LA has it all, from boutiques on Rodeo Drive that are so exclusive you need an appointment to shop there, to the boardwalk on Venice Beach where you can buy cheap T-shirts and sunglasses by the armload.
For people-watching and window-shopping -- and maybe a celebrity sighting -- head to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, which lives up to its reputation for having the most expensive shops in the world.
Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, however, is the place to find the up-and-coming designers and the latest fashions. Browse for second-hand duds, perhaps beside Whoopi Goldberg, at Wasteland, or get the new stuff at conservative icons Fred Segal, Forinara, and Costume National.
For the thrill of a bargain, head to Santee Alley/Santee Street first, where you'll find everything from cheap jeans to fine Italian men's suits, and haggling is expected. The 2,000-showroom California Market Center sells designer samples at deep discounts to the public once a month.
Shoppers in need of new gems will love the St. Vincent Jewelry Center's 450 merchants selling every imaginable metal and stone, some at wholesale prices. And at Mega Toys, almost every toy is priced at about $10.
Finally, no visit to LA would be complete without a visit to Venice, where you'll find the unique and offbeat -- from spoon art and beer bongs to beachwear to imported souvenir goodies. Come prepared to be enthralled.