As a little detour away from typical subject matter, I wanted to share about some local places I frequent. It’s a random assortment but for the USC/West Adams/Koreatown/Downtown community, especially if you’re planning a party or new in town and setting life up, hopefully you’ll find some tips you can use. Themes are bargains, home decor, recycled fashion, bathrooms/parking, and purposeful patronage. Happy exploring!
Habitat for Humanity ReStores – Los Angeles, Atwater Village, Torrance, Bellflower, Azusa
These gems are revenue-creating hardware/thrift/resale stores for Habitat for Humanity. They have furniture, appliances, materials like windows and screen doors and sinks, hardware, flooring, paint, and rugs. I highly recommend following them on Instagram (different accounts) to get a sneak peak at their products; the Atwater Village guy is hilarious. They will collect donations from your home/office for free. I’ve had the best experience at Atwater Village but often admire the inventory at Torrance and Azusa. Azusa’s prices are a little higher than the others, I’ve noticed, but they also have a lot of high quality furniture. The LA location on La Brea just opened so their prices also seem a little higher than the more established stores, and their area is very uppity so I understand; I’m sure they’ll get awesome donations. Staff is nice and helpful. Bathrooms and parking lots! Check Groupon for additional discounts at some of the stores.
MADE by DWC: Resale Boutique – 3rd and Los Angeles, Downtown
Um, I can’t shut up about this place. Sorry not sorry. High quality, well-organized donated clothes, some of them from the designers/manufacturers, pretty decor and changing rooms all contribute to this being a great place for finding women’s clothes, jewelry, shoes and gifts. The proceeds benefit the incredibly impactful Downtown Women’s Center. The boutique supports their job training efforts as they empower women out of homelessness and sells handmade goods that some of the women craft. Partnerships of theirs have included Raven & Lily and TOMS. Prices are a little higher than run of the mill thrift stores, but so is the likelihood of finding something great. Regular sales, including $3 racks on weekends are a bonus; my sweater above was $1. Some of my favorite clothes are from here; please visit. Sadly, no bathrooms, but changing rooms are a win. Discounts for yelp reviews and punch cards. Don’t mistake this location for the DWC’s cafe (though also a great find) and main building; make sure you’re on Los Angeles. Metered parking is most often found on Los Angeles St, Winston or 5th.
Michael Levine’s – 9th and Maple, Downtown
I’m pretty cheap ya’ll so it’s hard to fork out even $12/yard for pretty fabric, even though I LOVE ME SOME FLORALS. Visiting Michael Levine’s if only for inspiration is completely worth your time–so well organized and so many choices, from oil cloth to shirting to batiks to leather. Home decor fabrics are on the west side of Maple, the rest are on the east. They will cut a swatch for you to take home and match paint, upholstery, cheaper fabric (online research anyone?), or return to buy later, once the Michael Levine’s buzz has worn off. I’ve gone there literally to just absorb all the pretty prints in my eyes and decide on colors. BUT, there are also bargains. Tables of large remnants, $5/yard, on the east side and my favorite part, the fabric by the pound, $3/lb on the west. There are rows of tables and boxes of fabrics a little bit embarrassed to be sold by the pound, but oh so appreciative when taken to a loving home. The man who works in that section is very kind. I have a huge and UGLY table and official tablecloths that fit it are 1) ugly and 2) expensive. I’ve found large remnants of beautiful prints that do the trick for our monstrosity and everyone, from my eyes to my wallet, is happy. Have to decorate a big garden party or random shower? Buy some handfuls of pretty remnants for less than a gourmet cupcake, and swath them around like a hippie; it’ll be grand. Bathroom for a quarter. Parking free with $20 purchase validation.
With Love – Market and Cafe, USC/Koreatown
This is a great place to grab a bite to eat, study, or quick get some eggs or napkins. They have free events and classes too, which is incredible considering the location. My kids have taken cooking classes there in the summer; on Monday’s there is yoga. A community meeting room is available for reservation and I love their breakfast tacos and iced lattes. Plentiful outlets, wireless, and a bonus cute shaded patio out back are all a part of this endearing place. Cute LA souvenir gifts and merchandise are available and make great gifts! They love the local community, wellness, and have a FREE parking lot (on 20th st) and bathroom. Enough said!
Every Child Playground – USC/Downtown
We love this little hidden park. It’s right in the middle of everything, behind the Orthopaedic Institute for Children, but there’s free parking, it’s completely accessible, and has sound and water features. Enter the stone driveway off of Adams, like you’re going to USC housing, and the parking garage is on the right. Tell the attendant you’re visiting the park (open to the public) and there will be no charge. Cross the driveway to find the entrance gate nearly under the row of palm trees. Clean bathrooms, water fountains, picnic tables and one entrance/exit make this a great venue for playdates or even birthday parties; I have never been there and it be crowded, except by my own doing, ie son’s birthday party. Unfortunately the hospital thrift store on the same campus has closed (very sad for this particular park/thrift store frequenter) but I suppose we will still go play…for the children.
The party supply shop is a new local business and if you want to avoid the downtown toy district party scene, and live nearby, it’s a great time-saving resource. Not the cheapest prices if you shop around LA, but a lot of variety in regards to themes and events, helium balloons, and helpful. My friend here said he would give a 10% discount to folks with ID from Los Angeles Christian School; maybe other locals can bargain? There’s a parking lot, and in the same strip of shops, is La Campanita, a carniceria I’ve never bought meat from. But the produce is awesome and inexpensive! Who doesn’t need something from the grocery store every time they’re planning an event? At the end of the strip mall is Mega Paint, and with a name like that, how can you NOT? The guys here are really nice and supportive of local employees and friends needing a hand. It’s open to the public, not just wholesalers and contractors, and they can tint their well-priced paint however; just ask for their swatch book. There’s even a bathroom! Again, enjoy the free parking lot.
Hope you enjoyed this run down of some of my favorite spots. What are some of your favorite places? Any other tips about these ones?
Enjoy the city and love LA!