In this golden destination, there is plenty to do after the sun sets. Shopping for California memorabilia means discovering independent boutiques, large branded retailers, downtown galleries, speciality shops and unusual markets; for an eclectic collection of State-themed gifts to take home. There are quirky shopping opportunities abound, just perfect for finding something for wacky Uncle David, difficult-to-buy for Mother-in-Law…and of course, your good self.
From soaps to salted caramels, antique books, or a copy of a designer dress seen on last years’ red carpet, California is certainly residence to some very idiosyncratic treasures. In some of the Bazaars, you’ll see lots of local handmade produce, handcrafts and vintage stuff that you may never have seen before.
Trinket collectors, historic hounds, fashionable trendies, foodie fanatics, kids-at-heart, and movie maniacs will all be satisfied with the goods on offer in the labyrinths of city’s shopping districts and out of town outlets. As shopping in the USA goes, California really does have it all.
Going for Gold
Many visitors believe that California’s ‘golden state’ description relates to its hot sunny weather and white sand beaches. However, if you visit the north of San Francisco you may be surprised to learn of the area’s Gold Rush history. Following in the footsteps of the miner ancestors, there’s some gold to be had; perhaps not a fortune, more glitzy reminders to take home.
Whilst you might not find an ingot, gold rush mementoes can be found throughout the state; in particular the area around the ghost towns. Gold rush jewellery is very popular, including brooches and rings. In fact, the really old antique ones are very highly sought after and can fetch thousands of pounds. Reproductions of the posters relating to the gold rush migration make great home gift ideas; as do copies of the California gold tokens.
A unique way of getting a gold rush trinket, and one that the whole family will love, is to find your souvenir yourself. In some places, you can really understand what it was like to work in one of the mining towns of the past and pan for your own little pieces of gold and gems. Strike it rich and you’ll have some amazing treasures to remind you of this ‘once in a lifetime’ encounter.
In some of the Gold Rush tourist areas, there are also loads of different miner costume replicas to buy. Become a native hunter by buying leather boots, sandals, belts and bags. You can really get under the skin of the workers by shopping for California gifts that tell the story of this gold age. Try some of the vintage booksellers with books that truly illustrate the local history, the building works and the people of the time.
La La Land
From the north of the State, we now head to the South and to the second largest city in the US, Los Angeles and the home of Hollywood. This is a place which is best known for its world-renowned entertainment industry and celebrity haunts, so if that, the beautiful beaches, amazing weather or thriving food scene aren’t a big enough draw, LA also has some of the best shopping in America.
Tourist shops, here in LA, sell a huge medley of iconic gifts, superstar and movie memorabilia, from the Disneyland classics to fake Oscar trophies. However, shopping in LA is famed for one thing, fashion and there is one shopping street you just cannot miss, Rodeo Drive, baby! Fans of the popular films, Pretty Woman and Beverley Hills Cop, will certainly want to pay this most famous of shopping destinations a visit. If money is no object, you may also want to buy yourself a little treat from one of the Rodeo Drive stores, such as Tiffany’s, Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Prada. However, if on a tighter budget key charms with ‘Rodeo Drive’ on them are very popular mementoes.
However, it isn’t just Rodeo Drive that is a must, don’t miss out on Santa Monica with its 3 shopping districts: Third Street Promenade, Main Street and Santa Monica Place; Downtown LA with the Fashion District and the city’s flagship Macy’s; West Hollywood with its Michelin-starred restaurants and luxury boutiques; Fairfax Avenue for streetwear and skater gear; or some of the many outlet stores where you can find all the designer goods for much less. LA also has world-class flea markets in almost every neighbourhood, so if vintage is more your thing you are in luck.
Shopping for California keepsakes with more of a sporting theme? Los Angeles, being home to the Lakers, means there’s loads of Lakers apparel to be found. The purple and yellow colours can be seen everywhere. There are jerseys, caps, baseball great’s posters, flags, hoodies and even backpacks. For the official store, head to Team LA at the Staples Centre.
Shopping with Gas
If you’re visiting San Diego, then head down to its heart, the downtown Gaslamp district. There are over 80 shops offering an array of accessories, art, wine, and other great gifts. It’s definitely the place for those who enjoy a bit of retail therapy and fancy a spot of shopping for keepsakes from California.
Among the architecturally-interesting, historic buildings, there is a happy, trendy vibe. Located on the corner of 5th Avenue and K Street, you’ll discover the amazing Gaslamp Garage. This is San Diego’s biggest shop, with over 5,000 square feet and tons of memorabilia and gift choice. With a backdrop of an industrial old auto repair shop, you’ll find the latest fashions, retro sports gear, and lots of San Diego branded trinkets. For something a bit different: if you are partial to a cigar, then head to the Cuban Cigar Factory to see cigars hand-rolled on-site. For pet fanatics, or if you want to buy your pet at home a little gift, then go and see the outrageous pet accessories and fashion at Lucky Dog.