We all know how easy it is to shop via fingers at a keyboard. But there are major impacts with that one click, with ramifications that affect everything from the local economy to the global landscape. This year, as we round the corner of yet another pandemic-era holiday, we can feel more confident and comfortable doing actual holiday shopping in person. Our local shops and markets can certainly use the boost, and hey, there are no supply chain issues when you’re meeting the maker themselves.
Make a bigger impact by shopping small and local, find super personal gifts, and even pick up a little something sparkly for yourself this year. Here are 10 great DTLA businesses, events, and marketplaces to make your season brighter.
All-One-Shopping: Unique LA Market Holiday Edition
The annual holiday market is back for in-person shopping with more than 150 local businesses setting up to sell everything from stationary to T-shirts, artwork, jewelry, and so much more. Sip on free drinks, get free portraits, play a few lawn games, and even learn how to do the best DIY gift wrapping imaginable. The event takes place at The Row DTLA on December 11 and 12.
Support Black-Owned Businesses: The Small Shop
Olympic track-and-field star Joel Stallworth created his Lost in Los Angeles brand in 2007, and opened this shop in 2015. Specializing in vintage sportswear, glasses, and Lost in L.A.-branded hats, sweatshirts and tees, it’s a one-of-a-kind place for unique gifts that fit the L.A. lifestyle. The “Love is Energy” hats and sweatshirts are particularly lit. “Many people move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams,” Stallworth writes on the company blog. “It is easy to get lost in such a dense and diverse city. Lost in Los Angeles the brand is for all those lost in good things.”
For Kitchen Stuff: Anzen Hardware
For 75 years this hidden Little Tokyo shop has sold everything from simple everyday kitchen knick knacks to the best Japanese chef knives (and sharpening!). Utensils, drawer spacers, pots and pans — you’ll find it all in the tiny, packed space.
Cookbooks + Culinary Gifts: Now Serving
If you need to find allll the cookbooks written by L.A. chefs in one place, this is it. The Chinatown shop is one of the best for culinarians, whether a home cook, budding star chef, or armchair diner. These shelves don’t just celebrate Angelenos, however; cookbooks from chefs near and far are welcomed here, many who’ve come to promote and sign their books within these very walls. There are plenty of other gifts, too, including cards, condiments, ceramics and more.
With locations at the Row complex and in Little Tokyo, this ultra-chic design-conscious store has everyday items for your home, wellness, apparel and gifts. You’ll find things to help create the perfect tablescape with bamboo plates, colorful glass candlestick holders, cute trivets and so much more.
Vintage Books: The Last Bookstore
Walking through this two-story labyrinth of books, art and curiosities is one of great joys in life. Shopping for a book via that online behemoth just doesn’t compare. The Last Bookstore carries all the current best selling titles, along with used, vintage, hard-to-find copies, and first editions of that one book your girlfriend’s dad has been talking about endlessly. Shop for everyone on your list on one fell swoop.
Plants + Fowers: Los Angeles Flower District
When you want a lot of flowers, like really a lot, head to the LA Flower Mart (or Market or District, depending on who you talk to). So much more than an ordinary florist, you’ll walk through wholesale markets filled with fresh-cut flowers and plants, really just about any variety you can think of, many California grown. Plants make the perfect gift!
Pottery: Still Life Ceramics
The working studio at Still Life Ceramics means getting one-of-a-kind pottery for decor and tableware gifts (some even discounted for flaws to love). With a focus on local talent, the shop is filled with well-curated homewares, functional art, and beautiful gifts. Can’t find the one thing you’re looking for? Gift someone a pottery class or workshop.
Booze: Flask & Field
When you walk into this dynamite shop, you’ll feel like it’s been curated just for you. Wines with handwritten notes on the tag, the best and most unique spirits, gorgeous glassware and bar accoutrements that would make any cart glow — it’s an entertainer’s dream. Located in the Row complex, order ahead for delivery or pickup, or check out in person.
Eat + Shop: Smorgasburg
Yes, of course Smorgasburg is the place to be for a Sunday gorgefest. But there’s also a lifestyle component to the weekly bazaar featuring myriad vendors hawking their wares. Think: vinyl, leather goods, jewelry, clothing, candles, posters, and so much more. Open every Sunday behind the Row DTLA complex from 10am-4pm.
Featured photo courtesy Unique Markets