The 10 best gifts for the L.A.-obsessed friends in your life

Christmas tree ornament illustration
(Roselly Monegro / For The Times)
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This is part of the L.A. Times 2021 gift guide. See the full guide here.

Oh, you love L.A.? Say it with your chest! Or better yet, with what’s on it. Merch has long been a way of announcing your dedication to a person, thing or place, and in Los Angeles there are no shortages of restaurants, coffee shops, bars and breweries that feel representative of a certain facet of culture in this city. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites — with the promise that the diehard Angeleno in your life won’t be able to resist.

Happy merching!

Monty’s Good Burger

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: Monty's Good Burger Dodgy Monty Raglan
(Monty’s Good Burger)
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You can usually spot Monty’s Good Burger, the beloved vegan burger joint with locations across L.A., for its lines down the block. Part of that is for the burgers — with juicy patties, fresh veggies, homemade pickles and special sauce, not to mention the crisp tater tots and milkshakes — but part of it is for the merch. Much of the eatery’s apparel features its adorable mascot, like this Dodgy Monty Raglan ($35), which doubles as an ode to the Dodgers.

$35 | 👉 Purchase here

Sonoratown tee

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: Sonoratown T-shirt
(Sonoratown)

Sonoratown is known for lines out the door, chewy flour tortillas and the smell of mesquite-grilled steak wafting out of its doors in the Fashion District. But most of all, it’s the place you go to when you need a slice of San Luis Río Colorado in L.A. — and one of the city’s favorite taquerias. (You didn’t hear it from us, but it also may be the best hangover food in town.) Rep your love for Sonoratown — and your unofficial allegiance to flour over corn — with its $20 tee. Available in person or through Postmates and Uber Eats. 208 E 8th St., Los Angeles.

$20 | 👉 Purchase here

Grand Central Market Tote

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: Grand Central Market Market Tote
(Grand Central Market)

Ah, Grand Central Market. Where else can you get the best Buko pie, authentic pupusas, an Instagram-famous soft scrambled egg sandwich, all the dried chiles your heart desires and fix that gold chain that’s been broken for years? Basically, it’s a microcosm of Los Angeles. And what better way to say you love it than securing its (tote) bag? Simple, sleek and good to hold your groceries, laptop, hopes and dreams, the Grand Central Market Tote ($25) is a must-have accessory this holiday season.

$25 | 👉 Purchase here

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Jon & Vinny’s OG Pizza Man Fairfax Tee

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: Jon and Vinny's OG Pizza Man Fairfax Tee
(Jon and Vinny’s)

Jon & Vinny’s is where cool kids eat good Italian in L.A. Just try to get a table on a random Thursday at its Fairfax location (nearly impossible, which of course makes the desire to be cradled in the smell of freshly baked dough even stronger). Profess your love for Jon & Vinny’s ricotta and orange blossom honey bruschetta — and the Fairfax District — in style with the OG Pizza Man Fairfax Tee ($30).

$30 | 👉 Purchase here

Koreatown Run Club Line Hotel Hoodie

Forest green Koreatown Run Club hoodie
(Koreatown Run Club)

Koreatown Run Club merch is among the coolest unofficial streetwear in the city. KRC founders Mike Pak and Duy Nguyen have released multiple must-have pieces since the brand’s inception — including this KRC Line Hotel Hoodie ($65), which features the design of their most popular tee on a midweight Champion hoodie. While the brand has reached cult status among Koreatown Run Club members and fitness-y people in L.A., you don’t actually have to be a runner to rock their gear (we promise we won’t tell!).

$65 | 👉 Purchase here

Kindness & Mischief Coffee MiiR Travel Tumbler

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: K+M Coffee Diner Mug
(K+M Coffee)

Monique “Mo” Maravilla’s coffee shop in Highland Park is bright, airy and home to the best Miso Caramel Latte around. The Northeast L.A. native has made sure the merch matches the vibe, with dad caps, T-shirts and mugs galore featuring K&M’s signature label and fox motif — but it’s the K&M MiiR Travel Tumbler ($32) that really hits. Designed by local artist Colin Ozawa, the Tumbler features layered geometric designs in a coral and turquoise color way, perfect to hold your hot or cold to-go orders with no chance of leakage.

$32 | 👉 Purchase here

Espacio 1839 Boyle Heights tee

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: Espacio 1839 Boyle Heights T-shirt
(Espacio 1839)

Espacio 1839, a Boyle Heights shop and podcast studio filled with handmade items, apparel, art and books from local and Latinx makers, has endless gift options for the holidays — but it’s the Boyle Heights tee ($23.99), printed in the style of the official blue neighborhood signs across the city, that serves as the ultimate homage to place and time.

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$23.99 | 👉Purchase here

LACMA Hand Painted Sign Champion Reverse Weave Sweatshirt

GIFT GUIDE - MERCH: LACMA Hand Painted Sweater
(LACMA)

Drawing on L.A.’s tradition of hand-painted signs, the LACMA Hand Painted Sign Champion Reverse Weave Sweatshirt ($79) is a piece of art in itself. Silkscreened on a gray Champion sweatshirt, with the lettering designed by Ben Klevay’s She Chimp, the museum sweatshirt is the perfect lightweight layer to transition into L.A.’s version of winter.

$79 | 👉 Purchase here

Highland Park Brewery’s Timbo Pils lighter

Highland Park Brewery - Timbo Lighter, $6
(James Sullivan)

OK, everyone loves a matchbook from a bar but what about a lighter from a brewery? Highland Park Brewery’s Timbo Pils lighter features a design inspired by the one on the can of its wildly popular Timbo Pils beer — but instead of the original art, which is two hands on a guitar, it’s been remixed with two hands on a huge joint. Yes, iconic, and a steal at $6.

$6 | 👉 Purchase here

Night + Market Larb King hat

Night + Market - Larb King New Era Snapback, $30
(Night + Market)

People are obsessed with L.A.’s colorful, chaotic-good Thai restaurant Night + Market (with locations in Silver Lake, West Hollywood and Venice) for countless reasons — including its nam khao tod and extensive wine list. But the merch is equally popping. Cop the Larb King hat ($30), made on a New Era snapback for the foodie in your life who loves supporting L.A. restaurants.

$30 | 👉 Purchase here

South LA Cafe South Central Hoodie

South L.A. Cafe - South Central Hoodie, $35
(South LA Cafe)

Celia and Joe Ward-Wallace’s coffee shop has become so much more than just a place to get a jolt for South L.A. It’s about community and connection — a place where people gather, celebrate and organize — which is exactly what the owners intended. You can’t go wrong with anything from South LA Cafe’s merch line, but the South Central Hoodie ($35), in old English lettering, is a perfect way to take your neighborhood with you everywhere you go.

$38 | 👉 Purchase here

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