The Grove Bookstore | Photo courtesy of gtall, Flickr
Malls in L.A. have all your shopping bases covered. The world’s top fashion designers, clothing labels and chain stores are well represented, making it easy to get whatever you need. From ultra expensive, celebrity-worthy fashions to cost-effective yet fabulous outfits, L.A. malls are destinations in themselves.
More than just a shopping center, Hollywood & Highland is a complete entertainment experience. Outdoor concerts bring a sense of community in the summer, while tourists on Hollywood Boulevard make for spectacular people watching. Visitors sign up for guided tours of the world-famous Dolby Theatre, home to the Academy Awards® and other star-studded events, while movie enthusiasts enjoy the central plaza’s Babylonian-themed architecture, built in homage to set pieces from the classic D.W. Griffith film, Intolerance. If you're using L.A.'s public transportation system, Hollywood & Highland Center is one of the only malls in L.A. accessible via subway (Metro Red Line from Downtown). Don't forget to check out the upper walkways surrounding the central courtyard, a great place to snap photos of the world-famous Hollywood sign.
One of the newest major shopping malls in L.A., this masterpiece of faux architecture lets you step into a wonderland of cute trolleys, water fountains synchronized to music, cobblestone pathways and your favorite store offerings. With Nordstrom, American Girl Place, Pottery Barn Kids and the Los Angeles flagship Apple Store, the Grove has won a special place in the hearts of shoppers throughout the L.A. area. This is an ideal place to shop and enjoy L.A.’s perfect weather, its plentiful sunshine and its always-present entertainment. You can occasionally catch free concerts in the central plaza, and with more than 500,000 square feet of stores, you’ll have plenty to see during your visit. There’s also a 14-screen movie theater in the mall frequented by locals, visitors and even the occasional celeb. The Grove is located next to Farmers Market.
Built in the early 80s, the Beverly Center is home to more than 160 stores, most of them of the upscale variety. The food court is known for its high-quality offerings, and the mall continues to enjoy favor among the celebrity set. If you’re looking for department stores, you can’t beat the Beverly Center’s selection. Anchored by Macy’s and Bloomingdales, it has what you need to satisfy your craving. If you’re into high-end fashion, be sure to check out Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton or Armani Exchange. A more pocket-friendly store in the mall, H&M is another big hit with people crazy about fashion. If the mall feels a little familiar, it might be because you’ve seen it on the silver screen.
Santa Monica Place, a hangout for mallrats and fashionistas alike, has undergone a $265 million makeover. The revamp was unveiled in August 2010, and features open-air walkways, sun-filled spaces, spacious public areas and even a third-level, rooftop Dining Deck. Shopping-wise, Santa Monica Place is the place to find luxe brands, including Burberry, Juicy Couture, Kitson, Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors. For more shopping or to enjoy some entertainment, the famous Third Street Promenade is just steps away.
The $400 million Americana at Brand features a vibrant blend of shopping, dining and entertainment with creative residential living in a beautiful park-like setting in downtown Glendale. The project occupies 15.5 acres and approximately 900,000 square feet of retail/commercial space, including 475,000 square feet of contemporary retail, restaurants, and an 18-screen Pacific Theatres Cinema. In the fall of 2013, Americana at Brand will debut a brand new Nordstrom store, which is relocating from the Glendale Galleria. At its heart, The Americana at Brand features a grand, two-acre park complemented by fountains, public art and generous open space. Promenades, meandering walkways and open-air plazas invite guests to shop, stroll, dine outdoors and just enjoy the beauty of the setting with family and friends.
If you’re looking for a complete entertainment experience to complement your shopping spree, head to the Glendale Galleria. Featuring a children’s play area, a fabulous food court, several restaurants and numerous spas and salons, you’ll find yourself doing a whole lot more than just shopping. But don’t overlook the shopping selection. Anchored by Nordstrom (which will remain open until fall 2013 when it relocates to The Americana at Brand), Macy’s and JCPenney, the Glendale Galleria features plenty of places where you can flex your credit limit. There’s even a three-level Target store where you can get just about anything.
Located in the heart of the Westside is Westfield Century City, an open-air shopping destination with more than 100 boutiques featuring premier brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, and Coach. This shopping center is also home to Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. Westfield Century City went through a $127 million renovation in 2007, and is now considered one of the trendiest and upscale malls in the area. When you get tired of shopping, you can catch a movie at the AMC/IMAX Century City 15 Theatres or grab a bite to eat at one of the mall’s several restaurants, including Pink Taco and RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen. Diners can also choose fresh fare, and fresh air, at the alfresco setting of the Dining Terrace.
Perhaps the mall wasn’t invented in the Valley, but the Valley is where it was perfected. Located in Canoga Park, this mall features more than 340 stores and boasts the largest Nordstrom in the L.A. area. After a $330 million renovation and expansion, the completely refurbished mall gleams like never before, with three-story glass atriums, rich wood and marble elements, lush greenery, elaborate water features and upscale dining. A 120,000-square-foot Neiman Marcus has joined the ranks of luxury retailers like Cartier, Tiffany & Co. and Coach. Westfield Topanga is also building The Village, a $500 million, 30-acre shopping, entertainment and residential district that will connect Westfield Topanga to the north and Westfield Promenade to the south, making it the largest mall in Southern California. The first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2013.
If you’re looking for even more shopping adventures in L.A., be sure to visit Universal CityWalk Hollywood, which is just outside Universal Studios Hollywood; FIG at 7th, which is Downtown’s shopping mall; and both Westfield Fashion Square and the Sherman Oaks Galleria, which make the San Fernando Valley a destination for shopping fanatics.