It's long been known for vintage furniture and a certain artsy aesthetic. But Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, California, has recently graduated from hippie to haute with a slew of design-minded shops and restaurants. Heading southeast from Main Street, the mile-long strip is now a one-stop shopping zone for all things chic.
At Tortoise (12-6 Wed-Sun or by appointment; 1208 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310/314-8448), look for bent-cedar bowls, porcelain tea sets, and walnut stools designed by owner Taku Shinomoto.
Nearby, Strange Invisible Perfumes (11-7 Tue-Sat, 12-6 Sun; 1138 Abbot Kinney; 310/314-1555) has the moody interiors of a nightclub but specializes in a different kind of brew: all-natural fragrances custom-blended to match your personality.
At Equator Books (1103 Abbot Kinney; 310/399-5544), L.A. architect Rania Alomar creates a gallery-like atmosphere for first editions and collectibles in categories that range from surfing and architecture to circus freaks and bullfighting.
Things are just as eclectic at Rose (11-6 Tue-Sun or by appointment; 1225 Abbot Kinney; 310/399-0040), which showcases jewelry, art, sculpture, and lots of obscure curios, both new and antique. (Vintage abalone ice bucket, anyone?)
At Happy at the Beach (11-5, Thu-Sun; 1644 Abbot Kinney; 310/396-8616), "one of a kind" comes in the form of nautical-inspired vintage furniture, such as shell-motif barware from the '50s.
After a day of shopping, wind your way to Shima ( $$$$; dinner Tue-Sat, lunch Sun; 1432 Abbot Kinney; 310/314-0882), a split-level sushi restaurant whose cool-as-a-cucumber design speaks to the best of the new on Abbot Kinney.