Since 1821, when this then-Mexican harbor town opened to foreign trade, San Pedro has been a hotbed of shops fulfilling the material needs of travelers, sailors and locals. Today, its relaxed, working class atmosphere is an interesting contrast to some of its more affluent neighbors. From the bustling L.A. Waterfront to the fast-changing Downtown shopping and arts district, San Pedro's small, locally owned businesses still rule the scene. Friendly store owners will tell you their history while helping you find the perfect purchase. Read on for some of the best places for apparel, accessories, and recreational gear in town.
Crafted at the Port of Los Angeles
Tucked among the warehouses along East 22nd Street near the water, this huge weekend market can be a bit tricky to find. Once there, parking is free, and the space is dog-friendly.
Artisan vendors in the cavernous 1940s era warehouse sell everything from vegan bath bombs at 88kitty to ceramics and textiles by Adewole Arts, CharMel Handcrafted Jewelry, and San Pedro's own Paradise Preserves and San Pedro Saddle Co. leather goods.
Don't miss the San Pedro Art Association Gallery (Market Stall 136), which exhibits the work of dozens of local artists and craftspeople.
Check out the event calendar for classes on pottery, candle-making, glass blowing and more.
Bonus: the market is adjacent to local brewery Brouwerij West, so non-shoppers can slip out and wait for their crafty companions to join them for a pint.
Badfish Clothing Co.
Badfish Clothing Co. was founded as a “skate/surf punk” shop for original tees, hats and more, along with records and paint. Located in the heart of the Downtown San Pedro shopping district, this place is both welcoming and way too cool. Shirts and hats with designs from local artists hang alongside more well-known streetwear brands, with a good helping of San Pedro pride. Ask about custom designs and in-house screenprinting for something more personalized. Their gear-centric outpost is a little farther inland, for those in the market for a new skateboard.
Fourth generation chorizo maker Humberto Raygoza - aka The Chori-Man - opened his brick and mortar shop in the summer of 2017. Located walking distance from the LA Waterfront, the tiny space is dominated by a long kitchen, where Raygoza prepares his famous chorizos and meats with quality ingredients - no fillers, no nitrates.
The Chori-Man signature chorizos are sold raw and frozen in one-pound packs: Zacatecano Red Chorizo mixed with guajillo dried red chiles and vinegar; Tolucan Green Chorizo made with poblano chiles; Argentinian White Pork chorizo with garlic, fennel, and wine; and the sweet and savory Maple Habanero Chorizo. There's also a house-made Soyrizo made with organic soy and the Zacatecano blend of chilies and spices.
Since 1991, Drop-In Gifts has been the go-to place for San Pedrans looking for greeting cards, gifts and collectibles on 6th Street. What makes this place stand out from the other card-and-figurine stores of the world is owner Darka Klaric - locals claim she has a supernatural ability to match customers with what they need. In no place is the neighborhood’s famed small town charm more apparent than when the person from whom you buy your San Pedro snap-backs and Hawaiian shirts introduces you to her pet birds and guides you to the exactly right handmade soap for your sister’s birthday gift.
The Grand Emporium
Formerly a high-end gift shop, this distinct 7th street storefront is now stocked with classic vinyl, vintage books, movies and pop culture memorabilia at reasonable prices. Proprietor Chuck Klaus is a helpful and knowledgeable presence - the story goes that he took over the shop from his wife after she suggested he use the store to clear out some of his vast record collection. However Chuck felt about this, the public has benefitted. NOTE: the Emporium is open Thursday through Saturday only.
Renzwear is a beloved mom and pop shop in the San Pedro Waterfront Arts District that specializes in custom artwork, silkscreening and embroidery. A San Pedro native, Rennie Nunez is a veteran cartoonist with a background working at Universal Studios Hollywood, Warner Brothers, Ruby Spears, Filmation, and other well known animation companies. Rennie and his wife, Veronica opened Renzwear in 1998 with a mission to help the community with everything from business logos to t-shirts for local schools. Stop by Renzwear and pick up a souvenir San Pedro t-shirt, or choose from a variety of shirts, hats, hoodies and zip-up sweatshirts.
Founded by self-proclaimed “Sneaker Freak” Jean Grisard to remedy lack of quality sneaker shops in the area, Street Sole delivers current streetwear trends to the South Bay. Featuring new and consignment gear from Adidas, Bathing Ape, Supreme and other cult brands, you may find a few rarities here. The sleek, black and white space on West 6th Street is tastefully lined with sneakers, hats and apparel, and likely a number of awed young people browsing the goods.