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Yelp and Google Maps pretty much have you covered. This list is just for recommendations.

Shopping destinations

Within Walking Distance From Caltech

Grocery Stores

  • Fresh and Easy is about 10 minutes walking distance from the Catalinas. Of the stores nearby, it is open the longest (7 am to 11 pm, 7 days a week). Fresh and Easy also usually has the best deals on fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Pavilions is near Fresh and Easy, about 10 minutes walking distance from the Catalinas.
  • Trader Joe's is about 6 minutes walking distance from the Catalinas. More affordable than Whole Foods Market, it's a great place to buy healthy food. They have a very good frozen food section.
  • Walgreens is about 5 minutes walking distance from the Catalinas. On the way to Trader Joe's, it is a great place to buy cleaning items, toiletry items, and fulfill pharmaceutical prescriptions.

Department Stores

You can find virtually everything in these stores, from clothing and shoes to kitchenware and luggage. These department stores usually have many locations. Only the closest locations to Caltech are listed.

  • Macy’s Macy’s is a more upscale department store. Their merchandises have better quality and of course, higher price. Look for sales around holidays and weekends.
  • Sears The local Sears features an auto center that sometimes has good deals on tires.
  • Target Within walking distance from Caltech, Target offers a large selection of merchandises for good prices. Especially in your first days after arriving at Caltech, you can get office supplies, kitchenware, bathroom supplies, furniture etc. with one trip to Target.


  • The Grove
  • Beverly Center A place to see and be seen. Don’t be surprised if you end up behind a celebrity in this chic mall. The only mall where people look as if they spent a couple of hours planning what to wear to go shopping.
  • Glendale Galleria and Americana On Brand, south of 134; A beauty of a mall. Take your walking shoes and your check book.
  • Santa Anita Mall 400 S. Baldwin Ave (off Huntington Dr.) in Arcadia; All-American shopping mall with dozens of shops (including Macy’s, Nordstrom, JCPenney, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer, Men’s Wearhouse, as well as specialty footwear, sports and jewelry stores).

Outlet Malls

  • Barstow This outlet mall is really far, about two-hour drive from Pasadena, half way between LA and Las Vegas. It’s convenient to stop by on your way home from Las Vegas, because their prices are lower than most other outlets. It’s interesting to shop there, as the mall is located in the middle of the desert.
  • Citadel Closest outlet mall, only about 15-20 mins away! (Except during rush hour.) The Ann Taylor outlet is a good source of suits for interviews and nicer-end lab wear.
  • Ontario Mills An outlet mall. May not have the latest trend, but the price surely fits a graduate student’s budget. Drive from Caltech is about 40 minutes.
  • Lake Ave Between California and Green, within walking distance from Caltech. Newly expanded. Makes a nice stroll after lunch.
  • Old Town Pasadena Colorado Blvd. between Pasadena and Arroyo, Pasadena. Much like a mall, but along a street instead of inside a building.


  • Vromans - Independent bookstore on Colorado, they also host interesting events.
  • Book Alley
  • Mitchell Books Next door to Crime Time, Mitchell Books handles used and out-of-print mystery, crime, and detective fiction.



  • Caltech Wired -located next to the caltech bookstore, small selection but short trip
  • Best Buy-Large retail chain in Sierra Madre shopping area of Pasadena
  • Fry's Electronics - West coast chain, best selection


Home Improvement

  • Home Depot -2 locations near Pasadena. Home Depot is the largest hardware store in the area. They have loads of stuff at good prices, will cut lumber for you, and rent you a truck (and tools) in which to take it home. Plus, they're open until 11, 7 days a week. The Hollywood location is open till 12.
  • Orchard Supply Hardware (OSH) OSH is California's most successful hardware chain, with good reason. They have everything you would expect of a hardware and garden store, and the staff (if you can find them) are helpful. They also sell plants.
  • Berg Hardware The favorite hardware store of Caltech grease monkeys. The staff is helpful, and they stock many items you can't find anywhere else. Large selections of superglue, solvents, tools, machine screws, and sundry doodads. You can set up an account on your Caltech budget. Open M-F until 7.
  • Pasadena Paint & Hardware (TrueValue) This is a good all-around hardware store, with paint - lots of paint. The staff is very helpful, knowledgeable, and easy to find. Open until 6, Sunday until 5.

Furniture and Appliances

Record Stores

  • Amoeba The world’s largest independent music store; they carry an impressive selection of used and new CDs and vinyl. A fun place to spend an evening and blow a paycheck.
  • Canterbury Records Just as expensive as any other record shop in the area but has a much more eclectic selection than you'll find at Tower Records, particularly in the world music section. It's also close, just across the street from Target. Small but cheap used vinyl section. They sell used CDs as well as new, and DVDs and VHS movies as well. I had trouble finding some more obscure new releases, so it might be worth it to call first if you're looking for something in particular, but it's a great place to browse and you can find some nice deals.

Music Supply

Office Supply

Second-Hand Goods

Pasadena and Los Angeles have made an art of antique and second hand shopping. Almost anything from clothes and jewelry to furniture and appliances can be purchased second-hand for a reasonable price, but be aware that once you purchase an item it cannot be returned.

  • This newsgroup intends to be a site where Caltech students (and other people) can buy and sell easily without posting flyers all over campus.
  • Out of the Closet
  • Buffalo Exchange This used clothing store has locations in central LA (131 N La Brea S of Beverly) and Sherman Oaks (14621 Ventura Blvd). They typically have pretty good stuff, but not cheap. They also buy used clothes, but only what they consider to be currently in fashion.
  • Melrose Ave There is a dedicated sunday swap meet on the corner of Melrose and La Cienega. They do charge a few dollars admission but the prices are very, very good.
  • PCC Flea Market This event occurs the first Sunday morning of every month at PCC. No admission fee is charged. A good place to find cheap furniture; more bargains than the Rose Bowl.
  • Style on Green A consignment store for women’s clothes.
  • Rose Bowl Flea Market "The Biggest of Them All", this flea market takes place the second Sunday of every month at the Rose Bowl. There is an admission fee.
  • Salvation Army A thrifty chain store. You can find some decent furniture there for less than half of the original price. You can also donate your furniture and clothing there.

Sporting goods

  • Big 5 carries a wide variety of sporting equipment, but it is not necessarily top quality. I found this store surprisingly trashy.
  • Chick’s They have a good selection of shoes and clothing, and fairly average prices.
  • Play It Again Sports chain store carrying used and some new sports equipment.
  • REI REI specializes in outdoor gear. Go here for hiking, camping, climbing and kayaking stuff. They also carry their own brand of bicycles. They offer classes and trips meeting at their various locations around LA.
  • Sport Chalet Fantastic selection of outdoor and sports gear at reasonable prices.

Warehouse, Bulk Stores

  • Costco
  • Smart and Final -Good for party supplies. Or just to marvel at the huge sized containers.