One look at the red brick-lined streets and buildings in The Exchange and you might just believe you are in Greenwich Village--until you spot the palm trees. Green awnings grace the shop windows. Charming street lamps line the walkways where the occasional park bench beckons shoppers to rest their tootsies as they listen to peaceful sounds of trickling water from black-tiled fountains.
The Exchange is bordered by four streets: Wilson Avenue and Broadway on the north and south, and North Maryland Avenue and North Brand Boulevard on the east and west. Several additional shops are in the surrounding area. There are several eateries, a movie theater complex and shops galore. Though it would be a breeze to while away a day taking in a film, doing lunch and shopping, it's possible to experience the place in three hours if you're not a hard-core cinephile.
Parking is tight. The theaters offer their own parking areas; metered spots and a few independently operated lots also are available in the area. The cheapest and least restrictive alternative is to try to find a legal, free spot on the street without a time limit.
Noon: For lunch, dash into Raffi's Place, an intimate eatery specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. Chef/owner Raffi Bakijian creates a variety of hot entrees, unusual salads, interesting sandwiches and appealing vegetarian appetizers. Gyros are featured alongside American hamburgers and hot dogs, and those with a sweet tooth will enjoy munching on baklava.
211 E. Broadway, Unit E. Glendale, (818) 240-7411.
1 p.m.: Stop into the Gift Registry and check out the varied assortment of personalized presents for friends, or indulgences for yourself. Dress-up enthusiasts might want to play with the elegant assortment of hats, including wide-brim Australian straw and velvet cloche styles. They even offer a feminine chapeaus collection for little girls. A corporate program featuring a variety of crystal, acrylic and brass items ready to be personalized makes group gift-giving easier.
117 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale (818) 545-3636.
1:30 p.m.: Treasures from decades gone by abound at Domaine. This antique store has a hodgepodge of items from several countries and time periods. Moorish wall art hangs above an English pine trunk that serves as a table for reproductions of old monkey candlesticks. There are sets of elegant crystal as well as assorted sterling silver spoons inside this most eclectic shop.
121 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale (818) 240-6611.
1:40 p.m.: Sure, they have itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie bikinis at Exposure, but there are also bathing suits to fit the rest of us. Bathing beauties will find their favorite name brands--Daffy, Jag, Sirena, Cole, Baja Blue and Catalina. The store also offers cover-ups to match and a few standard apparel items, such as message Ts that read "Forgive" and "Believe." Women who prefer to order swim tops and bottoms separately are in luck--the store offers them in larger-than-average sizes.
127 N. Maryland Ave., Glendale (818) 244-5960.
2 p.m.: Kitchen gadgets are just the tip of the iceberg at California Kitchens Etc. This large shop is awash with light from its many windows; so much the better to cook by, since the store offers several cooking classes (they call them workshops)--and much of the gear you'll need for the task, natch. Hard-to-find goodies such as parchment paper for baking and sheer mesh to wrap around lemon wedges (so very Martha Stewart) are in ample supply here. There is also an assortment of bread machines, waffle makers and other kitchen appliances. Cookware, including the German line Berndes, is available as well.
129 N. Maryland Ave. (818) 241-8857.
2:20 p.m.: No need to drive into downtown L.A. for great bargains on baubles. The Glendale Jewelry Mart houses 20 independent jewelers carrying a variety of gold jewelry, diamond tennis bracelets, wedding and engagement rings, loose diamonds and other precious and semiprecious stones. Prices here are competitive with other jewelry marts that sell for near-wholesale prices. A certified goldsmith sets everything right on the premises. Custom orders are available, and those with heirloom or other existing stones can have their items reset here. For those low on cash but big on indulgences, layaway programs are available.
200 N. Brand Blvd. (818) 502-1776.
2:45 p.m.: No, you won't see Mick Jagger or any other Rolling Stones, but you will find a variety of sweet confections at Sticky Fingers. The store offers unusual candies such as chocolate Gummi bears, giant jawbreakers and pet tarantula candy. Dieters and diabetics who love sweets take note: Some of the offerings are sugar-free.
124 N. Maryland Ave., (818) 500-1782.