Chain stores (think J. Crew, Gap, and Barnes & Noble) line the faux cobblestone streets. But there's also a Nordstrom's department store, a Crate & Barrel, a Barney's Co-Op post, an Apple store, an American Girl Doll Store, and a fantastic movie theater where you are most likely to spy celebs catching the latest releases.
For dining, you can hit up the Cheesecake Factory or the sumptuous Italian restaurant, La Piazza, among others while you take in a mini-water show at the center's centerpiece water fountain.
But if you don't want a generic restaurant experience, visit the adjacent Farmer's Market, which is a treasured piece of LA's history. The Farmer's Market started out in 1934 as just that, a place for farmer's to sell their produce. It soon became a top meeting spot in LA. and now has evolved into a hodgepodge assortment of stalls and booths selling everything from crepes to candy to ice cream and Chinese food and unbelievable cheesy tourist stuff (think a mug shaped like a fat woman wearing a bikini that says "Welcome to LA".) But we love it all.
Strolling out of the low-ceilinged Farmer's Market back into the open air of The Grove, it feels as if you stepped onto the set of a movie about a real city -- one that shuts down at 10 p.m. Only in LA.
If you plan on visiting on a Saturday, get here early...like 10 minutes before the place opens, to secure a spot. The garage fills up quickly. Also, if you are parked in the Farmer's Market lot, you need to buy something from Farmer's Market to get parking validation. Nothing from The Grove stores will validate that ticket and vice versa.
[Photo Credit: wilba1]