We’ll confess. California is, without a doubt, one of the best states to go on a vacation or partake on the road trip of your life. While vacationers typically flock the prominent cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco – we couldn’t help but rave about the vast high-end fashion boutiques and luxe home décor shopping opportunities – their lesser known counterparts are as good as it gets.
Napa Valley, Palm Springs and San Diego may not be one of the first places that come to mind regarding shopping, but we took up the challenge and went off the beaten track. Boy, were we elated to trace a new crop of varied shopping adventures.
Napa Valley offered charming embellishments, with quirky homeware shops. Palm Springs aced the interior decorating game with their abundance of mid-century to modern furniture and finally, we hit jackpot in San Diego’s Cedros Avenue Design District.
Join us, as we travel to California – off the beaten track.
Situated just outside San Francisco, Napa Valley is no doubt, a world famous regional wine industry. But beyond the lush vineyards and wineries, and away from tourist track is St. Helena. The charming town thrills with superb eats – from Michelin star restaurants to classic burger joints – and shopping on Main Street where you’ll come across stunning independent designer shops, swoon-worthy floral boutiques and global-eclectic fashion and homewares. Wine, dine and loads of shopping? Yes, please.
Located along the western edge of the Coachella Valley, Palm Springs has evolved from a mere desert to one of America’s best vacation destination – thanks to the bounty of Hollywood A-listers, modern architectural design aficionados and the surge of hip festivals like Coachella. The city evokes a retro-chic charm with colourful bungalows along its palm tree-lined streets. Once you’ve picked the perfect outfit, you’ll have a jolly time exploring its vintage stores, jewellery and fashion boutiques while soaking up on a fresh dose of Vitamin E.
Known for its extensive beaches and numerous tourist attractions like the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, and Museum of Art it is great that the shopping at California’s second largest city does not disappoint. We take to the shopping strip of Cedros Avenue Design District; a gem located just two blocks away from Solana Beach. The quaint and laid-back neighbourhood is filled with boutique shops, garden stores, art, home décor and even a marketplace bazaar – truly a standout for the artistic crowd.
California – off the beaten track
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have just returned from an epic loop of the Pacific – Singapore, Hong Kong (leg stretch), San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Sydney, Melbourne (leg stretch), Singapore – in 10 days. Typically, I am not a very regular ‘grammer, but I do tend to get a little Insta-happy while on the road – which is a lot at the moment. Let’s face it, it’s nice to share your favourite moments like hanging out with Olympic rowers on a fresh Saturday morning (yes a little off topic, but certainly a once in a life time opportunity) and the rarity of west coast sunsets.
What a fabulous trip it was; I met some really talented people, discovered many fabulous shops and got to know each city that little bit more. My travelling equals more destinations on Travelshopa. Going off this last trip, 2016 is going to be one mega year for travel + shopping. Have you started looking for flights yet?
One of my favourite things when travelling is talking to people. It’s how I uncover many city secrets, and walking helps me add in the details like the little details on the side of a street, the smells and general sounds of a city. San Francisco is especially pretty and always reminds me of my hometown Sydney; the harbour, shopping and food are all world class.
One fond memory was when a chatty cabby with all time “let’s get away from this traffic” skills was taking me from point A to point B. While climbing the steepest of streets and dodging trams, we were solving the problems of the world revisiting the modern history of his homeland, Singapore. Suddenly, I discovered on Google Maps (aka modern day backseat driving) that we were totally off track and at a crossing unlike any other. My costly detour turned out to be a cultural exploration of the rainbow flag ordained neighbourhood, The Castro. The Sydney girl in me felt instantly at home and reminiscing Oxford Street during Sydney Mardi Gras.
No destination was what I call a virgin visit so there was a strict agenda. Officially adding California (ok… and Australia) to Travelshopa has been a vivid dream for a while, and it’s exciting to know that our coverage of these destinations is going to be available for all to enjoy very soon. For now I am delighted you can explore California off the beaten track – Napa Valley, San Diego and Palm Springs, until we are ready to take on the big smoke.
Immortalized in unforgettable works of film and fiction, California is a dreamer’s paradise where palm trees loom large against a backdrop of brilliant blue. Rolling hills and parched desert lands lay stretched out before us as we cruise along the coastal freeways, our minds exhilarated by the journey ahead. Although inseparable from the glamour of Hollywood, the “Sunshine State” holds many other attractions. Los Angeles itself is an exhilirating city; with a collection of diverse shopping enclaves from Main Street, Santa Monica to Abbot Kinney Boulevard on Venice Beach and the hip Melrose Avenue. To the South, Cedros Avenue along Solana Beach provides hours of pleasure shopping.
With its ombré skies and tree-lined boulevards, California really calls out to us in these ‘postcard images’ and we hope it stirs the lust for travel in you too.
We’re seeing palm trees even in our dreams.
Dancing with the stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The ocean breeze and casual strolls by the beach, this is the quintessential L.A. lifestyle.
Roadtripping our way across the arid Palm Desert to San Diego.
A cloudy fog hangs over the vast desert mounds of California.
“Livin’ it up in the Hotel California…” No, this isn’t the Hotel California that inspired The Eagle’s hit classic of the same name. The song is said to be an “interpretation of the high life in Los Angeles”.
The Vogue Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. You might recognize it from several cameo moments in ‘Lethal Weapon”.
California takes its street art pretty seriously.
The freeway at dusk.
G’day from the USA! Sorry for the silence of late, we have been busy road tripping through sunny California. Although it’s Spring here, we have been enjoying crisp 30+ degrees Celsius, blue skies, and car windows down…
We landed in LA and headed straight for “the desert”. Being our first time in Palm Desert we spent most of the time touring and discovering the sites, and left with a bonus “memory” on an earthquake. In therms of shopping, I wouldn’t say Palm Desert is a shoppers paradise, but we did manage to sniff out a few local shops, local brands (post coming soon) that cater to the local residents. We then headed to the coast (Del Mar) for a little beach action… where we unexpectedly discovered our latest love Cedros Avenue Design District and stumbled upon better local shopping then we ever expected to find! I recommend all travelshopas to put this on on their west coast US shopping itinerary! We finished off our Californian adventure by circling back to LA (to board a plane). And completing a whopping 700 miles in 4 days.
Next stop… Colorado. More soon XX
It’s always nice to be greeted by The President
Green California (and the region of the quake)
Crossing the desert to the beach, where I had an intense “Thelma & Louise” flashback
Hello Pacifico – from the other side
One thing I love about the west coast is the sunsets. The one was not great as there is thick fog at this time of year, but it still itched my scratch
Our latest love…. Cedros Avenue Design District (read all about it)
Image: Bannisters by the Sea
The elegant combination of blue and white has always been a constant designer favourite. What makes this classic duo so popular? Perhaps it is the cool, calm and sophisticated aura it brings to any room or how it goes well with almost any interior design style in the book.
These three beautiful blue and white hotels have channelled the classic combination in every way – whether it is a breezy penthouse by the beach that immediately transports you to Greece or a South Hamptons style seaside hotel for a laidback-luxe stay.
Snag some tips from this colour palette made in interior decorating heaven or plan a stay at one of these hotels.
Wake up to the sound of the waves and power up for some serious R&R at Bannisters by the Sea. Select from one of their 34 refurbished rooms including ace fashion designer, Collette Dinnigan’s interior design debut with the Penthouse Suites. The penthouse offers the perfect dose of blue and white – a milieu of crisp white walls is set against comfy blue-and-white patterned cushions and rugs. The large ocean view balcony makes for a serene escape from the city.
Million-dollar ocean views
Worth getting out for:
Bannisters Pavilion Rooftop Bar & Grill
The epitome of Southern California’s breezy lifestyle, Shutters on the beach is the laidback-luxe stay you never thought you desired. Immerse yourself in the warmth of seaside living at a hotel that exhibits all the charms of a beach cottage. Unwind in one of their 186 rooms and 12 suites – all of which are decked in romantic four-poster beds, blue and white pinstriped sheets, and whirlpool tubs –not to mention the dreamy cerulean sea and silvery sand as the perfect backdrop.
A luxurious yet breezy sojourn
Pool that overlooks the Pacific Ocean
Worth getting out for:
Shopping along Santa Monica Boulevard
WHAT TO PACK
For those who like their getaways to be more intimate, The Colony Hotel offers a true oasis. The adult only boutique hotel offers 20 rooms and though a little off the beaten track, still lies within walking distance to the best bars, beaches and restaurants in Seminyak. But nothing beats the 16-meter pool surrounded by a lush tropical garden, white cabanas and colonial-style rooms.
Hidden oasis in the heart of Seminyak
Worth getting out for:
Delightful restaurants like La Lucciola, Sea Circus and hotspots, Potato Head and Kudeta
Blue and White Hotels