Alpha Man: First up, we hit Alpha Man, which is by and far the coolest spot for uncovering the ultimate gift for the discerning man in your life. Sure, the shop's stocked with rad clothing, sneakers, and wallets, but we recommend you check out their selection of toys, gadgets, and stationary. Go for some monogrammed playing cards, or a Lego set of Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Falling Water house—we promise you’re main man won’t find anything nearly as cool as these presents under his tree.
Alpha Man, 8625 Melrose Avenue (near San Vicente); 310-855-0775.
The Melrose Project: Before you hop on over to your next shopping destination on the Avenue, be sure you stick your head into The Melrose Project. This interior store is part museum, part inspiration, and totally gorgeous. The dramatic art and insanely enviable furniture may cost more than you’re entire end-of-year bonus, but a little aspirational home style never hurts.
The Melrose Project, 8674 Melrose Avenue (near San Vicente); 310-862-2327.
Arcade: A few doors down, make sure you pop into Arcade Boutique for a little touch of Hollywood glam. This shop packs the best punch of glittering jewels, clutches, and sunnies so your BFF can channel Rachel Zoe (without all those pesky assistant issues).
Arcade Boutique, 8473 Melrose Avenue (near La Cienega); 323-944-0018.
Ink Sack: At this point, you’ll want to refuel given how much more awesome-ness is still on the agenda. We recommend you hit up Ink Sack, the newest eatery to grace Melrose from Top Chef alum, Michael Voltaggio. The décor is totally unfussy, but the sandwiches are worth writing home about—we recommend the maple turkey melt with a root beer to get your shopping mojo going again.
Ink Sack, 8360 Melrose Avenue (near Orlando Avenue); 323-651-5866.
TenOverSix: Across the street is the glorious TenOverSix, which is always a go-to for the coolest clothes, accessories, and need-em-now tchotchkes. We love the Baggu gold tote, which is the perfect place to stash their awesome selection of bright beauty products, but if you want something a big more practical—albeit still fashion-forward—a pair of 3.1 Phillip Lim gloves or some Hansel from Basel tights will definitely fit the bill.
TenOverSix, 8425 Melrose Avenue (near Melrose Place); 323-330-9355.
Silverlake Music Conservatory, 3920 West Sunset Boulevard (near Santa Monica Boulevard); 323-665-3363.
Casbah Café: Before you hit the boutiques, you’ll want to grab a little sustenance from Casbah Cafe to make sure you stay hydrated and energized for the rest of the day. We recommend a raspberry tart and tea if you’re looking for a sugar rush, although their selection of fresh fruit or sandwiches will work, too.
Casbah Cafe, 3900 West Sunset Boulevard (near Hyperion); 323-664-7000.
Mohawk General Store: Park your car on Sunset Boulevard and make a beeline for Mohawk General Store. It's stocked with awesome handmade clothes, Repetto shoes, but what really steals the show is their gift-friendly fare. Pick up a quartz ring for the jewelry lover in your life (they clock in at around $160). MHG also has an amazing selection of beauty products that would make the perfect hostess gifts for your BF’s boss—think Santa Maria Novella soaps or a limited edition holiday candle from the beyond-luxe line, Cire Trudon.
Mohawk General Store, 4011 West Sunset Boulevard (near Santa Monica Boulevard); 323-669-1601.
Lake: Finally, before you head home, stop by Lake Boutique. The soaps and candles are too delicious for words, and we love that they’re fully stocked with John Derian trays—the ultimate in elegance for the giftee that has everything!
Lake, 1618-1/2 Silver Lake Boulevard (near Effie Street); 323-664-6522.
Forage: Even if one more stop might make you feel like you could drop, the raspberry iced tea and a side of locally grown veggies from Forage will be worth it. Everything here is beyond delicious—you can even pick up dinner to go so when you get home all you’ll have to do is hit Play on your Tivo’d episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and dig in.
Forage, 3823 Sunset Blvd (near Hyperion); 323-663-6885.
Vivier And Bentley: Kathryn Bentley and Clare Vivier are hands-down two of our favorite L.A. designers, so you know their new-ish Silverlake boutique is a can’t-miss shopping destination. The jewelry—we love the beaded necklaces and the metal bangles—is a no-brainer when it comes to gifts for your group of girlfriends or sisters, and we think the brand new pillows would make the ultimate prezzie for your boss or godmother.
Vivier And Bentley, 1404 Micheltorena Street (near Sunset Boulevard); 323-665-2476.
Photographed by Mike Rosenthal