Restaurants, Shopping

Shop ’til you rock in Silver Lake

August 6, 2011

LOS ANGELES, US – In LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood, the focal point of the boho shopping district is known as “Sunset Junction,” located at the intersection of Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards. But it might as well be at the intersection of Hip and Hipster.

Chock-a-block with organic cafés, crafty independent shops, and urban-cum-artsy specialty boutiques, Silver Lake is the crown jewel of Eastside hipsterdom (and a case study in gentrification). You’ll still find the occasional taco stand and ethnic grocer as testaments to the area’s former life as an enclave for Latin American immigrants pre-1990s. But by and large, the family-owned service shops that catered to that community have disappeared in favor of the artistic class’ ironic tastes in trendy food and fashion.

Relatively cheap rents are what first attracted up-and-coming designers here, and though gentrification has changed that somewhat, it’s still a place where you can try your hand at spotting the next big label at boutiques such as Matrushka Construction. At the same time, owing to the club kids’ penchant for vintage style, you can find plenty of spots to scratch your retro itch, such as Ragg Mopp Vintage.

Silver Lake is a legendary musician’s haunt with rock clubs like Spaceland and the annual Sunset Junction Street Fair, which showcases the latest indie bands. The Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Flea even runs the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. Accordingly, it’s a great place to shop for high-decibel threads, like requisite flannel and ironic t-shirts. If you’re in the market for cool sneaks, check out specialty shoe designer Undefeated.

While men will no doubt appreciate the rocker aesthetic of the merch in these parts as well as manly finds like Bar Keeper (specializing in vintage barware), there’s plenty of girly goodness to go around too. Bittersweet Butterfly stocks a treasure trove of naughty (yet nice) lingerie, and Le Pink & Co. is a bounty of beauty products, with facials and other treatments offered in house.

There are tons of quirky-cool finds to be had here if you have time to meander and dive into any shop that happens to catch your eye. It’s an excellent spot for low-key browsing. But even the most chilled out of shopping trips will likely stoke your appetite as you stroll along Sunset. For a recharge, get in line for a potent cup of designer joe at Intelligentsia Coffee, grab a preciously frosted cupcake at Lark Cake Shop, lick artisanal ice cream off a homemade cone at Pazzo Gelato, or pick up a nibble of gourmet cheese at the Cheese Store of Silverlake.

Silver Lake isn’t a linear neighborhood by any means. Though Sunset is the main drag, there are shopping pockets dispersed throughout the hilly ‘hood that wraps itself around the reservoir. Silverlake, Glendale, and Rowena Boulevards also hold various treasures, so feel free to go on a bit of a hunt, knowing you can always return to the central “x” (Sunset Junction) that marks the hipster spot.

Read more about Silver Lake in our Los Angeles Guide.

Silver Lake
Los Angeles, CA

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