Shopping in Los Angeles Like A Local

When I think of Los Angeles, California the first thought that comes to mind is the great vintage stores I fell in love with on Melrose Ave years before Cecily Travels was even an idea. I’ll share with you how to shop like a local in Los Angeles California. We’ll visit Santee Alley,Farmers Market and Melrose.

The thing I love about thrift/vintage shopping is everything is so unique and usually one of a kind, so you’ll never have to worry about someone having your same favorite dress. Thrift and bargain shopping are definitely for the person who embraces their individuality. I’m going to share with you LA’s best kept shopping secrets.

Our first stop on our shopping like a local in LA is Santee Alley. Santee Alley is  a must stop shop for anybody visiting LA. This was my first time going to Santee Alley, but I was pleasantly surprised and very pleased. With over 150 stores, your shopping options in the alley are unlimited. You can purchase everything from fabric,embroidery items,shoes to clothing here. I like to refer to Santee Alley as a one stop shop. The thing that really surprised me was the fact that there were a lot of the same items here as there were in the stores on Melrose. Of course buying them here will save you the triple cost markup that the Melrose Avenue stores will tax your wallet. A lot of local stores will come to Santee and shop in bulk and resale them to the tourist. Santee Alley is open 365 days a year from 9:30am-6:00pm to serve all of your shopping needs. The alley gets very crowded so I suggest getting there early to avoid the crowds. Although Santee is family friendly, I wouldn’t advise bringing a stroller as the alley is very narrow. Parking there is metered parking, but I would suggest you park in a garage. Once you get started shopping, you wont want to have to rush back every 3hrs to feed a meter. For directions and a list of stores click this link.

After leaving Santee Alley I made a quick stop by LA’s Farmers Market to grab a bite to eat. Although I won’t say that the farmers market is part of shopping like a local (due to the fact the market is considered a LA Landmark and was packed with tourist), but I can say the food and fruit selection was great and I’d definitely recommend stopping here. Grab a bite here, especially if you’re traveling with a group as there are so many options. A selection of over 60 restaurants ensures everyone will find something they like. And you’re within footsteps of the Grove Shopping Plaza, an area where you have a lot of commercial stores like: Zara and Banana Republic.

Once I finished my lunch, I headed to Melrose to do my favorite type of shopping: “Vintage”.  My first stop was Wasteland. This store is huge! It has a great variety of vintage items for men and women ranging from accessories,shoes,evening gowns and everyday wear. With such a large selection one can definitely feel overwhelmed. The prices vary. You can find a Herve Leger dress for $400 or a pair of Harley Boots for $50. Another store I would like to highlight is my very favorite vintage store on Melrose “Slow“. This store has some incredible pieces and the prices are very moderate. Slow sells both men and women garments. You will definitely appreciate the quality and prices of the garments at this store. For a list of vintage stores on Melrose please click this link.


Is Santee Alley safe? Yes, it is crowded but I felt safe while shopping there, but you should always pay attention to your surroundings and keep your never leave your purse unattended.

What are the hours and address for the vintage stores on Melrose? Please click this link.

How far is Santee from Melrose? Approximately a 20 min drive.

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