2017 Holiday Gift Guide
Whether you’re looking for something classic or modern, everyday or special occasion, Los Feliz jeweler Julio Benez has a design to suit your needs—and if he doesn’t, he’ll custom-make one for you. In addition to Benez’s own designs, simple and elegant, with an emphasis on natural elements like leaves and organic shapes, Artisan LA also carries a selection of handpicked vintage pieces.
1856 N Vermont Ave. (323) 644-5699
Offering a curated selection of high-quality clothing, ceramics, housewares and personal care products, Bell Jar is the place to shop for that friend who is equal parts sophisticated and earthy. Candles in scents like amber and moss or Japanese cherry blossom and colorful soaps are safe (but still unique) bets for coworker gifts, while artist-designed “animal spirit” tarot cards are just the thing for the witchy woman (or man) in your life.
1764 N Vermont Ave. (323) 407-6446
Hidden away just off the main drag of Vermont Avenue, is a small but mighty store, packed with toys for kids of all ages. You’ll mostly find classic toys like wooden blocks, silly putty, hand puppets, hobbyhorses and musical instruments, with a few more modern options thrown in for good measure.
4649 Russell Ave. (323) 928-2223
This huge two-room boutique boasts a massive collection of artsy curiosities lining the shelves and adorning the walls. With an emphasis on featuring local artists, Co-Op 28 is the place to go for a gift that is truly unique. With offerings ranging from dopp kits and mounted vintage book covers to candles and coffee mugs, you’re bound to find something for everybody on your list.
1728 N Vermont Ave. (323) 669-2828
Elements of Gray
For the sophisticated, yet practical woman in your life, look no further than Elements of Gray. Just off Vermont Avenue, this women’s clothing boutique specializes in simple and timeless—but still unique—high quality pieces that can be easily mixed and matched and will never go out of style.
4651 Melbourne Ave. (323) 522-6733
For a gift that’s truly one-of-a-kind, paint it yourself! Glaze Fire has a huge selection of food-, dishwasher- and microwave-safe functional ceramics, from plates and bowls to cups and caddies, plus a full spectrum of non-toxic paints to make them your own. All ages are welcome to paint—adults too—and the studio is BYOB so you can indulge in some holiday cheer while you’re checking of your gift list.
1937 Hillhurst Ave. (323) 522-6775
La La Ling
A self-proclaimed “baby lifestyle boutique,” La La Ling will keep the little ones on your list runway ready, with cool kid must-haves like a Wu Tang Clan onesie, children’s faux-fur-lined leather and denim jackets and t-shirt tributes to rock greats like David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen. They also recently re-ordered their sold out “Los Feliz” onesies, which will be back in stock in plenty of time for the holidays. Though they specialize in clothing, La La Ling also carries the ever popular Melissa & Doug brand of books and toys.
1810 N Vermont Ave. (323) 664-4400
Local jeweler Liza Shtromberg prefers to buck trends, instead utilizing a wide range of jewelry-making techniques to create styles that are unique, timeless and personal. Shop from her existing collection of everyday jewelry, special occasion pieces and engagement and wedding rings, or have one custom-designed.
2120 N Hillhurst Ave. (323) 913-1444
Specializing in sterling silver jewelry, exotic masks and woodcarvings from around the world, Maya’s Hollywood Boulevard location is the ideal spot to find a gift for your favorite globetrotter. From healing crystals to dream-catchers, you’ll find a variety of imported goods fit for a world-traveler.
4685 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 644-0133
Aside from their line of London-designed, vintage-inspired-with-a-modern-twist shoes, Miss L-Fire’s Hollywood Boulevard brick and mortar store sells cute modern versions of vintage clothes from collections such as Emily & Fin, Vixen by Micheline Pitt and Freddies of Pinewood. They also carry their own line of handbags and accessories, as well as a selection of hosiery, jewelry, cosmetics and vintage scarves.
4675 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 644-1940
Otherwild is most famous for their wildly popular line of “The Future is Female” emblazoned tees, sweatshirts, baby onesies, pins and bags, based on a 1970s women’s bookstore t-shirt design and sported by the likes of model Cara Delevingne. But there’s plenty more on offer at the Hillhurst Avenue store, which carries a range of handmade goods from housewares to skincare elixirs, with an emphasis on craftsmanship, ethical production and social activism.
1768 N Vermont Ave. (323) 546-8437
The Reckless Unicorn
The newest addition to Hillhurst Avenue’s retail landscape, The Reckless Unicorn is a children’s toy, clothing and gift shop with their very own mascot, Twinklebot the Reckless Unicorn. In addition to Twinkelbot-adorned shirts, hats, totes and plushies, you’ll find a stockpile of vintage baby and toddler clothing, old school tin lunch pails, toys, books and more.
2124 Hillhurst Ave. (323) 426-9778
This indie bookstore is a holiday shopping haven for those who prefer to give the gift of knowledge. Skylight boasts a wide selection of new books—many of which are available signed by the author—and classics alike, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff on hand to make recommendations. Two doors down is the Skylight Annex, where you’ll find all their graphic novels and coffee table books.
1818 N. Vermont Ave. (323) 660-1175
Soap Plant / Wacko
A haven for everything pop culture, Soap Plant / Wacko is a stocking stuffer superstore, carrying a wide variety of action figures, toys, books, home décor, handmade soaps and other novelties from the simply unique to the truly bizarre. From a zombie garden gnome magnet to “ear buddies”—headphones that resemble human ears—to a reproduction of the infamous leg lamp from A Christmas Story or even a scratchable turntable for your cat, you’re guaranteed to find something unexpected for the weirdo in your life.
4633 Hollywood Blvd. (323) 663-0122
Spitfire’s line of in-house designed stationery, drinking glasses, candles, pillows and more is equal parts quirky and sophisticated, with natural wood grain and old timey illustrations bringing a touch of vintage style. In addition to their own line, the Hillhurst Avenue boutique also stocks apothecary items and oddities from around the world.
1939 ½ Hillhurst Ave. (323) 912-1977
This Hillhurst Avenue boutique specializes in artist-quality accessories and gifts, such as handmade purses in playful prints and jewelry made of precious metals and stones. A unique wall-mounted unicorn head in colorful plush makes for a great conversation starter, while an assortment of colorful and fragrant soaps and candles has you covered on the stocking stuffers front.
1812 N. Vermont Ave. (323) 660-0869
With more novelty t-shirts than you can shake a stick at, this quirky Vermont Avenue bulwark’s designs range from the hyper-local—such as a Silver Lake shirt featuring Sunset Boulevard’s iconic happy/sad foot or a Los Feliz shirt emblazoned with our neighborhood’s unofficial mascot, the skunk—to the political, to the downright absurd. Come for the shirts, stay for the ever-changing stock of random oddities that make for perfect stocking stuffers.
1770 N Vermont Ave. (323) 664-0021
Alias Books East has outlived its sibling to the west and still offers us a mix of rare, used and sometimes out-of-print books that we can hold in our hands, not our Kindles. They specialize in literature, film and art, but you might also find graphic novels or children’s books, too. Follow them on Instagram (@aliasbookseast) where they frequently post titles that have come into their collection.
3163 Glendale Blvd. (323) 661-9000
This narrow shop stocks brushes and paints, including Annie Sloan’s Chalk paints and a stash of fun drawer knobs. These are perfect for turning old, mundane furniture into statement pieces, but you’ll also find Bohemian jewelry, home décor and books. For your bolder friends, they sell cheeky desk nameplates and pencils that you shouldn’t put on your desk unless your boss is cool with a little course language.
3161 Glendale Blvd. (323) 913-5870
Casual women’s clothing and accessories, including jewelry and sunglasses, can be found at this chic shop, as well as premium sprays and candles via Los Angeles-based Awesome Candle.
3229 Glendale Blvd. (323) 426-9069
Crux regularly attracts Instagrammers who pose against its rainbow exteriors from street artist Risk, possibly because tagging them in the post may result in winning a $50 gift card. Actually going inside reveals a decidedly fun shop, where shoppers may find street wear, witchy accessories, iron-on patches and pins. There’s also many cannabis-themed items, from pot leaf totes to artfully designed pipes.
3197 Glendale Blvd. (323) 407-6476
There’s a lot to uncover in this stylish shop, including men’s and women’s fashion, cards, fragrances, home goods, journals, cards and more. Choices here are well made and unique, but not stuffy—like vases that look like paper bags, painted mugs and planters, and colorful totem candles.
3176 Glendale Blvd. (323) 665-5344
Jacknife Records & Tapes
In the age of digital downloads, Jacknife is stocked with vinyl, CDs and cassette tapes, perfect for the audiophile on your shopping list who insists music was better before iTunes. It’s a mix of new, old, and rare releases, and if you need something to listen to it all on, they’ve got the gear for that, too.
3149 Glendale Blvd. (323) 661-4533
Kin & Kind
Find thoughtful handmade home goods, including incense holders, textiles and neatly bundled palo santo—the same fragrant wood they burn at Joshua Tree’s Integatron—alongside bath and body products, including soaps and bath salts. One of their best selling and most unexpected gifts is an aesthetically pleasing wind chime, consisting of five, brightly discs on a deerskin cord.
3229 1/2 Glendale Blvd. (323) 774-7304
Rheena Mae’s MaeMae sells jewelry, each delicate piece handmade in their Atwater Village studio. Find necklaces, bracelets, earrings, rings, anklets, and more, each one presented on an upbeat or inspirational card that details the piece’s intention. Customers can also piece together their own bracelets, selecting from some two dozen unique stones.
3125 Glendale Blvd. (323) 205-5390
This small shop specializes in stationery, stamps, enamel pins and cute, colorful office supplies sure to brighten anyone’s desk. For loved ones brimming with local pride, there are also several adorable totes and prints featuring California and Los Angeles. This is also a great place to stock up on cards to send to out-of-town family and friends.
1800 S Brand Blvd. (323) 633-9210
Potted is not on Glendale Boulevard, but it’s a must-stop if you happen to have a green thumb on your list this year. They offer a variety of plants and curated decor items for outdoor spaces, including planters, bird feeders, chimes and patio furniture. They also offer planting workshops.
3158 Los Feliz Blvd. (323) 665-3801
Just before you reach the sign letting you know you’re entering Glendale from Atwater Village is Rolling Robots. While they focus mostly on educational workshops for children and teens, they stock up on gadgets galore for the holidays, including robot kits you can assemble and program yourself. We’re told there are some especially exciting Star Wars gifts headed to their shelves this season, just in time for Christmas and the release of The Last Jedi.
1800 S Brand Blvd. (818) 241-2308
Treehaus offers clothes for men, women and children, plus art, home decor, books and toys. Find kid’s toys and clothes up front, including printed shirts and handmade dolls. Progress further for housewares and fashionable choices for adults, which may include everything from bright mugs to decorative plates that bear lewd phrases in elegant scripts.
3153 Glendale Blvd. (323) 230-6776
Artist Serena Kojimoto’s Workshop sk offers unique, handmade jewelry, some sleek and minimalist while others dazzle with colorful stones. Pieces are presented alongside home decor items, such as a beautiful glazed bowls or high-quality candles.
3129 1/2 Glendale Blvd. (323) 913-1318
With a prominent location, at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Micheltorena, this flagship storefront is very inviting. Inside, you’ll find Clare V’s own line of Los Angeles made luxury handbags ($225 and up) and clutches ($115 and up) made with leather from Italy. Monogramming is available on site. Other stores in New York, Santa Monica and West Hollywood.
3339 Sunset Blvd. (323) 592-3115
Maria Chavez has owned the shop for 30 years. On one side is a market and what was once its meat department is now her antique shop, offering great finds, at a good price, if you look carefully through her items. She has the usual tables, benches, chairs, mirrors, china and glasses, vintage and modern. One item in particular that was quite a find: a lovely vintage red cape that won’t last long at its thrift shop price.
3214 Sunset Blvd. (323) 665-8940
This shop has oils, soaps, throws ($95), fine jewelry—designed by the store’s owner Kathryn Bentley—and some absolutely great shoes, like black and white checkered Mary Jane’s ($350), T-Straps ($370) and a couple of awesome clog designs: one with tassels ($290) and a pair called “Pony” made with what resembles coarse horsehair ($330).
1404 Micheltorena St. (323) 660-2000
We fell in love with this store’s collection of one-of-a-kind Olive Rose handmade dolls, $85 and up. The Arizona-based designer gives each its own personality and name and even designs and sews each doll’s unique clothes. Some of the dolls even turn inside out, what owner James Clark calls “topsy-turvy,” so you have two dolls in one. Also of note is whimsical artwork ($90 and $150) by Los Feliz resident and eastside real estate agent Tatiana Tensen and lots of home accents, like a hand-crank pepper mill made by a retired prosthesis maker and a stunning large green Victorian candelabra with angels and a patina for $312, though Clark said he may accept a negotiated offer. The truth is: it’s just fun to shop in this store.
3204 W. Sunset Blvd. (323) 644-2828
This Louisana-based shop is a welcome men and women’s boutique that just opened in September. “The community has been so welcoming,” said Manager Yelena Cardinal. Prices are very reasonable, which was one of the owner’s goals, Cardinal said. Of note: the store has a beautiful velvet gold wrap dress for $128 and other kimono dresses in various sizes and colors, ranging in price from $88 to $128. They also stock fine and custom jewelry, Spitfire sun-glasses ($50) and a really cool wallet ($45) that has a mechanism to push your credit cards out without opening it. Splurge and buy its accompanying leather case ($95).
3333 Sunset Blvd. (323) 922-6023
The Now Massage Boutique
If you need to take a load off during your shopping, you might consider this relatively new salon to Silver Lake (they have other shops in Santa Monica, Studio City and West Hollywood), which opened just about a year ago. They offer table Swedish, sports, prenatal and energy balancing massages and have been called “the dreamiest bohemian spa in L.A.” What’s special is the environment, created as an “exotic hideaway,” with natural wood surfaces, exposed beams, sheepskins and rawhides to “align with nature.” They also offer seated massages in a beautiful room dubbed “The Journey Room,” which continues the exotic hideaway theme. Also on hand are various bath soaps and bath teas (under $20), perfect for a stocking stuffer or two.
3329 Sunset Blvd. (323) 922-6007
The Plant Provocateur
You can easily miss this small plant and home décor shop, which is located next door to Muddy Paw Coffee (in fact, you have to walk through the coffee shop’s garden patio to get to it). The space is both studio and retail shop (only open on weekends) for Hank Jenkins, who has created plant designs for Traxxx Restaurant and Bar in Downtown L.A.’s Union Station as well as for the Hammer Museum in Westwood. Plants, pillows and “cool products for living an outdoor inspired lifestyle.”
3318 W. Sunset Blvd. (323) 774-4836
Sick City Records
If you’ve got a vinyl fan on your list, check out this local LP store. They’ve also got a lot of cool 1970s and 1980s concert t-shirts; think David Bowie, Michael Jackson, the Smiths and too many others to name.
3323 W. Sunset Blvd. (323) 668-2088
Stark Waxing Studio
Get yourself dolled up with a wax and while your waiting take a look at Stark’s abundance of fun stuff to buy. There’s something for just about everyone here: old fashioned toys (vintage-esque Roy Toy Log Building, books for kids, Christmas tree ornaments, lotions, greeting cards and tons of Christmas items like tree ornaments, an embroidered stocking ($88) and fun cookie plates and platters to leave a snack out for Santa.
3335 Sunset Blvd. (323) 666-3335
For the bicycle enthusiast on your list, Banker Supply has everything you need, including a “starter table display” that shows you everything you need to get you started and outfitted like a true L.A. biker, including pretty cool looking fluorescent bike helmets. They also carry bikes $299 and up and even an “electronic” variety.
1571 W. Sunset Blvd. (323) 507-8375
This is a store you might drive right on by if you can’t find street parking. But wait for the space and check out the store. It’s worth it. Owner Belinda Kazanci creates her own fabric designs, which are then created using handmade techniques, such as handprinting and screening, in an open-air factory in Bali, Indonesia. Each year, she creates a new line, so once they’re sold, they are gone. This year she has beautiful dresses, tops, dusters and pants in rust, green, gold and black hues. Of note is her wrap-around knit-jersey (a la Diane von Furstenberg), which is just as lovely, but less than half the price at $160.
1284 W. Sunset Blvd. (213) 291-9816
This new shop, just opened in September, makes unisex, made-in-L.A., 1960s-1970s vintage inspired clothes, like corduroy “Sailor” jackets ($115), jumpsuits ($145) and t-shirts. The colors are sherbet inspired: tangerine, lime green, lemon yellow and watermelon. Owner Lacey Micallef, lives in Highland Park. Of note: the store is “size accessible” up to 2XL. There’s also some pretty cool, colorful backpacks ($60.)
1829 W. Sunset Blvd. No phone: facebook.com/bigbudpress/
Echo Park Craft Fair
This two day event, December 9th and 10th will spread across two massive soundstages, occupying an entire block outside Mack Sennett Studios with locally sourced and curated items from ceramics to jewelry, handcrafting clothing, woodworking and art. What started as a community pop-up in 2010, founded by artists Rachel Craven and Beatrice Valenzuela, has expanded now to a downright must-go community event. Also on hand will be artisan food and coffee, a speciality cocktail bar and eclectic music by Dublab DJs.
Saturday, December 9th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, December 10th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrance fee: $10 or get a two-day ticket for $16.
1215 Bates Ave. No phone: echoparkcraftfair.com
Echo Park Time Travel Mart
This is a sparse but pretty cool “convenience store for time travelers” offering items that you “have to go back in time,” to use. Take a look around and have some fun with their wacky products, such as a bottle of Leeches (Nature’s Tiny Doctors) and Rinso Ultra Heavy Duty Laundry Detergent from 1910. When asked about these items one store employee just laughed and said, “We don’t want to give away too much of the joke.” They are also selling “Fresh! Dinosaur Eggs” for $9.99 (large) and $4.99 (small), which you soak in water up to 48 hours and then they expand and hatch into a plastic dinosaur. It’s all meant to be fun and educational, including a kit that turns a lemon into a powered clock. Plus, all proceeds go to support nonprofit tutoring and writing center 826LA. Now that’s cool.
1714 W. Sunset Blvd. (213) 413-3388
This shop, which expanded to Echo Park from Oakland, CA in 2015, features a thoughtfully curated selection of fine jewelry, artwork and both handcrafted and natural objects. Owner Lauren Wolf
studied jewelry design in the mountains of Mexico and went on to attend New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology as a student of their Jewelry Associate Degree Program. She creates small-batch jewelry and recently became known for her engagement rings. She also has on hand one-of-a-kind ceramic wall hangings and wind chimes (from $250) made with natural driftwood and other elements. Other items under $100 include ceramic dishes, candles, canisters and jewelry, all made with the same ethos of environmental sustainability.
1298 W. Sunset Blvd. (213) 947-3508
[Thrift Shops: If you’re on a budget and love to hunt for your gifts, there are a handful of thrift shops in Echo Park worth a look-see.]
A’s American Vintage
If you’re old enough to remember Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd’s “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” Saturday Night Live skits, you’ll remember their wacky plaid stretch pants. This shop has a wide assortment of them for $16 each. But our favorite item at this store was their Ralph Lauren pink and green rain boots in the window.
1707 Sunset Blvd. (213) 413-1945
Out of the Closet
This store, which benefits the Aids Healthcare Foundation, has the usual jeans, shirts, sweaters and coats, but they offer a wide assortment of hand-me-down furniture, if that is what you are looking for.
1724 W. Sunset Boulevard (213) 484-3913
Sunday’s Best Thrift Shop
Other than this store’s sweet cat, appropriately named “Sunday,” this store has tons of holiday sweaters to fit every taste, including the beloved “ugly Holiday sweater” that’s so fun to wear and lots of other “vintage” looks. There’s also a nice selection of scarves ($1.99 to $2.99), as well as polka dot, plaid and plan bow ties ($5.99 and $6.99).
1547 Sunset Blvd. (213) 986-5695