The Best Shopping Experiences in California

3803 Ray Street
At this colorful corner store in North Park, Mexican handicrafts reign supreme. Pick up such gifts as hand-embroidered pillows and table runners, hand-painted wooden stools, glassware, and rainbow huaraches. This wholly original store is the brainchild of Elexia de la Parra, who grew up in Tijuana, studied culinary arts in San Diego, and then globetrotted a bit before turning her passions into a business. Her goal was to create a shop that both celebrated Mexico’s vibrant artisanal culture and supported its makers—a percentage of each sale is donated to an organization that provides no-interest loans to female entrepreneurs in Oaxaca. When de la Parra’s not at the shop, she’s leading trips to Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende for lovers of market tours, cooking classes, and artisans’ studios. Dubbed Eat Drink Cook Mexico, the forays double as treasure hunts for her shop. Pro tip: Before you visit, check Artelexia’s events calendar for evening crafting workshops.
Liberty Station, San Diego, CA, USA
Built in the 1920s, San Diego’s onetime Naval Training Center began its transformation into a cultural and retail space in 2000, when the city bought this massive Spanish colonial revival complex to house galleries and shops as well as concert, movie, and lecture venues. The shopping is largely culinary here, with food hall–style purveyors of everything from coffee to pasta (don’t miss the vinegar tasting station at Baker & Olive). But there are also local accessory shops worth visiting: Down a small, out-of-the-way corridor, you’ll find the only wholesale outlet of Double Happiness Jewelry & Home. This San Diego–based producer of handmade, one-of-a-kind pieces is a favorite of celebrities (Oprah, Cindy Crawford, and Blake Lively, to name a few). The jewel-encrusted hoop earrings are especially hard to resist. Other Liberty Station accessories worth checking out: the rotating assortment of local home goods and accessories at Moniker General (look for Norden Goods candles and Bradley Mountain bags).
2241 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA
A game-changer for Newport Beach when it opened in 1976, this boutique is still Orange County’s arbiter of style. Owned by a trio of sisters—their pioneering mother launched the store to give women a place to buy simple yet elegant designer pieces—the boutique is usually the first to stock labels that are winning acclaim in Europe, but haven’t yet won notice in the United States. Buying trips in Milan, Paris, New York, and occasionally L.A. beget an eclectic array of clothes and accessories that are at once glamorous and accessible. The owners cultivate relationships with their designers—including Peter Cohen, Denis Colomb, Daniela Gregis, The Row, and Sofie D’Hoore—and also host special meet-the-designer events for customers. There’s a homey familiarity every time a patron steps into the spacious shop, with high arching windows revealing yachts outside and glass portholes looking down to the Pacific. Locals’ tip: For a one-on-one styling session, book a private appointment with the sisters on a Sunday.
440 South Anaheim Boulevard
Starting in 2014, this collection of historic buildings was reinvented as a gastronomic hub—helping to revitalize the city’s downtown in the process. An early 20th-century citrus packing warehouse became the Anaheim Packing House, a virtual United Nations of food: Walking through the 42,000-square-foot hall, you’ll find citrusy ceviche at Urbana, fried chicken sandwiches at Sweetbird, garden-fresh hot pot at Rolling Boil, organic curry at ADYA, and matcha shaved snow at I Am. Craft beer—quickly becoming a signature of Southern California—is in no short supply, thanks to bars like Anaheim Brewery, housed inside a 1925 mission revival building. A circa 1917 marmalade factory became the MAKE Building, where you can linger over a flight of California reds at Pali Wine Co. or a plate of pulled pork at Jav’s Barbecue. The compact district is distinctly Californian, from the succulents and air plants inside to the palm trees and olive groves of Farmers Park outside—a grassy knoll where, at any given time, you might happen upon a free yoga class, a gardening demo, or a live acoustic band playing under the sun.
3434 Via Lido, Newport Beach, CA 92663, USA
A charming collection of shops on the water, Lido Marina Village would seem of another time, were it not for its completely modern mix of design boutiques and eateries. Built in the 1970s, the outdoor shopping center was revitalized in 2017, attracting a prestigious lineup of Southern California brands—Jenni Kayne’s breezy-chic clothing, the bold leather goods of Clare Vivier, and Broken English’s evocative jewelry—along with Le Labo fragrance apothecary, home goods shop Serena & Lily, and even destination restaurant Nobu. Wooden boardwalks are strung with bistro lights, hand-painted signs direct patrons from shop to shop, and a relaxed savoir faire pervades the village. It’s not all shopping either: Coffee at Zinque, Curl Fitness’s yoga classes, and blowouts at TReSs Apothecary + Salon make it a locals’ hangout too. It’s the kind of place people linger, especially on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, when a local musician plays on the main deck. Even more fun: Arrive by boat, into one of the 47 marina slips.
891 North Palm Canyon Drive
Since opening her first store in Palm Springs in 2002, fashion designer Trina Turk has forged a style that’s become synonymous with desert chic—an inimitable riot of color, pattern, and texture. Her original shop has now expanded twice to fill an entire 3,800-square-foot Albert Frey building, helping spark the revitalization of the city’s upscale Uptown Design District. Designed by Kelly Wearstler, the interior’s penny tile flooring, vintage foil wallpaper, and Lucite and acid-yellow accents create a glamorous, playful backdrop for Turk’s trendsetting women’s and men’s collections. This being Palm Springs, an entire department is devoted to swimwear (don’t miss the dressing room’s wallpaper). You’ll also find curated pieces that fit with the Trina Turk aesthetic, such as pool floats from Sunny Life, Missoni Home towels, Dinosaur Design resin accessories, and Jonathan Adler home goods. Insider’s tip: This is the brand’s only location where you’ll find vintage treasures, including Missoni and Pucci caftans, that Turk hand selected.
388 N Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92262, USA
The high desert seems to generate its own creative force field, attracting and inspiring artists for decades. Today’s generation showcases its work at BKB Handcrafted Art + Design. The Palm Springs outlet of this shop (the original is in Joshua Tree) features locally crafted, modern pieces, each one chosen for its soul and authenticity. You’ll find pendant lights and vessels by the shop’s founder, ceramicist Brian Bosworth, along with desert-influenced weavings by All Roads Studio, block prints by Aili Schmeltz, and sculpture by Jonathan Cross, displayed in a gallery-like space that’s both minimalist and warm. The shop’s selective, exclusive element extends to locally made olive oil, jewelry, and furniture, too, making it a must-visit for thoughtful gifts and souvenirs. BKB has also become a stylish and unparalleled hub for the desert’s creative community, regularly hosting art openings, artist talks, and events. Pro tip: Swing by on a Saturday—that’s when artists usually drop by to deliver new work or just hang out.
1298 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026, USA
This highly curated yet laid-back Echo Park art gallery and shop is where the desert meets the sea, and independent LA and international artists are celebrated for their unique individuality. Near Dodger Stadium, this shop is the second California outpost from Oakland jewelry designer Lauren Wolf. Here, in the sun-soaked showroom, techniques and materials vary, but one common theme marries every object: They’re all handcrafted. A natural and organic aesthetic pervades, and the stock includes decorative objects, custom jewelry, art, and ceramics. Vintage Moroccan kilim rugs top exposed concrete floors, and large cacti are scattered about. The soundtrack: old, rare cuts; high-school marching band covers of contemporary hits, and DJ mixes by Chances with Wolves. Wolf’s eponymous line (she’s best known for one-of-a-kind engagement rings) leads the gallery-wide charge on sustainability: diamonds are certified conflict-free, and metals are recycled. The sales staff is as creative as its artisans, and personalized, no-pressure service is a signature (no appointment needed). Pro tip: Keep an eye on the shop’s Instagram feed for lively art openings every two months, and frequent trunk shows. When seeking a distinctive gift, visit Esqueleto first: Its wonders include 10,000-year-old megalodon teeth from a South Carolina riverbed. It doesn’t get cooler than this.
8850 Washington Boulevard
A sense of discovery pervades at this innovative, open-air retail development in Culver City, which opened in 2016. Six buildings house first-to-market concept shops, pop-ups, and creative company headquarters. The place is constantly evolving, with a stylish lineup of businesses stepping in temporarily (St. Frank housewares, Charlotte Stone shoes) or permanently (Bird Brooklyn’s first West Coast outpost, Magasin men’s boutique, design shop Poketo). Be sure to hit some Southern California favorites, including The Edit by Freda Salvador and Janessa Leone, for shoes and hats, and Reservoir L.A. for an impeccable edit of local fashion brands. You’ll also find great iced coffee at Blue Bottle, acai bowls at São Acai, and tacos at the unmissable Loqui. Studded with cacti and succulents, as well as hanging chairs, the outdoor areas encourage leisurely shopping breaks. Keep an eye on the Platform’s schedule of events for outdoor concerts, film screenings, and food festivals. Pro tip: Put aside 35 minutes for an Aesop Express Facial at the cult Aussie beauty shop—it’s one of only four of the brand’s shops worldwide that offers them.
8500 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069, USA
The name Fred Segal—and especially the logo—encapsulates L.A. style. Since the early 1960s, it’s been where Angelenos shop for their denim-heavy wardrobes and, in more recent history, where such trendsetting SoCal brands as Juicy Couture, J Brand, and True Religion got their start. These classics and many others line the walls of the iconic Melrose shop, but the 2017 opening of a 13,000-square-foot retail space on Sunset Boulevard started a new chapter. Along with its core seasonal collections, the shop holds 10 brand-specific shops-within-shops, along with pop-ups that change from day to day. The result is a space that feels like a high-fashion bazaar. Channel your inner treasure hunter and dig in for a long while—you’ll be rewarded with finds from AMO Denim, Seeker, Hartel, Levi’s, Marie Veronique, CAP Beauty, and Dita Eyewear. The whole selection is carefully curated to give shoppers something unique, whether it’s a vintage Comme des Garçons piece or an entire collection straight from Libertine’s runway. Must-do: Grab a coffee at Fred Segal Café by Tartine (which is so appealing for lunch that it causes an uptick in shoppers around noon each day) and snap a photo in the living room swing, with the entirety of downtown as your backdrop.
3339 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026, USA
Since launching her handbags and accessories line in 2008, accessories designer Clare Vivier has mastered the delicate combination of Parisian chic, American prep, and California cool. While her brand has spread to seven boutiques across California and New York, her flagship shop in Silverlake may best personify her brand. Two walls of windows let the California sun stream in each morning and afternoon, and shadowboxes designed by local architect Barbara Bestor hold the goods that lure passersby along Sunset Boulevard. Technicolor best sellers such as the La Tropezienne, Simple Tote, and coveted Foldover Clutches may sit on copies of the most recent Paris Review or Louis Vuitton City Guides, which are also for sale. Everything in the well-rounded space has a connection to France, Los Angeles, or Vivier herself. The shop stocks jewelry by her friends Annie Costello Brown and Grace Lee, for example, along with French Veja sneakers and candles from West Hollywood’s iconic Chateau Marmont. Pro tip: Head here for a last-minute gift—clutches and other leather items can be monogrammed on the spot.
7000 Romaine St, Los Angeles, CA 90038, USA
This shop took over one of Los Angeles’s most iconic buildings when it opened in 2012—the art deco–styled former headquarters of business magnate Howard Hughes. But Just One Eye’s pioneering founder, Paola Russo, has managed to put her own original stamp on the space. The luxury concept store is arranged like a gallery, showcasing rare and one-of-a-kind editions of clothing, jewelry, vintage furniture, and contemporary works by such artists as Takashi Murakami. Finds range from crocodile backpacks designed in collaboration with the Row and artist Damien Hirst to a survival kit created with input from the Navy Seals. Over the years, Just One Eye has grown and evolved with shops-in-shops. Installations may feature gowns by Alexandre Vauthier—French haute couture designs sold since the store’s beginning—or Daniela Villegas’s playful jewelry inspired by nature. Somehow both intimate and grand, the eclectic boutique is decidedly gallery-like, but approachable, too. Knowledgeable staff act almost as docents, guiding customers one-on-one and offering them coffee. Insiders’ tip: Valet parking is complimentary, helping to assuage any guilt over splurging on that Gucci bag.
302 West Matilija Street
For bibliophiles, a beautiful bookstore is akin to a church. Voices hush, smiles abound, and books are handled gently, like precious relics. An old home packed with an extensive collection of used and new titles, Bart’s Books opened in 1964, when Richard Bartinsdale’s collection became so huge that he constructed bookcases outside, so passersby could peruse the titles. Instead of a cash register, he left coffee cans on the shelves so customers could leave payment. Today, Bart’s is the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the country—and the books outside are still for sale via the honor system. But the offerings extend indoors too. If you’re looking for cookbooks and culinary lore, check in the building’s kitchen. The living room features poetry. Art books are in the gallery. The rest of the place is a maze of bookshelves with corrugated tin roofing and open-air seating areas for reading at your leisure. Don’t worry about rain: The books are fairly well protected, and while a few may be lost in the rare heavy storm, most make it through perfectly fine.
209 West Ojai Avenue
Walk through the foyer of Ojai’s Beacon Coffee and into this light and airy crafter’s paradise. When you emerge, you may have a new project or two in your hands. Beautifully curated by husband-wife team Kirk and Anna Nozaki (who have a background in fashion and graphic design, respectively) Cattywampus Crafts is filled with all-natural products that seem made for an Instagram or Pinterest feed. The store brings texture to life: inventory includes luxurious fabrics, books, plant dyes, ceramics, jewelry, and clothing. As you look, you’ll realize that they’re more than things to buy—they’re also ideas to inspire your own creativity. Go it alone with a book and materials, or choose an in-house craft class from a wealth of offerings that cover knitting, crocheting, macramé, weaving, stitchery, mending, and dyeing. Pro tip: Cattywampus sells objects by local artists. Don’t miss Margins’ beautiful moon calendars that are available in a variety of colors.
315 N Montgomery St, Ojai, CA 93023, USA
This playful picnic and wine shop is quintessentially Ojai. Set in an old Spanish house, Tipple & Ramble sells indoor/outdoor decor, vintage and new barware, retro games, coolers, and small-batch specialty food items. Stock up on artisanal s’mores kits for your next campout; cocktail mixers and trays for entertaining; or cheese knives and handmade cutting boards for a stylish picnic. Then step onto the patio, which feels like entering a neighbor’s bohemian backyard, a lush landscape of palms, cacti, and hammocks. On Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 7 p.m., the patio becomes a wine bar. Try a cheese and charcuterie board or hummus and seasonal vegetables, paired with wine, beer, or Mexican Coke from the bar, which is built into a vintage trailer. Pro tip: The patio faces east, the essential direction to enjoy Ojai’s Pink Moment—the famous sunset that turns everything a glowing pink. Plan to arrive early enough to get a glass of rosé and snag the table in the front of the yard for the best end-of-day view.
4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
In an age when many independent bookstores have surrendered to the advance of chain stores and Amazon, City Lights is a true survivor. Since it was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, it has served as a gathering place for San Francisco’s literary communities. Everyone from beat poets to left-wing critics of America have found a welcome here. City Lights is also a publishing house, with Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems being perhaps the single most famous book it has put out, though it counts scores of other works by some of America’s leading contemporary literary figures on its list. You can drop in anytime to find an unexpected tome, and the store also has a crowded calendar of readings.

540 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Fly fishing may not be top of mind while walking through San Francisco’s Financial District, but fantasies of casting in crystal clear rivers and commencing the day around a campfire are sure to materialize once you step inside Lost Coast Outfitters. The upscale sporting goods store specializes in top-of-the-line fly fishing gear, but shop owner George Revel has an eye for provisions that tug at the inner outdoorsman in all of us, such as indestructible Yeti coolers, leather-trimmed duffle bags from Filson, and classic Simms flannels in timeless red-and-black check. The grand historic Beaux Arts building only adds to the appeal, as does the 300-plus-bottle whiskey collection hidden behind a wall of waders and waterproof booties. Pro tip: Inquire about joining the exclusive Tin Cup Society to gain access to speakers, casting clinics, expeditions, and curated gear packages.
2900 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
While Heath Ceramics is over 60 years old, having been founded in 1948 in Sausalito, their colorful bud vases, dinnerware and tiles have enjoyed a boom in recent years. Straddling the line between a rough, hand-crafted aesthetic and an elegant, understated quality, their pieces are hard to miss in the pages of design magazines as well as at the homes of some of your most tasteful friends. The new retail location on 18th Street includes a workshop alongside a café serving Blue Bottle coffee. There is also a smaller location in the Ferry Building.

3075 Sacramento St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
In a city where cooking has been elevated to a lifestyle, provisions for the refined kitchen are in high demand. And no one has been able to meet that need quite like March. The whitewashed, sun-dappled store on an upscale stretch of Sacramento Street inspires instant kitchen envy in all. Pungent spices are displayed in black glass jars with custom labels, hand-thrown serving wear is stacked in elegant totems on the wood shelves, and a fat-bellied AGA stove stands against a wall of spotless subway tile. If you aren’t a home cook, you will vow to become one after a visit to March. The proprietor, the perpetually chic Sam Hamilton, came from New York and a career in fashion before finding her way here. She even interned with Alice Waters for a spell at Chez Panisse, which helps explain Hamilton’s knack for curating items—like handwoven tortillero baskets, Parigi stemware, and fishmongering knives by Pallares Solsona—that aren’t just beautiful but also useful to cooks who actually put their kitchens to work.
2416 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
There are a few contemporary boutique brands poised to put San Francisco on the fashion map. Freda Salvador shoes have become the “it” footwear for a subset of effortlessly cool creative women. Editors and designers can be spotted sporting the brand’s modestly heeled modern loafers, mules, boots, and sandals, which come in gorgeous colored leathers and satins. The shoes are all designed in Freda Salvador’s Sausalito studio by cofounders Megan Papay and Cristina Palomo-Nelson, and fabricated in a tiny family-run factory in Elda, Spain. Quality is paramount, as is wearability, but it’s the styles that have truly set the brand apart. The San Francisco flagship on Fillmore Street attracts a ladylike version of the obsessed sneakerhead—Freda fetishists who collect new styles like playing cards.
291 Geary Boulevard
“Fewer, better things” is this fashion brand’s motto, and you will be tempted to toss out everything in your closet once you run your fingers over Cuyana’s silk striped tees, poplin button-downs, leather bags, and simple cashmere crewneck sweaters. These luxury basics are all crafted by artisans around the globe and are timeless in design—Cuyana truly intends for its pieces to last a lifetime. Its retail space may be located in the heart of bustling Union Square, but its second-floor location, accessed via elevator, is easy to miss. Once upstairs, customers get a glimpse of what a life with less could look like—the space was designed by Lauren Nelson Design to look more like a stylish live-work loft than a store, with Eames chairs and floating wood shelves sparsely styled with impeccable objects. A few choice items hang on each clothing rack—a literal representation of the brand’s “lean closet” philosophy. Cuyana will even help customers get started: With each purchase there is the option to receive a reusable bag to fill with items “that aren’t helping you live your most beautiful life.” Drop it in the mail with the included prepaid shipping label and your items will be donated to women in need through the nonprofit organization H.E.A.R.T.
500 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
The Culinary Institute of America opened in the former Copia building in 2017, and, in doing so, resuscitated a vision of a foodie attraction in downtown Napa that celebrates the valley’s long and colorful epicurean history. The facility, originally built by the Mondavi family as a food and wine center, now operates as a cooking school and gastrohub, complete with classes, tasting experiences, panel discussions, and art collections. There’s also a restaurant where visitors can dine on food prepared by CIA student chefs-in-training, and a store that rivals Sur La Table for its selection of kitchenware. In spring and summer, be sure to stroll the culinary gardens, which are so large they stretch across First Street.
25 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448, USA
Healdsburg SHED dubs itself a “modern grange,” and the name is both original and apt. In the olden days, the grange was where a farming community gathered to share experiences and meals. Today, in downtown Healdsburg, SHED serves a similar role. Part of the experience revolves around furnishings—the metal barn-like structure is a shop that sells high-end goods for the home, kitchen, and garden. The bulk of it, however, is about food. A produce department sells fruits, vegetables, and flowers from organic farms within a 10-mile radius (including Home Farm, which belongs to SHED owners Doug Lipton and Cindy Daniel). A mill grinds grain into flour. A larder stores cheese and charcuterie from local artisans. There’s also a coffee bar, which uses beans from Flying Goat Coffee, and a fermentation bar, which brews its own kombucha. The main attraction is the SHED Café, which, under the direction of Michelin star-winning chef Perry Hoffman, serves dishes that spotlight local growers. Menus here change daily but might include a marinated kohlrabi salad with sunflower seeds, or Liberty Farms duck leg with carrot puree. SHED offers regular classes during which participants can learn how do everything from pickle vegetables to winterize crops.
610 1st St, Napa, CA 94559, USA
Think of the Oxbow like a high-end shopping mall for food and wine. On the east side of the Napa River, the market brings together a number of epicurean purveyors under one roof (well, technically, it’s three different roofs). The result: Oxbow is a good place to go for a great meal. Food vendors include Hog Island Oyster Co., Kara’s Cupcakes, Ritual Coffee Roasters, and Three Twins Ice Cream. There’s a stand-alone location of Gott’s Roadside, the St. Helena drive-in that first became famous under the name Taylor’s Refresher. Also at the market: outposts of Model Bakery and The Fatted Calf butcher and charcuterie. The Oxbow even houses a handful of merchants, including Hudson’s Greens & Goods; Napa Bookmine; and the Napa Valley Distillery, a local spirits manufacturer that sells tonics and syrups at this location. Pro tip: Swing by the Oxbow on Tuesday nights, when nearly every vendor remains open late for “Locals’ Night.”
738 Main Street
Just about every aspect of the farm experience comes to life at Long Meadow Ranch’s public-facing facility in St. Helena. The relaxed destination includes an outdoor café, a restaurant named Farmstead, and a general store with wine- and olive oil–tasting bars—as well as an open-air pavilion that is perfect for events. Start mornings at the café, where you can enjoy a cup of Stumptown coffee and freshly baked goods at picnic tables in the shade of a giant blue spruce. Later in the day, hit Farmstead for a lunch of salads made with vegetables grown on-site or for a rack of the restaurant’s signature Heritage St. Louis ribs. (Pro tip: The “brick chicken,” or chicken cooked beneath a brick, can’t be beat.) If you’re visiting in the early afternoon, go to the general store to sample flights of Long Meadow Ranch wines or olive oils or to stock up on such artisan provisions as locally made cheese and salumi. Executive Chef Stephen Barber also hosts regular lunches and dinners at a chef’s table inside the property’s historic Logan Ives House. These meals can include a walk through the culinary garden, followed by a multi-course meal paired with Long Meadow Ranch wines.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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