People love to hate Los Angeles. Tell someone you're visiting or moving here and steel yourself for the barrage of unsolicited jabs about how "the people are so fake," or "the traffic is unbearable," or "there's not enough water." OK, well, that last one is totally true and we have no clue how to fix it.
It's also easy to take jabs at that vague cliché about LA consumerism, but this is the deal: The reason people shop a lot is because there is an overwhelming amount of cool stuff to buy. Here's a list of all our favorite spots to shop that won't completely break the bank
Rose Bowl Flea Market
The Rose Bowl, which is known as a place where college football teams play a game on New Year's Day, also holds a giant flea market once a month. The fee to get in is $8, and the prices there are too high for you to try to do any kind of bargain shopping. Instead, go there just to wander the incomprehensible vastness. Browse the horrifying taxidermied animals, the hilarious dad shirts, and the hideous original paintings and sculptures by deluded weirdos. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll get to talk to some Japanese guy who barely speaks English, but knows absolutely everything there is to know about Levi's.
Spring Street (Downtown LA)
All the waifish fashion bloggers with pastel hair keep posting pics from the boutiques that are popping up on this street, so I'm going to go ahead and recommend you get some clothes here from stores like Clade, Noblita, and Deandri before they quintuple their prices or close for good. There is no third option.
Galco's Old World Grocery
5702 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042
If you go into Galco's and walk out with a fucking Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, or any other run-of-the-mill soda basic while there are celery, buffalo wing, and "bilk" flavored sodas screaming at you from the shelves, you've clearly murdered your inner child and I feel sad about your life.
6400 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
If you're still buying music in 2016, you'd better have a pretty damn good reason for doing so. If you do have a valid reason, hopefully you'll do it at one of the last independent record stores instead of throwing money at Tidal. Amoeba also has DVDs and posters, but we all know the real reason you're going is to will into existence that cute fantasy of bumping into your soulmate while browsing the vinyl.
The Last Bookstore
453 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013
The whimsicality of this place can be a bit overbearing, but the selection more than makes up for it.
Melrose Ave (Between Fairfax & La Brea)
You're not Julia Roberts. You're never going to have that Pretty Woman shopping spree on Rodeo Drive. That stuff is overpriced and better suited on trophy wives and visiting emissaries anyway. Cooler, independent shops, with just as much high-fashion sensibility sit just a couple miles away on this strip. Streetwear and sneakerheads will cream their jeans at all the shops up Fairfax. And then Tyler the Creator will presumably pop out from behind a corner to make fun of them for it.
210 E. Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Santee Alley is great if you're the kind of person that enjoys buying stuff but also hates spending money. The area's vendors sell pretty much everything in the known universe (up to and including sparkly Scream mask print fabric, anti-Donald Trump shirts, and bootleg Dora the Explorer toys) but at a fraction of what you'd pay in the rest of the city.
Check out more from the VICE Guide to Los Angeles