Melrose Avenue

Culture / Nightlife Area / Outdoor Activity / Shopping Area
Melrose Avenue Once the center of LA's underground and counterculture scene, Melrose Avenue may have lost a bit of its edge in recent years, but it's still a vibrant destination for an oddly mixed, hyper-eclectic crowd. Los Angeles United States 34.083606 -118.352886
4.05 44
Melrose Avenue - Culture | Nightlife Area | Outdoor Activity | Shopping Area in Los Angeles.
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Emma

Party Earth Review Once the center of LA’s underground and counterculture scene, Melrose Avenue may have lost a bit of its edge in recent years, but it’s still a vibrant destination for an oddly mixed, hyper-eclectic crowd. Although the... ... read full review

  • Neighborhood:

  • Address:

    Melrose Avenue between Fairfax Avenue and La Brea Avenue
    Los Angeles, CA 90046

    Get Directions

  • Hours:

    24/7; Hours vary for restaurants, bars, and retail stores

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Melrose Avenue Review

The Scene

Once the center of LA's underground and counterculture scene, Melrose Avenue may have lost a bit of its edge in recent years, but it's still a vibrant destination for an oddly mixed, hyper-eclectic crowd.

Once the center of LA’s underground and counterculture scene, Melrose Avenue may have lost a bit of its edge in recent years, but it’s still a vibrant destination for an oddly mixed, hyper-eclectic crowd.

Although the brightly-painted head shops, thrift shops, sex shops, comic book stores, and tattoo parlors still thrive along the avenue, they now reside politely beside flashy clothing boutiques like Ed Hardy, making it easy for curious tourists to mingle with the area’s hipsters and mohawked denizens.

Plenty of shopping options draw fashionistas on the hunt for everything from vintage duds at Wasteland and trendy sneakers at Sportie LA to street wear and outlandish club gear.

During the day, local teens share the sidewalks with window shoppers as funky-styled locals hit up lunch spots like M Café de Chaya for macrobiotic cuisine, but after dark, the street is overtaken by laid-back hipsters and young professionals who flock to the gastropubs and dive bars like The Village Idiot and Snake Pit Ale House (which is temporarily closed).

Having traded in a bit of its attitude in favor of a broader appeal, Melrose still maintains its reputation for being the edgiest shopping area in town for the artsier rock and roll set looking for a day and nighttime area to call their own.

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Tip from Emma:

Don’t miss the Melrose Trading Post flea market in the parking lot of Fairfax High School every Sunday. Pick up a free copy of the LA Weekly newspaper, which includes a coupon for $1 admission to the market.

  • Crowd

    All types from all walks of life.

  • Entertainment / Music

    The Groundlings Theatre (7307 Melrose Avenue) features high-level improv comedy. The Foundry restaurant (7463 Melrose Avenue) has a live jazz band on Thursday nights.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    M Café de Chaya (7119 Melrose Avenue) features an organic menu. Gastropub The Village Idiot (7383 Melrose Avenue) offers more casual fare. Blu Jam Café (7371 Melrose Avenue) has a popular weekend brunch.

  • Prices

    All price ranges.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes: business attire, vintage, khakis, button-downs, floral dresses, pink mohawks, dog collars, piercings, anything original.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Any time, though weekends are best for people-watching.

  • Close By

    The Darkroom (7302 Melrose Avenue) offer good Happy Hour specials. Vinoteque (7469 Melrose Avenue) features French appetizers and a wide selection of wines. Sports bar The Parlor Hollywood (7250 Melrose Avenue) is a good spot to watch the big game.

Melrose Avenue User Reviews

Average rating:
Melrose (East of Fairfax).
Lewey K. Jul 22, 2013
The Melrose Trading Post. Blue Jam Café. Melrose Strip Auto Detailing. Groundlings. Thats it. Those are the only things you really need to concern yourself with when you come to Melrose. I’m not really sorry to say I’ve watched Melrose slip into my version of insignificance after my years of living in LA. This includes stores that constantly change due to low sales, that annoying spot they can’t seem to finish renovating, over-priced cheap-looking "couture", and sketchy vibes after 6pm. Mostly, I direct this review to Angelenos who are over it since we see under the punk-inspired black leather skirt that is Melrose, and aren’t thrilled. I would however recommend Melrose to tourists if only for an hour or so, just to get some good Instagram photos of the street art. The Melrose Trading Post takes place every Sunday and is a pretty large flea market held at Fairfax High School with everything from food to furniture. It costs $2 or $3 to enter but is fun to walk around aimlessly with a friend chatting and looking and commenting. And of course, if you wish to pounce on some household goods bring some cash to bargain. They’ve got some pretty good stuff. Free street parking on Sundays is a bonus! If you go to Blue Jam Café, everyone in your group needs to order a breakfast-y meal for themselves. You know, eggs and sausage/bacon. Then, depending on the size of your party, order 1 or 2 plates of the crunchy French toast. Your cravings for savory and sweet will be equally tamed. For Saturday brunch, I highly suggest getting there before 11am because the wait can be pretty long and you don’t want to roast in the sun like a True Blood vampire during your hangover from Friday night. The Melrose Strip car wash is AWESOME. Drop your car off early in the morning for a discount, walk over to Starbucks for a latte, and come back to get your car. They hand-wash every car and have a bunch of different detailing options. Super fast, super convenient. If you want to see the comedians of tomorrow, catch a show at The Groundlings Improv. They've churned out some of your favorite comedians of today including Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Will Ferrell...the list goes on. Who doesn't love a good chuckle? Honorable mention to Village Idiot and DarkRoom before you locals jump on me.
For the bored and trendy
Nikki L. Jun 27, 2013
MY TAKE Most shops on Melrose are cookie cutter and overpriced. They all sell the same trends and hire someone to stand outside and try to get you to come in because they know you could just as easily pick up that lace top next door. I mean, there's an American Apparel AND an Urban Outfitters on the same block. Besides shopping, there are also plenty of places to eat on Melrose Avenue, though very few are worthwhile, so do your homework. That being said, the neighborhood is extremely pleasant to walk around. People are friendly, and the blocks north and south of the main Melrose thoroughfare are full of tidy green lawns and cute housing. For shopping, I usually only go for the consignment stores -- two American Vintages, a Crossroads Trading Company, Wasteland, and Slow, which are all within blocks of each other. THE SCENE You can tell who's not working by who is carrying a purse or shopping bag. And you'll see plenty of girls traveling in packs, but I honestly couldn't tell you what they do there. My best guess is shop. People are dressed in an incredibly trendy fashion, usually looking exactly like all the mannequins waiting outside the stores. It's not unusual to see multiple people wearing variations of basically the same thing or something you just saw in a shop window. It's pretty uncanny. COCKTAILS AND CUISINE As far as eating goes, I can't speak too highly of anything directly on the strip. Avoid the Foundry at all costs. And you'll find that the frozen yogurt place and the Detention Cafe are super jank. Frida tacos is passable, but I walk the extra half block on Fairfax to Coffee Commissary, which has THE most delicious selection of pastries, as well as a sweet little front patio. Farther to the west, you'll find Duff Goldman's cake shop and Michael Voltaggio's ink. That section of town sports plenty of upscale restaurants of a much higher caliber than the cafe fair on most of Melrose. Bludso's Barbecue on La Brea and Milk on Beverly are also worth taking note of. Places to drink include the Darkroom and its less pretentious cousin the Snakepit. I would consider both solidly average. Cocktails are probably best taken at a nice restaurant with your meal. PRICES Everything is more expensive than it should be. You're likely to find most of the items available on Melrose for cheaper elsewhere; you're just paying a premium for being able to say you got something on Melrose. Food can also be unreasonable. If you're seriously on a budget, and just coming for the fashion, I'd recommend the Starbucks. Because everyone hoofs it all the way out to the west side to eat at a Starbucks, I know, but it really is one of the cheapest options. WHAT TO WEAR I've never felt so under-dressed in the day than I have on Melrose. People are dressed to be seen at The Scene, no matter the hour. If you're looking to fit in, just pick an outfit that looks closest to whatever Urban Outfitters ads are looking like nowadays and work it as best you can. Heeled boots are a great option, since they are supportive for all the walking you'll be doing while still being "fashionable". Guys have it a little easier. Be it skater, hipster, goth, or square, as long as you're pulling off a "look," you're fine. Melrose does not suffer the plain. INSIDER INFO/WHEN TO GO Pretty much nothing opens up before noon, but from then until sunset, there is usually a pretty even stream of foot traffic. It's never an overwhelming crowd, though, so there's really no bad time to come after that. Like I said, I would stick to the consignment stores, which offer the best prices AND variety (and they'll buy your old stuff!). The Japan LA shop, Toy Art Gallery and Puzzle Zoo are some geeky suggestions. For entertainment, the Cinefamily on Fairfax is a great option.
Shopping and Restaurants
Kate K. Apr 5, 2013
Melrose Avenue is a classic Los Angeles location. It is near some of the best and most upscale restaurants in LA, while it is also lined with unique stores. There are boutiques (such as the famous Kardashian store Dash) and some great specialty stores (such as Johnny’s Cupcakes) that are worth a visit if you feel like walking down this street. If you are coming for dinner, then be prepared to valet because parking on side streets is limited to permits of residents and there are no lots. You will see some interesting people here, so it is great for people watching!
Great Shopping and Fun People Watching
Scott R. Jan 11, 2013
Melrose Ave undoubtedly has something for everyone. As you walk down Melrose, you will be pleasantly overwhelmed with all it has to offer. Melrose is known for it’s thrifty, more inexpensive, one of a kind stores with one of a kind finds, but it also has the more trendy and expensive retailers if that is what you’re looking for. Not looking to spend any money? No Problem! If you are more of a window shopper or a people watcher, exploring Melrose with some friends makes for a great and fun weekend activity; simply walking the block and going from store to store is a blast from the past. You and your friends will see clothing and various styles and question how they were ever popular. If all that walking around makes you hungry, Melrose shares the same diversity in food options as it does in its clothing stores. There are the pricier, gastropub and bistro style sit down restaurants as well as the smaller, unique and ethnic eateries. To sum it all up, Melrose will not disappoint. Go check it out!
A+
Zoë C. Dec 3, 2012
Melrose Avenue is known for its shopping, dining and entertainment area in Los Angeles, located north of Beverly Boulevard and south of Santa Monica Boulevard. For the adventurous I found it to be a shoppers dream come true. I spent the day in and out of the something old, something new shops. Plenty of shopping options makes it easy to mingle among the funky laid -back hippies shopping in the thriving tattoo parlors, sex shops, and head shops that reside politely next to high-end clothing boutiques. I found Melrose Avenue to be vibrant with the oddly mixed crowd and a reputation of the edgiest shopping in town. I give it an A+
Diverse
Kenzie G. Dec 3, 2012
Melrose is a very diverse and fun place to go. People watching is great here and the shopping is excellent if you like a deal and some vintage clothes or just some interesting items to complete a costume. It's a very funky place but it's fun and a change of pace...I would definitely recommend it
Great shopping
Nisha S. Dec 3, 2012
East of Fairfax on Melrose you’ll find tons of vintage stores with great deals. Stores like Slow and Wasteland have lots of of edgy, grungy items. There’s also a large Urban Outfitters on Melrose that’s open late. The Fairfax and Melrose flea market each Sunday is great for vintage finds as well. West of Fairfax there are more great shopping options. There’s the higher end Fred Segal and Madison as well as some of my favorites like Helmut Lang, Theory, and Diane von Furstenberg. The Reformation is another cool retail store that sells new designs created out of recycled vintage fabrics. The newly opened Rag and Bone store on Melrose is huge! I haven’t had a chance to get in there yet, but I’m super eager to check it out. For dining options, Urth Caffe and Le Pain Quotidien are delicious and great for organic eats. The two restaurants are side by side and both are packed at all hours of the day. Sweet Lady Jane is another Melrose Avenue staple that serves fresh, yummy salads and desserts. And then Ink.sack is a relatively new sandwich shop that I recently tried and am dying to go back to. Melrose Avenue has such a great range of stores and restaurants. It’s a super fun, hip place to hang out and spend the day.
Great for costumes
Emily R. Dec 3, 2012
I went to Melrose Avenue this past October looking for a few pieces to create a cute and original halloween costume. I walked past and into so many costume shops, all of which had amazing costumes and fairly good prices. Their vintage collections can't be beat, whether it is a full vintage costume or cute vintage accessories. There are also a ton of great restaurants that have a fun vibe and let you people watch while sitting outside. It is a great day trip to just try on cute clothes from great boutiques, silly costumes, or even look at the abundant street art! Such a blast!
Great
Sydnie S. Dec 2, 2012
Melrose is a funky little area with the most adorable boutiques. Anyone can come here, for there is something for everyone! Although there tend to be a few pricey stores, most of the shops have some very unique articles of clothing. It is so much fun to come here, especially when looking for a quick costume! You definitely need to reserve an entire day to explore this area. I had a blast walking around the streets and trying the food in the cute restaurants! One of my favorite pairs of heels I found here for only 10 dollars!
A must!
Sara S. Nov 30, 2012
Melrose has everything you could need for a day of shopping I feel like. There are a ton of stores with all sorts of styles! There are some pricier stores but Melrose is definitely where you're gonna find your funky little shops as well with some one of a kind stuff! There are a ton of restaurants to stop and grab a bite to eat. Definitely try and make a day out of it and just spend the day walking up and down Melrose finding some great items! You can always find a celebrity or two during the day shopping around as well so you never know!
Check it out
Calli C. Nov 30, 2012
Melrose Ave. is a Los Angeles staple. Filled with funky and vintage clothing shops, there is always something to see on Melrose. Recently more chains have been added, like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, but there are still a ton of one-of-a-kind shops. Melrose Ave used to be a bit edgier, but the crowd is still eclectic and always interesting. Definitely worth checking out if you're visiting LA.
Love it!
Rachel S. Nov 30, 2012
I absolutely love going to Melrose. It is similar to Roberston boulevard but it definitely has more options. THere are very expensive stores but also a lot of cheap stores as well. They have great restaurants to go to so it is basically a one stop shop. You can park your car for the day and just walk around and get lost for hours searching out for all the best places to be. I love finding thrifty clothing shops and finding the best deals and the coolest clothing. You usually spot a celebrity or two as well. I like to come to Melrose on a Friday because a lot of people are still working so it isnt too busy.
Love Melrose
Georgina S. Nov 29, 2012
I LOVE shopping on Melrose. I don't get too many opportunities to come here, but when I do, I always have a good time. I've gone here for high end shopping as well as for cheap, themed-Thursday night party costumes. You can pretty much see it all on Melrose; by that I mean, there's a ritzy expensive area, and a more grungy flea-market type feel as well. Most recently, I went bar hopping here on a Saturday night and had the time of my life. It's a nice change of pace from the USC bar scene. I'm dying to try Blu Jam Cafe on a hungover Sunday morning, because I've only read AMAZING things about this place. The next time I get a Sunday off work, I will be at Blu Jam Cafe on Melrose, recovering from an awful hangover. There are so many critically acclaimed restaurants and bars on Melrose; you have no excuse not to check it out the next chance you get!
Shopping
Sarah B. Nov 28, 2012
Had a great day with friends shopping! There is something for every price range. Plan on lots of time, you'll definitely want to stroll.
Best variety
Maddy L. Nov 28, 2012
I would highly recommend spending a Saturday shopping on Melrose if you have the time. The variety is amazing, ranging from upscale places to Urban Outfitters to dinky thrift stores with amazing finds. I've gotten some of my favorite articles of clothing here. There are a ton of little shops in between the bigger ones that have amazing deals on some really unique styles. This is an awesome place to go for accessories--jewelry in particular--because of the great prices and variety.
Variety
Claire B. Nov 28, 2012
Melrose is a great place to shop and hang out. There are a bunch of different little places where you can find great deals, stylish clothes, and good food. You can walk into a cute little shop with girly clothing and high-end prices, and then go a few doors down where you'll find anything you could ever make out of leather. There are a bunch of thrift stores with cheap used clothing and GREAT costumes. If you need a break from shopping, there are plenty of places to get a quick bite to eat, most of which have great service. It's definitely a trip you have to plan to make because of traffic, but it's worth it!
Great!
Aimée O. Nov 26, 2012
Melrose is most definitely one of my favorite places to shop in Los Angeles. It offers a wide variety of clothing stores from expensive designers to cheap and fun boutiques. I guarantee that if you come here to shop you will not leave empty handed! However, one complaint that I have is that a lot of the smaller boutiques can become extremely repetitive since they all sell very similar clothing at basically the exact same price as one another. Coming to Melrose to shop can be a bit time consuming since LA traffic is typically a hassle, but you definitely will not regret taking the time to come here.
something for everyone
Jenna H. Nov 20, 2012
Melrose Avenue is one of the best, most eclectic places to shop in LA, ranging from from second hand thrift stores to high end designers like Herve Leger and everything in between. My personal favorite is Wasteland, located at the intersection of Melrose Ave. and N. Vista St. I've been to plenty of Wastelands including Haight St. San Francisco and downtown Santa Monica, but this one by far had the most selection. Here, I found a Naven dress, originally $286 for just $48! Melrose is also a great place to go Halloween shopping because they have so many fun costume and accessories for such a cheap price.
great deals
Keeley H. Nov 19, 2012
Melrose is one of my favorite places to shop. There are so so many cute shops that have really unique cute clothes. Not only are they great finds but they are usually very reasonable. It is an amazing place to find vintage clothing at decent prices. It is definitely a place that takes a full day to get through though. I do not go that often because it is usually a whole day ordeal. Yet, when I do make it down there I am always impressed and always find amazing things. I would definitely recommend checking out Melrose, especially if you are interested in fashion and want to find one of a kind vintage clothing.
a fun spot
Anna V. Nov 19, 2012
One of my favorite places. You can take your pick, upscale or vintage. The upscale side of melrose is filled with high-end designer stores and great hair salons, but my favorite is the vintage side. There are so many fun things to do and see there. I love going to the Groundlings comedy club! Also, there are awesome vintage stores where you can make some of the most amazing purchases! They have a huge Wasteland and a huge Crossroads there. Some of the stores also re-design their vintage to make one of a kind awesome jackets, vests, and demin shorts! There are some great restaurants in the area too.
groundlings
Callie S. Nov 19, 2012
Melrose has a lot of fun things to do. Even though some of the stores have become more commercial, losing some of the charm that melrose held for me, there are still some really fun and interesting stores that you cannot find anywhere else. My favorite clothing store happens to be on melrose, called Vogue. It is very trendy and has hundreds of unique pairs of jeans shorts that are all different colors etc. I get scared to walk in there because i know how much i will want everything. Another really fun thing to do is go to the Groundlings, which is an amazingly funny comedy show.
A little bit of everything
Nicole J. Nov 19, 2012
Melrose, as cool as it is, definitely isn't what it used to be. Melrose used to be hot real estate that you would dream of having a business on, but realistically it would never happen because the price of rent was worth an arm and a leg. Nowadays though, as LA has expanded and become more popular in different parts, the hype of Melrose has died down. Some of the really high-end stores like Marc Jacobs and Fred Segal are still there, but it's definitely not the street it used to be. There are more local places where you're sure to see cool and quirky finds, which is what gives the “new” Melrose its great charm and character!
Vintage or Couture, take your pick
Jackie D. Nov 18, 2012
Melrose is really split into two different parts. The first half being composed of cheap clothing stores, dusty vintage shops and hipster food spots, the second being lined with high end retail shops and of course, more hipster dwellings. Whether you have the dough to spend or you're a bit more strapped for cash, it's fun to wander both ends of the spectrum. Slow is a really great vintage shop, that leans towards pricey, that has a variety of offerings, both new and old. Although technically 1 block north of Melrose, Jet Rag also has great vintage and has $1 sunday sales! Get there early though, because people tend to get a bit crazy and hoard everything to themselves.
Expensive, yet better than Rodeo
Rachel G. Nov 17, 2012
I like coming to Melrose because though it is expensive like Rodeo Drive, it is less of a obvious separation between the fortunate and the less fortunate in regards to money. However, that is not to say that the stores here are any less expensive than Rodeo Drive. I like to come here and window shop. This is my favorite place to walk around the stores, see whats in and new and then create something like those high-end styles from my own closet. I will take the inspiration from the high-end stores and bring it to my price range. I love coming here to see the most fashionable people in all of Hollywood.
Shopping and Tattoos
Julie T. Nov 14, 2012
Melrose is definitely one of my favorite places in Los Angeles and one of the only places in the Hollywood area that I go to pretty often. Shopping is great- most of the shops are more expensive, but there are a few good thrift stores and a few really cool unique places that I don't really find elsewhere. Apart from shopping, I've gone to Melrose for both of my tattoos now. There are two really good shops that I always recommend for piercing and for tattoos; Body Electric and Freak Chic. I also go to shop for gauged earrings etc. Tip: Park one or two streets north or south in the residential area and you'll hit up a lot of nice free parking.
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