We all cave to making that big Burbank pilgrimage for the occasional TV show taping or Ikea outing, but believe it or not, there's a quirkier, darker side of the neighborhood worth exploring. In between the expansive parking lots and retail chains, there exists a covert community of vintage charm, where in one trip down Magnolia Boulevard, you'll find an authentic '50s frock, a rare comic book and a taxidermied owl. While retro shops in Hollywood or Silver Lake tend to get picked over quickly, these Burbank boutiques are yours for the taking. Whether you're looking to outfit your period indie film, develop your record collection or find a one-of-a-kind board game, here are the best shops in Burbank for your eccentric needs.
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Burbank's best shops
Thumbing through the racks at this costume designer favorite truly feels like you’re tiptoeing through the decades. Maybe it's the sweet salesgirls with pin curls and red lipstick, or maybe it’s the old neon Moorpark Pharmacy sign that spans the back wall. All we know for sure is that Playclothes’ selection of reasonably-priced pieces for men, women, children and the home is one of the most consistently fantastic in LA. The inventory is mostly from the 1940s to the 80s, both designer and ready-to-wear, and includes gems from beaded mid-century cardigans to embroidered '70s handbags. We’ve never once left there empty-handed, and are pretty confident we never will.
This comic book emporium first appeared in 1991, during a time when comic shops were popping up around LA like pimples on teenagers. Twenty-five years later, the place has remained a Burbank cornerstone thanks to its nerd-tastic staff and affordable selection of current comics, graphic novels and hard-to-find back issues. Striking a rare balance between old-school comic shop and memorabilia mecca (think: Spiderman action figures and other ephemera), the shop welcomes comic geeks both fledgling and seasoned.
While all of your Hollywood pals are looking for parking and dodging snobs to spend an hour at Amoeba, swing leisurely into this laidback Burbank record shop. Offering a robust selection of vinyl for as little as 50 cents—from Linda Ronstadt to rare jazz albums—the place leaves collectors feeling like, well, music nerds in a record store. DVDs, VHS tapes and cassettes can also be found at fair prices, and the lively staff is more than happy to take a look at any old goodies you might be interested in selling.
Everything good about being a woman in the '50s (read: the clothing) is brought to life in this va-va-voom vintage boutique. Retro-glam exteriors and an authentically attired staff underscore the shop's unique inventory of '50s-inspired dresses and separates, all designed and manufactured by the shop's lead pinup girls, Laura Byrnes and Micheline Pitt. The clothes come in a wide range of sizes, and it's clear from their fun prints and figure-flattering shapes that they're there to celebrate women. In between visits to Burbank, follow the shop on Instagram for style inspiration and deets on new arrivals.
Your inner Transylvanian finds a home within the ghoulish walls of this horror-themed oddities shop. Find macabre merch of all kinds with themes of vampires, witches and other spookiness, including books and DVDs, clothes, posters, action figures and collectibles. Open since 1994, the shop has become something of a mainstay for Burbank's quirkiest and hosts regular events where you can meet the authors and directors of your favorite nightmares.
Lose yourself in the veritable Versailles of paperbacks and movie memorabilia in this Burbank bookworm's paradise. If you can handle the dust, you could easily spend hours cruising the expansive shelves of fiction, art books, cinema-related volumes and collections of film scores, available for as little as 50 cents. The shop is also a treasure trove of nostalgic movie posters, DVDs and VHS tapes.
If you love the look of vintage but hate the idea of mothball scented, pre-worn clothing, then this one-stop shop for throwback-inspired apparel is your spot. The store's selection of gowns and accessories for homecoming dances, proms, weddings and costume parties is 99% new—the pieces merely look like they came from a more glamorous era. (There is a small section of authentic, hand-picked vintage items for those interested). Shoes, jewelry and other baubles make the boutique an easy source for pulling together entire looks in one fell swoop. If you can't make it out to Burbank, browse the store's online collection, which offers an extensive array of flapper dresses, retro swimwear and more.
Geek out over hard-to-find comics and board games at this spacious, all-hours Burbank superstore. With a personable staff and easily navigable layout, you'll have no trouble satisfying your search for King of Tokyo or Infinity Gauntlet. If you find better prices online, ask the store to match you and they're usually happy to comply. Emerald is also known for their in-store events, including regular Magic: The Gathering tournaments.
You couldn't miss the red A-frame of this idiosyncratic tchotchke shop, no matter how quickly you make your way down Magnolia Street. The peculiarities found within are impossible to categorize. Think: taxidermy, mortician's makeup kits and rare vintage books on topics like circus tricks and horror stories. Intrigued? Troll the shop's offbeat online store.
The retro-inspired jewelry and accessories found within this Alice in Wonderland-esque boutique are all designed by owner Karyn Cantor. Marrying affinities for Art Nouveau, Art Deco and DaDaism, her unique collection contains such baubles as choker necklaces embellished with doll eye brooches, seahorse dangle earrings and pendants bearing the likeness of Frida Kahlo. Each piece is fashioned with vintage sensibilities and a sprinkle of humor.