L.A.’s top gift shops
After leaving its original Arts District digs behind, indie retailer Poketo has opened up an outpost at the Line Hotel in Koreatown—and now at ROW DTLA, Platform and in Little Tokyo. Find well-curated arts and crafts and other eclectic goods, handpicked by the store’s owners, husband-and-wife team Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung. Guests of the hotel with discerning tastes can pick up L.A.-themed gifts, most likely designed and made by homegrown talents, before jetting off home at what may be the best hotel gift shop.
A symbol of longevity in Japan, the tortoise is the theme for this lovely little store that showcases traditional Japanese crafts and items designed to last. The stock normally includes cast-iron ornaments and recycled glassware. There’s a sister store, Tortoise, just down the block.
Run by and named after British expat Andy Griffith and L.A. style journalist Rose Apodaca, A+R offers a super-fresh selection of desirable designer goodies: mostly homewares, alongside a few other gift ideas (books, artworks and other chic novelties). Goods are sourced from around the world, making it a good place to find something unusual.
Synonymous with midcentury design, Heath Ceramics is a California institution for home décor. Established by Edith Heath—whose original works are displayed in LACMA—the L.A. branch offers iconic pieces for every room in the house.
Whether you’re a veteran LACMA goer or first-timer, this museum gift shop thoroughly blurs the lines between want and need-right-now. Sure, the prices are a bit steep, but with selections like stationery, posters, books and other trinkets outfitted in prints from the latest exhibition, it's like you’re taking a piece of the museum home with you (a tangible souvenir alongside your candid Urban Light lamp posts pic). Think a Frank Gehry poster, Barbara Kruger printed mug, Robert Mapplethorpe printed journal and more.
In the clear light of day, does your apartment look like a shrine to mediocrity? Need a collection of Mao Tse-tung wall art or sparkly unicorn floor mats? Spice it up with the freaky offerings at Wacko Soap Plant, known to locals simply as Wacko’s. A curiosity and book store (with a gallery, La Luz de Jesus, in the back), this sprawling retailer offers an exhaustive collection of everything colorful and cool, like Hindu dashboard deities, Betty Page shower curtains, jalapeno string lights, Tibetan statues, Japanese bobbleheads and Mexican death figurines. It’s worth spending an afternoon just amusing yourself with the extensive book collection on kitschy art.
Stop inside the historic L.A. Central Public Library and explore this shop where an assortment of cards, pens, notebooks and other stationery supplies can be found in bright colors and emblazoned with fun designs with a literary bent, alongside perfect gifts for any book-lover. Proceeds from purchases here go to towards the Library Foundation, so while you write a letter on your new stationery you’re also helping support enrichment programs to keep the written word alive.
Perfect the modern, Scandanavian look for eveything in your home—huset means “the house”—from furniture, houseware, kitchenware to women’s clothing and accessories and knick-knacks for children. Each piece, including the recent addition of men’s clothing, is curated by Swedish owner Holly Hollberg who makes regular shopping trips to her native land for unique finds.
Part cookbook store, part lifestyle shop, Now Serving is one serious destination for boutique kitchenware, international food magazines and cookbooks representing more than 20 countries. Curated and owned by a former chef for Wolfgang Puck, this shop within Far East Plaza draws upon more than a decade of kitchen experience to curate some truly special wares.
Peter Graham and Sophie Esteban bring their New York style to Silver Lake with a bungalow storefront selling home goods, gourmet kitchen items and cafe eats from pastries to sandwiches. Peruse items like Laguiole and Oriole knives to Pendleton and Stanely mugs or laze on the outdoor patio with a cup of joe. Unsurprisingly, the brew on offer is NY’s Gimme! coffee, which is brewed to perfection while you browse around. It’s a lovely spot for a coffee date, just don’t be surprised if you leave having purchased more than just a drink.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind gift? Check out the unique mystery bags, candles, jewelry, pillows, dolls and home goods at this shop owned by tattoo artist Jason Schroeder and wife Kristin, who first started making her whimsical box cards for her daughter’s birthday. Shop for Spitfire Girl’s trademark thin wooden cards with fun sayings as well as funky wood-made goods such as trays, journals, hang tags and postcards in this quirky store.
This museum gift shop specializes in all products (books, clothing, stationery and other goods) from the contemporary art world. Shoppers are exposed to new and exciting pieces from different designers and artists—many of which have shown works at the museum. Proceeds help support MOCA exhibitions, programs and collections. Plus, flash your MOCA members card to receive a 10 percent discount on most purchases.