Venice Beach City Guide: Boutiques & Concept Stores
VENICE BEACH BOARDWALK, VENICE
Jaded types insist that there’s nothing all that special about this ever-bohemian boardwalk, with its collection of eccentrics hawking their wares and letting their freak flags fly. But the gentrification of the surrounding community has given many a renewed sense of fondness for this decades-old promenade. Some very respectable artists sell their paintings and handcrafted jewelry here, alongside purveyors of incense, sunglasses, and henna tattoos; myriad street performers, and wannabe Mr. Universes at adjacent Muscle Beach (where the Governator himself once pumped iron), add to the human-carnival vibe. The funky cafés, boutiques, and tattoo parlors lining the boardwalk have a throwback, land-that-time-forgot quality.
ROSE + LINCOLN AVE, VENICE
Inspired by the Italian linens she encountered on a trip to Amalfi several years ago, Parachute founder Ariel Kaye wanted to bring the same luxurious bedding experience to the American market, without compromising on quality. While the line started with bedding (the linen sheets are the only thing you’ll want to sleep in—trust), Parachute has rounded out its offerings to include waffle bathrobes, Turkish towels, table linens, and throws. Recent collaborations have included bedding with Jenni Kayne, decorative throw pillows with Caroline Cecil, and, most recently, ceramics with Kat & Roger. The storefront boutique is chock-full of design inspiration, too (a rose gold-colored mirror, potted cacti, and leather-and-copper chairs from Eric Trine). Address : 542 Rose Ave., Venice
Situated in a storefront no larger than a walk-in closet, Moon Juice kind of feels like a New-Age pharmacy. You’ll find tonics for every malady or desire (we love the Turmeric Cup, with cayenne pepper, black pepper oil, and oil of oregano to help us through a cold). All this cold-pressed goodness doesn’t come cheap (the green shake will set you back $14), but it’s all delicious and effective.
The General Store
While its unlikely location on a grungy strip of Lincoln Boulevard keep this spot slightly under-the-radar, The General Store always justifies the trip. While set in a big lofty space that could theoretically hold hundreds of items, the impeccably-curated store is an exercise in restraint: you’ll find hand-done ceramics, brass trivets, thread wrapped bows and arrows, and rare, and vintage books.
This airy spot on Lincoln is kind of the perfect trifecta: part café (plus donuts!), part home goods shop, and part florist. The taste level here is spot-on, as it’s the sort of place where you might swing by for a latte and emerge with five hostess gifts and a stunning bouquet.
Deus Ex Machina
It’s easy to miss Deus when driving down Lincoln Boulevard as it looks like a garage—albeit a pretty slick one—rather than a sweet coffee shop. This is fitting, since you can buy a custom-made motorcycle, a leather jacket, and a latte in one fell swoop. Seating is limited, but the outdoor communal table and indoor charmingly lived-in couch, coupled with an awesome soundtrack, get the job done.
From organic produce to the juice bar, prepared foods, wheat, gluten and dairy-free treats, a salad bar, sushi, and so much more, this market is a wonderful place for groceries or to have a healthy lunch or dinner. Seating consists of wooden tables outside, so go on a nice day if you’re eating in. (There’s a new location in Santa Monica, plus outposts in West Hollywood, Pacific Palisades, and Calabasas.)
ABBOT KINNEY BOULEVARD, VENICE
In addition to being one of the longest-standing shops on Abbot Kinney, Bazar is also one of the most special. Owner Tina Wakino keeps the smallish space packed with antique furniture, textiles, and racks of hard-to-find international brands and vintage pieces for both men and women, then she rounds out the assortment with imported apothecary favorites from Santa Maria Novella and Astier de Villatte. Though small, the children’s section holds incredibly adorable options for giftables and accessories that are unlike anything you might find at a traditional toy store.
While many stores on Abbot Kinney quickly come and go, Heist has become a long-standing staple, evolving and expanding with the ever-changing Venice. The large, modern boutique brims with labels both well-loved and still-unknown: You’ll find a huge range of Isabel Marant and Raquel Allegra, along with Newbark, Golden Goose, and Crippen.
Royal Heritage Tattoo & Piercing
In addition to a steady hand and excellent aim, Anders has a soothing bedside manner that makes you almost forget she’s about to force a giant needle through cartilage. Find her at her Abbot Kinney Boulevard shop, Royal Heritage Tattoo, or make an appointment with any one of the tattoo artists on staff for something more permanent.
Chariots on Fire
This gallery-like shop on Abbot Kinney is the brainchild of Ritz Yagi, who runs a creative agency of the same name. The offerings are spare, gorgeous, and special, whether it’s a gem-inflected necklace or a perfectly imperfect hand-throw tray by Japanese artist Makoto Kagoshima.
Former lawyer Jeannie Lee opened Satine on Third Street when it was just getting established as a shopping destination—and her forward-thinking sensibility and buy was probably what ultimately pushed it over the edge to become one of the city’s busiest drags. Not long after, she opened a smaller outpost on Abbot Kinney, with an edit that matches the neighborhood’s clientele. You’ll still find classics (Preen, Rochas) and progressives (Prism, The Odells) artfully mixed together.
Urbanic Paper Boutique
If you’re one of those people who believes that the card should be as well-conceived and personal as the gift, this is your mothership. They have all the best lines, along with sweet notepads, journals, and a good selection of pens.
Main Street, Santa Monica
Just two blocks from the beach, friendly Main Street Santa Monica shopping centers around diverse boutiques and galleries, all where many locals can be spotted walking their dogs, sipping coffee, or perusing the many shops.
Address: 2439 Main St, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica
The Third Street Promenade consists of three open-air, car-free blocks that are anchored by upscale Santa Monica Place, home to more than 80 retailers, including:
- Apple Store
- Louis Vuitton
- Tiffany & Co.
- Tory Burch
- Michael Kors
- Ted Baker
- Kate Spade
- Diane von Furstenberg