When looking for things to do in Long Beach, 4th Street hosts a bounty of cool things: a former silent film theatre with almost 650 seats alongside a pipe organ and orchestra pit, the Pike Fish Grill and a pub crawl that would make Austin, Texas proud. And when it comes to shopping, far from the H&M and Forever 21 of the downtown area, 4th street contains a wide range of secondhand stores. In the past two weeks, I’ve wandered into every single antique, vintage, and thrift store on 4th Street, and here are my favorite finds:
Casa De Luxe
This perfect gem of a vintage store has only been around 12 weeks and I’m totally in love. Located right on the corner of 4th Street and Cherry Ave, Casa De Luxe is a unique collection of the most beautiful and special items around. I wandered in just because the storefront caught my attention and soon found myself in a maze of goods. Each room draws you into the next one, until it eventually opens up into a beautiful succulent garden with items and plants displayed in unique, junk-inspired arrangements, such as on tiny metal spiral staircases that act as shelves or potted in the seat of rusted outdoor chairs.
The garden has a shack attached filled with more expensive antique items. There is also a two or three smaller rooms, some with clothes and jewelry. Perhaps the first thing you’ll notice about the items for sale is that they’re all carefully selected and ridiculously affordable. I enjoyed that I was free to explore without being followed or asked questions. I understand the need to monitor in case of shoplifters, and some people may appreciate the help, but I’m much more of a hands-off, -let-me-do-it-myself-unless-I-ask-you, shopper. Through my wandering, I truly lost myself in this ethereal wonderland of blue glass bottles and grandfather clocks.
I bought an old book My Very Own Fairy Stories by Johnny Gruelle, author of the Raggedy Ann Books.
When checking out my first time there, I saw a giant map on the wall that was not for sale, and I asked the owner (who was running the register) if she had any more like it that I could buy. She was really awesome. I complimented her store and asked her if there are any other vintage stores in the area like it, and she responded “You know, I get that question a lot, and there really aren’t.”
I understood what she meant. There might be some stores that have SOME similar items, but they usually involve digging through a clutter of stuff to find a “steal.” In Casa De Luxe, everything is a steal and placed in such a way that you don’t experience sensory overload just trying to take in a shelf of stuff.
After our conversation, the owner pulled a huge map of the United States out of the back closet for me, and priced it so cheap! I think I’ll use it to outline our travels when my fiancee and I finally decide to settle down.
The rest of her maps were beautiful, many of them smaller, black and white detailed maps of waterways. If I had a home that wasn’t temporary, I would have gone ham buying everything in this place. I mean who doesn’t need a decorative bird cage in their life? I’m a sucker for vintage goods at great prices. Check out some photos of this magical place…
There aren’t a ton of clothing options in Casa De Luxe, but you will find racks of linen shirts or leather jackets placed here and there. While Casa De Luxe is definitely my favorite store on 4th Street, but if I wanted to find other cool items that I couldn’t find there, I’d head to Inretrospect.
This store has some really cool, funky furniture and several mid-century modern pieces if you’re into that sort of thing (I am!). The furniture are all antiques so they are a bit pricier than other places, but well worth it for good style. Aside from furniture, Inretrospect also carries quirky and old books and cassette tapes. It’s also very popular for hosting a number of vinyl records, and their selection is not weak by any means. When I was there I saw records by Led Zeppelin, The Doors, KISS, The Beatles, Madonna, and David Bowie. Wish I had a record player with me on the road!
UPDATE: I talked to one of the cashiers at Inretrospect this weekend and she told me that the record guy comes and brings in fresh finds at least 2 or 3 times per week. He also does the sunglasses, which are expensive but really good vintage finds if that’s where you want to spend your money. I didn’t buy anything here because I can’t use the furniture and I don’t have a vinyl record player (yet), but I thoroughly enjoyed walking through it.
There are also a ton of thrift stores on 4th street that specialize more in clothing as well, however I’m trying to cut back my wardrobe so I tried to steer away from them for the time being. I will mention that when I was shopping for a t-shirt for a friend, I ended up buying from SongBird, a rather charming vintage clothing and knickknack store on 4th street that seemed to have a lot of items inspired by pop art. Because my friend is a huge Andy Warhol fan, this was the perfect place to find him a birthday present.
I can’t wait to see what else Long Beach has to offer! My sister is coming in town this weekend, so I would expect a foodie posts coming soon!