How To Avoid Tourist Traps And Get Authentic La Souvenir


Los Angeles, with its star-studded streets, sun-kissed beaches, and iconic landmarks, is a dream destination for many. However, amidst the glitz and glamour, the city is also notorious for its tourist traps—those overpriced, generic shops selling souvenirs that often lack the true essence of LA.

If you’re keen on bringing home a piece of Los Angeles that genuinely reflects the city’s spirit, here’s how to avoid the pitfalls and find authentic treasures.

Exploring Local Markets


Local markets are a goldmine for unique and authentic souvenirs. Skip the mass-produced keychains and T-shirts from Hollywood Boulevard and head to places like the Melrose Trading Post or the Artists & Fleas market in Venice.

These markets showcase handmade crafts, vintage items, and artwork created by local artisans, providing a more genuine and often more meaningful memento of your trip. At these markets, you’ll find everything from bespoke jewelry to quirky antiques, each with its own story and connection to LA’s vibrant culture.

Visit Museum Gift Shops

Museums in Los Angeles, such as the Getty Center, LACMA, and The Broad, offer gift shops filled with carefully curated items that reflect the city’s rich artistic heritage. These shops often feature exclusive pieces inspired by the museum’s collections, including prints, books, and unique home decor.

Purchasing from a museum gift shop not only guarantees authenticity but also supports the cultural institutions of the city.

Seek Out Local Boutiques

For a more personalized shopping experience, explore the local boutiques scattered across the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Areas like Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park are brimming with independent stores that offer a range of unique items, from locally designed clothing to handcrafted ceramics.

These boutiques often focus on quality over quantity, ensuring that each item carries a touch of LA’s creative flair. A great place for finding perfect gift is the Beverly Hills and Los Angeles Collection, where you can discover an array of high-quality pieces for your friends and family.

Embrace the Food Culture

One of the best ways to take a piece of LA home with you is through its food. Consider bringing back locally made food items, such as artisanal chocolates, gourmet hot sauces, or specialty coffee blends. Farmers’ markets, like the Original Farmers Market or the Hollywood Farmers Market, are ideal places to find these edible souvenirs.

These markets not only offer fresh and organic products but also provide a glimpse into the local food culture, allowing you to savor the flavors of LA long after your trip has ended.

Support Local Artists


Los Angeles is a hub for artists of all kinds, from painters and sculptors to photographers and designers. Supporting local artists by purchasing their work is a fantastic way to take home a piece of LA’s creative soul.

Art galleries, studio tours, and art walks are excellent venues to discover original pieces that reflect the city’s dynamic and diverse artistic scene. Not only do you get a unique and meaningful souvenir, but you also contribute to the thriving local art community.

Avoid Overly Commercialized Areas

To find truly authentic souvenirs, it’s essential to venture beyond the typical tourist hotspots. Areas like Hollywood and the Santa Monica Pier, while iconic, are often filled with shops that cater to the masses, offering generic items at inflated prices. Instead, explore the lesser-known neighborhoods and hidden gems of the city.

Downtown LA, for example, has seen a resurgence in recent years and is now home to a plethora of boutique stores, art spaces, and cultural hubs that offer a more authentic shopping experience.

By exploring local markets, museum gift shops, and boutique stores, you can avoid the tourist traps and find souvenirs that truly encapsulate the spirit of Los Angeles. Embrace the local food culture, support local artists, and venture beyond the commercialized areas to discover the city’s hidden treasures. With a little effort and a keen eye, you can bring home a piece of LA that you’ll cherish for years to come.