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Unique Shops in Santa Monica

Woman examining produce at a farmer's market

At one point or another, the cookie-cutter chain retail stores lose their appeal. There’s a lack of individuality, uniqueness, and one-of-a-kind items on sale. Luckily, there are a handful of unique shops in Santa Monica that offer a wide variety of distinct merchandise and wares. Here are some of the top-rated shops near the Alder luxury apartment homes.

Andrew’s Cheese Shop

Andrew is a renowned cheese expert, even earning the name of Maitre d’Fromage, and this is his specialty cheese shop. You can find over 200 varieties of artisanal cheese, surpassing even the most high-end grocers and farmers markets in the area.

The store also stocks a variety of crackers, oils, and wines to pair with your selection. If you’re unsure about a pairing, ask Andrew. His exquisite tastes will never steer you wrong. Plus, you can pick up some handmade sandwiches and a picnic basket to take to the park, making this a one-stop shop for all of your cheesy needs.


Mindfulnest is a collection of handmade and unique art/artisan gifts. The store is committed to supporting to small businesses and artists in the United States, which means you’ll never find a big-box item on the shelves. Over 70% of those artists live right here in California, promoting the local art scene while creating a more mindful shopping experience.

So, what can you find at Mindfulnest? Just about anything you can think of! Here are a few categories to give you and idea of the types of products sold:

  • Jewelry
  • Paintings
  • Soaps
  • Ceramics
  • Clothing
  • Silverware
  • Greeting Cards
  • Home Décor

Lost & Found

Looking for something a little more…unusual? Lost & Found offers eclectic goods from all over the world ranging from clothing lines to accessories and hand-crafted pieces for your home. What started as an experiment to explore new ideas quickly turned into and international concoction of rare and unique goods.

Could your couch use George Washington throw pillows? Maybe you need a little French perfume? How about jewelry from Philippe Audibert, a blouse from designer Dierdre Roffoni, or a Cym Warkov ceramic vase? Whatever it is, you can find it at Lost & Found.

There are two locations for this store in the Santa Monica area. Lost & Found is the flagship, selling clothing and accessories from independent designers, while Lost & Found Home focuses on home goods from global artisans. Best of all, you can find both locations on Main Street.

The Acorn Store

Children and adults alike will find that The Acorn Store is filled with magic and wonder. This playroom-esque store space offers all sorts of wooden toys designed to foster a child’s imagination and support their creativity. All toys are designed for the early childhood years, but the inspiration they provide and quality level of craftsmanship appeals to all ages.

Aside from wooden creations, The Acorn Store also sells a variety of books, dolls, and costume-style clothing perfect for dress up games and adventure. They have everything from fireman jackets to princess dresses, which pair with nearly every toy in the shop.

Haute Seconds

This designer retail consignment shop specializes in luxury labels ranging from Chanel to Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin. Contemporary labels like Helmut Lang are also found on their many racks. Owner Patty Fischer Turner’s team of purveyors hunt down some of the most coveted brands on the planet at resale, making it possible to pick up the prim de la prim of fashion at a far more reasonable price.

All items in the store are vetted for 100% authenticity, cleaned, and guaranteed to be in pristine condition. Haute Seconds also provides a resale service, placing your designer items on their racks. You can earn 40% off of each sale made, which can help clear out your closet while earning you some extra spending money.

Santa Monica Farmers Markets

Not everyone associates buying groceries with a shopping spree, but it can be as much of a splurge on luxury items as any retail store. Case in point, the Santa Monica Farmers Markets. This market is overflowing with produce from California’s organic and natural farms. This experience is quintessential to life in SoCal, so you might as well add it to your list.

The first market to check out is on Arizona Avenue, which takes place Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can find chefs from all over the Los Angeles area in this downtown locale snatching up the freshest ingredients around. There are also numerous restaurants with seasonally inspired menus to help you refuel during your visit.

Second, there’s the market on Virginia Avenue every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is where you’ll find the best seafood in the area as well as preserving classes taught at the Master Gardener booth. Then, of course, there’s Main Street’s market with live music and fresh-roasted coffee. It’s interactive activities make it a perfect stop for parents on-the-go with little ones who probably aren’t into grocery shopping at their age.

What makes these markets unique? Simple. It’s their commitment to top-quality ingredients, organic produce, and fresh meats. You can eat like royalty while staying as healthy as can be at the same time.

Alder Luxury Apartment Homes

Equally unique in design and accommodation, Alder provides residents with the radiant life. These new apartment homes are adorned with modern interiors, designer-selected finishes, and a signature style that creates an envious appeal. On top of that rests a selection of carefully curated amenities designed to cater to every facet of life. With a central Northridge location, you’re close to LA’s action while remaining in close proximity to SoCal’s nature escapes.

From state-of-the-art fitness center to resort-style pools, quartz kitchen countertops to smart building technology, and the Plaza Di Northridge to Cal State, Alder elevates your sense of living. These homes are anything but the cookie-cutter rental experience. Welcome to a space to unwind and recharge. Welcome to Alder, the perfect place to call home.