A mention of hopping on a flight to Southern California can spark a great divide. Do you love or hate L.A.? You could take the path most-travelled in the famed city—pick up a map of the stars’ homes, visit TCL Chinese Theatre, take in a Lakers or Dodgers Game—and still feel lacklustre upon departing. It can be easy to miss out on the view from Runyon Canyon, the fashion-forward floors of Opening Ceremony on La Cienega Boulevard, or the dive bars booked with the next big act in the Silver Lake neighbourhood. But just 20 minutes from LAX lies a sunny haven near the coastline deemed “The Coolest Block in America”: Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.
The strip between Main Street and Washington Way is lined with bungalows transformed into boutiques, stylish restaurants and bars, and hip creative offices, each with its own unique character and design. Start at Venice Boulevard and work your way northwest towards the Pacific Ocean; here’s how to spend your day shopping L.A.’s most stylish one-mile stretch:
Salt Air, 1616 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
A retail marathon should always begin and end with an incredible meal. Start with brunch at Salt Air. The new bistro awash with serene white, tan, and marble accents will refresh the senses while an order of French toast satisfies morning hunger.
The Stronghold, 1625 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
For Americana garb and a long-standing tradition in selvage denim, open the barn doors on this menswear store.
Toms, 1344 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
While you’ve likely seen Toms’ conscious canvas footwear before, the flagship store is pleasant to visit, with its coffee shop and shopping on the back porch overlooking a grass-lined backyard.
Flannel, 1223 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
This is the only American location for the Australian label. Designer Kristy Lawrence creates romantic, feminine, and simple separates with a luxurious feel.
Waraku, 1225 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Sneaker heads will love this boutique packed with never before seen Japanese imports from Nike, Converse, and Adidas.
Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream Truck
If you need a little pick me up between boutiques, keep any eye out for this rolling parlour. The West Coast outpost of the Brooklyn artisanal ice cream company offers unique flavours including Currants and Cream, Earl Grey Tea, and Sweet Black Sticky Rice.
Mona Moore, 1112 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Lisa Dashiell Bush and Anna Maria Varriano left Montreal behind to call California home, bringing with them a sharp edit of shoes and handbags from designers such as Haider Ackermann, Maison Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, and the Row.
Heist, 1100 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
Find the likes of Isabel Marant, Jérôme Dreyfuss, Ace & Jig, and Won Hundred at this cult-favourite boutique, and keep an eye out for stylish owner Nilou Ghodsi.
Gjelina, 1429 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
End your day with dinner and drinks in the back garden of a bustling restaurant frequented by the Hollywood crowd.