Bite into L.A.'s best candy stores
Across the street from the ever-bustling Japanese Village Plaza, this iconic jewel of a place sells Japanese sweets. Since 1903, this tiny bakery has been making mochi, chewy rice cakes and other baked delights neatly lined against the walls and in glass display cabinets (talk about edible art). Don't miss the ever-popular mochi, and the petit gaufresthin: crispy cookies filled with rich cream.
Sugarfina, a modern-day Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory-esque candy boutique, opened its first storefront in Beverly Hills. Now spreading across L.A., adults and children alike delight in more than 140 candies from around the world, sold around the city—some for the first time ever. You won’t find any oompa loompas here, but you can indulge in the signature turquoise (think: Tiffany & Co. of candy) bento box for $26 to $195, or partake in a gourmet candy sampling at their tasting bar. Exotic candies abound, and include chocolate-covered almonds and chocolate-covered bacon pretzels; chili ginger hearts afire gummies; and matcha green tea caramels, which often come in three sizes: taster packet, small candy cube, large candy cube and a whopping two-and-a-half-pound bulk bag.
Inspired by Scandanavia's candy-crazy culture, Sockerbit is the place to go when looking for sweets that attract the mouth and eyes. The shop's name, which translates to "sugar cube," is the namesake for one of their headliners: a white cubed marshmallow. From imported—mostly Swedish—candies to domestic, choices vary and include banana chips covered in Swedish chocolate, and sour gummies with a creamy peach interior. If you're of the rare black-licorice-loving types, try the coconut-covered or rasberry-filled variety, all sold by the pound.
Part old-fashioned candy shop, part new-age treats, this confectionary mecca has everything for every craving, and two locations: Glendale and Sherman Oaks. In the Glendale flagship, you'll find the shop split into different sections: There's a gummy and hard candy room dedicated to those with a persistent jaw, a chocolate room, and an international cove featuring imported candy. When you're done browsing the other candy-centric areas, check out the soda fountain and relax with a shake or hand-mixed soda made to order.
Get lost in aisles stocked with more than 550 varieties of craft beer and vintage soda, including Coca-Cola that’s truly made in Mexico (not just bottled there) with cane sugar (not high-fructose corn syrup). Expect old-fashioned cream sodas, ginger beer made with real ginger oil, and even newer lines, such as Virgil's, the micro-brew of root beers. Just browsing the bins of hard-to-find retro candy evokes delicious childhood memories, sans stomach aches and sticky fingers. Choose from hard-to-find vintage candy bars such as the Abba-Zaba, Chunky, Rocky Road and Hershey’s bars in nostalgic packaging.
Once you walk past the cheesy mannequins clad in feather boas—there is a location at Universal Citywalk, after all—and register the hot pink aesthetic of the shop, countless rows of clear plastic containers crammed with vibrant, multicolored confections make it impossible to look at one place. But even more shocking than the selection of classic sweets is the section of the store dedicated solely to oversized candy. You'll find a chocolate-covered fortune cookie of jumbo proportions and a Rice Krispies Treat that could feed a family of six—or one person to finish over a month or so. Grab a bag, head to the columns of dispensers and let those bulk candies fly.
Looking to buy in bulk? This gigantic candy store began as a simple cart in the 1930s, and is now one of the largest (and cheapest) spots to satisfy your sweet tooth in L.A. The wholesale prices here are outrageous—you can stock up here for Halloween, birthday piñata stuffing, presents, party favors or just a cheap sweet treat. Jack's has everything, and displays it all in giant quantities, so you'll be shopping among flats and flats of candy. You can shop by era, size or color, and will be hard-pressed to think of a candy Jack's doesn't stock.
Sweet! in Hollywood does that exclamation mark justice, taking candy experiences to the next level with mega-sized everything. Think of this place as the tourist-loving Las Vegas of all candy stores: The Sticky boutique, located inside as a shop-in-shop, is run by expert confectionary artists who can sculpt and create customizable hardcandy pieces with your name or logo. For yet another Willy Wonka-esque adventure, stop by the Chocolate Lab to personally design the perfect bar that would even make Augustus Gloop's mouth water. There are even art installations, collabs and merch with celebrities like Elvira and RuPaul, and plenty of colorful photo ops—lest you think this was your run-of-the-mill candy store. It's Hollywood, baby.
Not only does this all-inclusive shop offer candy, but it also stocks a selection of wine, nut mixes and dried fruit, available for those with a more savory palate. Their chocolate-coated pretzels dotted with different colored sprinkles can be perfect for a sweet and salty craving, while a trip to the freezer provides ice cream treats. Gift baskets, or shalach manos, a traditional gift most often given during the Jewish holiday Purim, are also offered at this Kosher candy store—as are a range of sugar-free options.
Prepare to be launched back in time at Rocket Fizz. The selection of retro candy—think: every flavor of Pop Rocks imaginable, and saltwater taffy—and gag gifts (whoopie cushion, anyone?) brings up long-lost memories from your childhood. But their specialty is of the more fizzy kind: With more than a thousand bottled soda pops, there's something for those who prefer the classic cola, or something a bit more daring—such as a ranch dressing flavor. The colorful space is covered in candy, organized by theme (international imported candy, gummies, and chocolates, just to name a few). For those with killer sweet tooths, this is a must-stop shop—and you can even host your birthday party at the candy store.
Dylan Lauren's super candy store in New York landed on the West Coast at the Original Farmers Market. Now kids, tourists and sugar fiends can all stock up on all things sweet and colored at this Mid-City candy mecca. Browse the shelves stocked full of nostalgic and holiday-themed candies, along with fill-your-own-bag bins of chocolates, gummies, crèmes and hard candies. Should you get sick of candy (like that could ever happen), this shop also slings ice cream by the cup or the cone.
Find handmade marshmallows and sea salt caramels at this sweet, homey café, whose neat blue-and-white striped exterior is slightly reminiscent of a candy wrapper. Bonus? Save the sugary treats for dessert and show up for the wholesome lunch menu of sandwiches, salads, quiche and the ever-popular dal bowl—almost as good as the homemade confections you'll treat yourself to afterward. We said almost.