mall in the downtown center as well, including an Urban Outfitters.
Starting at the cross street with Laurel Canyon, you'll find stores located along the busy Ventura Blvd. Plenty of popular chains like Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, and GAP offer clothing varieties, but there's also local spots to pick out more unique items as well.
Glendale Galleria/Americana at Brand
Technically, these are two different shopping centers, but since they are right across the street from each other, I'll combine the two. The Glendale Galleria is a massive indoor mall with plenty of great shopping. Just across the street is the Americana at Brand. It's an adorable outdoor shopping space designed just like The Grove (without the tourists).
My Top Pick:
When it comes to shopping in Los Angeles, my top pick is....the Glendale Galleria/Americana at Brand.
Ironically, I didn't go there often because I never lived in Glendale and that traffic through Los Feliz can be brutal. That being said, when I did visit, it was awesome. The fact that you have two very different malls right next to each other means that this shopping space offers more than the majority of LA shopping centers. Plus, the Galleria is HUGE. That mall seems to go on and on and has every store imaginable. I felt like the Galleria offered everything, and if it didn't, just hop across the street to the Americana.
Well, that marks the last Humor Travel Life post for 2018, but I'll be back in 2019 with plenty of great travel tips and funny stories.
Coming up in 2019: Ireland, Chicago, and much more! Stay tuned.
Thank you for stopping by the site to check out the final entry in the Humor Travel Life Diversity Series. I've been so happy to be able to share these amazing, inspiring travelers. This series has been about celebrating and featuring travelers of diverse backgrounds, and thank you again to my friends and fellow travelers who have been a part of this series.
Meet Kyle Jarrett!
1. Where is your home base?
Los Angeles, CA
2. What is the last trip you went on?
A 7-day Alaskan cruise aboard the Norwegian Pearl
3. What is your favorite place that you traveled to?
Spain. I had so many amazing experiences walking El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, and the people, food, history, and harrowing escapes will stick with me for as long as my human memory will allow.
4. Least favorite?
China. The history is extraordinary, but the air and water were filthy. Babies were pooping on the street through holes in their pants. People were not especially friendly. We were with a tour company, and they made sure we went to every tourist trap. Glad I went, but probably won't go back.
5. What was an important life lesson you learned while traveling?
Time abroad is precious. In some ways, the more you try to see in a limited time, the more you cheat yourself of the experience of a place. As I've started to slow down my travels, I've been grateful to have more time to enjoy the spaces I'm in, rather than constantly checking the clock to ensure I'll have time to see the next.
6. What would you like to see more of in the travel industry overall?
I would like to know more about cultures upfront. Manners, slang, traffic laws... So much of the travel industry is geared toward food and activities (because that's where the money comes from), but when I go to a place, I want to know how to relate to the people with whom I will be interacting. I wouldn't mind also knowing what preconceptions about Americans I'm walking into.
7. Where do you want to travel to next?
I'll be in Texas over Labor Day weekend. Never really "done Texas." I hear great things about Austin lately. Bat bridge, square dancing...
8. What is your craziest travel story?
The Route Napoleon is the first, mountainous leg of the Camino Frances portion of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. In summer, it is lovely, both scenic and challenging. In winter, you just don't take it because people die. Starting El Camino alone, I made sure to ask as many people as I could just out of St. Jean Pied-de-Port to guide me away from the Route Napoleon and keep me on the street route, because they split from each other just out of town.
So I went on my way as the sky got cloudy and rain began to sprinkle, until I came to the village of Huntto, which I recognized from my research of weather along the Route Napoleon. I was crestfallen to discover that I was now 10K up the Route Napoleon in early March with a storm brewing. My only options were to go back 10K and start afresh, or trudge along and try not to die.
As the rain intensified, a group of six French ladies appeared with their hiking sticks and day packs, heading over the Route Napoleon. With my two sentences worth of French, I asked them if I could go with them sur la montagne. They agreed, and though we could not communicate much, we did share a great deal of exclamations. "Ooh!" "La niege!" "Tres beau!" And so on. We trekked up high into the mountains, at times post-holing in the deep snow, looking down on the vultures circling beneath us. The ladies shared their lunch with me, as I had foolishly started walking on Sunday when the stores were closed and I had no food supplies. Not today, vultures!
We descended into Roncesvalles in late afternoon, and the ladies kissed me on each cheek, piled into their taxi, and headed back home. It was my first miracle of the Camino.
9. Can you explain what The Bill Beaver Project is?
The Bill Beaver Project started as a way to get over a boy and to get off Facebook. Originally, I just went out taking photos of my 20-year old stuffed beaver, until I discovered the California historical landmark system and decided to photograph Bill the Beaver in front of all 1,111 of them.
I completed that quest in 2016 and am working on quests to see all the national parks and monuments, and the 7 wonders of the world. Last year, I raised funds to replace a historical landmark plaque that had been destroyed, and I'm working on a second one (fundraising is the worst). At its core, the Bill Beaver Project is an excuse to learn more about the places I visit, and a chance to add some whimsy to my travel experiences.
10. What's your favorite part of the travel experience?
I love the experience of arriving a place I had heard about for years and finding that it was nothing like I expected. For instance, I had no idea of the size of Gettysburg, the sea of monuments stretching for miles, and where, in relation to the battlefield, the Address had been delivered. I'd never expected the Nebraska panhandle around Scotts Bluff to be so gorgeous in the spring time with the yucca blooming against ancient eroded monuments. The feeling of awe and dread setting aside the camera to watch the last 30 seconds of the 2017 solar eclipse... I prepare a lot, but it's the beautiful moments I hadn't planned for that make travel so addictive for me.
11. What do you wish the public understood more of when it comes to the travel experiences for people in the LGBTQ+ community?
LGBTQ+ travelers are as diverse as anyone else when it comes to traveling. Some like adventure, others want to be pampered, still others want to take in as much art and culture as possible. Some just travel to humor their significant other. Pretty standard mix.
12. Do you have any suggestions for ways that the travel industry can be more inclusive for LGBTQ+ travelers?
Show us, write about us, normalize us. But at the same time, don't just show two guys and a rainbow, or make a sex joke, and call it a day. LGBTQ+ travelers need to be seen enjoying their travel in as natural a way as their heterosexual counterparts.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer, comedian, and television producer who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com