Things to do in Los Angeles: Neighborhood guide to Fairfax Village
Check out our guide of the best things to do in Los Angeles' Fairfax Village from the top places to eat and drink to shop and play.
Thu Aug 29 2013
Photograph: Jakob Layman
Fairfax Village is the only place in LA where street meets Judaica, where old mom-and-pop ventures are interspersed between multiplying urban boutiques and where Orthodox men share the sidewalk with skateboarders. In this historically Jewish neighborhood, the thriving and walkable four-block stretch of Fairfax Ave between Melrose and Beverly has no shortage of things to do: From cult Los Angeles movie screenings and top quality thrift shopping to mind-blowing burgers and authentic Israeli food, our LA city guide will show you where to eat, shop and play.
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You can't talk about Fairfax Village shopping these days without mentioning the skating and streetwear culture that has become so prominent in the neighborhood. Cult NYC skate brand Supreme set up its second shop and LA outpost along Fairfax Ave, anchoring the area’s skating scene. There's a huge skate bowl behind the cash register in the store, where local skaters hang out after store hours. If it all sounds a bit exclusive, it is: These and many of the similar street-style shops along Fairfax can make anyone walking in feel out of place if they’re not carrying a skateboard. Supreme’s ‘90s aesthetic and simple box logo are in such high demand that people regularly camp outside before new shipment days, often to resell the goods online at jacked-up prices.
Celeb-favorite the Hundreds followed Supreme’s lead, opening their flagship shop around the corner. This tiny store often draws the largest crowds of loitering skaters and hangers-on outside, and shows off its local pride with a line of "Fairfax" shirts and hats. A newer shop that has taken on a life of its own is OF, or Odd Future. Owned by the rap-fashion-photography collective of the same name, these young skaters (and former Supreme groupies) sell their own men's and women's clothing and accessories at this flagship shop. Surrounded by walls plastered with images of donuts and cat heads, the store has become a major tourist draw in its own right: Superfans hang around hoping to catch a glimpse of the notoriously loud-mouthed co-founder, Tyler the Creator. The local figurehead's portrait even hangs among the photos of iconic film scenes inside next-door's the Golden State.
If you're in the mood for some leisurely treasure hunting, look no further than Melrose Trading Post (Sun 9am-5pm, $3 entry) at Fairfax High School. Known locally as the Fairfax Flea Market, this Sunday fixture has become a LA staple for used clothes, expertly reworked vintage, handmade jewelry straight out of Etsy, furniture and more.
Sunday isn’t the only day when Fairfax Village is a thrifting gold mine. On any given day, you’re sure to find some amazing finds of top brands and designer labels in great shape that won't break the bank at Goodwill. Just off of Fairfax on Beverly Blvd, the store is among the biggest in LA, so bring your patience to sift through the dozens of organized racks of shirts ($5), pants ($6.50) and dresses ($8). Walk up Fairfax to Council Thrift Shop where the deals are there if you’re willing to dig deep. While Fairfax’s thrift stores sell their fair share of used books, score new books—along with an excellent curation of international zines, comics, rare films, vinyls, cassette tapes and art and photography books—that you won't find anywhere else at Family. Owned by David Kramer and Cinefamily co-founder, Sammy Harkham, this tiny store is easy to miss but worth stopping into and getting lost in the colorful volumes and mini gallery in the back.
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Why I Love Fairfax Village
The street’s business owners share their Fairfax Village favorites
James Starr, co-owner of the Golden State
I love Fairfax for its eclectic mix of old and new. Kosher butchers intermingled with skate shops. Diamond Bakery is great for a cheap cookie and Animal is amazing for a special dinner. There aren't many areas of LA as walkable and neighborhood-y as Fairfax. The business owners are very supportive of one another and we have the best customers in the world, most of whom live within a few blocks of the restaurant.
Eric Thatcher, Talent booker and bartender at Kibitz Room
With the whole advent of skater culture, Fairfax is full of young people now and I get to hear what they’re into these days. I wish more old people listened to these younger people. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right. There’s no racial divide and they all get along pretty well. I’ve seen a lot of funny scenes here with people drinking, but these skaters have none of that. They’re good kids.
I’ve been going to the Hart and the Hunter a lot lately. They’ve really got that gourmet comfort food thing down. And I like Rosewood Tavern for a drink–the Dime is too loud for me. Kibitz Room is amazing. I’ve been in there and seen Willie Chambers do a 15-minute version of “Time Has Come Today,” and no one in the bar knew who he was. It’s that kind of place.
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