In Boyle Heights, you'll find a fairly large concentration of retail on Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard. Here, you can walk for blocks and pass shop after shop filled with everything from clothing to toys to household items. In addition, you'll find plenty of retail spots on 1st Street. The 1st Street and Cesar Chavez shops are easily accessible via multiple stops on Metro's Gold Line. Read on and discover some of the eclectic shops in Boyle Heights.
Candelas Guitars is a custom guitar shop where multiple generations of luthiers have been making instruments since 1928. Candelas makes a variety of guitars, including classical, flamenco and mariachi styles. Over the years, they've made pieces for many noteworthy musicians, including Andre Segovia, Charo, Los Lobos, Ozomatli and many more. A Candelas guitar is even displayed at the Smithsonian Institute.
El Mercado de Los Angeles
El Mercado de Los Angeles is a two-story hub of shops and restaurants in Boyle Heights, near the border of East Los Angeles. Known locally as El Mercadito, the marketplace opened in 1968 and holds decades of neighborhood history. You'll find the retail portion of the market near the parking lot entrance. Inside, vendors pack stalls with everything from religious figures to cowboy boots to Misfits t-shirts. The stalls bleed into each other, with eye-catching items popping out at every turn through the aisles. Give yourself some time to explore. Note: if you're walking to El Mercadito from the Metro Gold Line stop at Indiana, follow the parking signs to enter through the nearby alley.
Emma's Treasures Boutique
Thrifters will want to head to Emma's Treasures Boutique when in Boyle Heights. It's a small shop, but its racks are perfect for finding secondhand items at reasonable prices. Clothing ranges from vintage fashion to newer, gently used pieces. You won't know what you'll find here on any given day, but there's a good chance it will be something you need in your closet.
Located on 1st Street near Mariachi Plaza, Espacio 1839 mixes t-shirts, accessories and books with an emphasis on feminism and cultural identity. The book selection here is fantastic. It pulls together authors like science fiction hero Octavia Butler and feminist theorist bell hooks, along with multiple titles on subjects like the Zapatistas and books from famed Latin American writers like Pablo Neruda. T-shirts and accessories run the gamut from humorous to political and include some fun odds and ends for the music fanatics too.
La Casa del Musico
Mariachi Plaza's reputation as the spot to find musicians specializing in this traditional Mexican style of music goes back to the 1930s, and within the vicinity of the plaza itself, you'll find stores that reflect this heritage. La Casa del Musico is a small shop with a skeleton mariachi musician painted on its facade. Inside, you'll find instruments as well as songbooks to help you learn how to play various styles of music, including mariachi and cumbia tunes.
It's incredibly easy to lose track of time inside Other Books. This shop's selection of new and used reading material is impeccable. You'll stumble across hard-to-find vintage titles, hefty art books, non-fiction books that delve into subjects like Native American history and violence in Central America, plus the latest fiction from writers like Junot Diaz and Haruki Murakami. The indie comics selection is great, but what's even more astounding is the collection of zines. If you're looking for material from local writers and artists, this is the place.
Ramirez Beverage Center
Ramirez Beverage Center is a massive emporium of mostly adult beverages that mixes the big brands with local beer and liquor. The selection here is overwhelming. The huge refrigerated section is packed with beers from across the globe, but you'll find local brews in the mix as well. Liquors range from budget-friendly to high end and you're sure to discover some interesting new finds. This certainly is not a regular liquor store. You'll want to give yourself some time to search everything that Ramirez Beverage Center has to offer.