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The New Hollywood

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Examiner Charles Ryan was invited by the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance to take a tour of some new and soon-to-be shopping gems along or close to Hollywood Boulevard. The group met at the Hollywood Galaxy Shopping Center (across from The Roosevelt) outside of what will be the MUJI West Coast flagship store and ended sweetly at the new collaboration store between Disney and Ghirardelli next to the El Capitan Theater.

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For those who don't know, MUJI has actually been around for quite a long time. Around since 1980, the first US location opened in NYC's SoHo in 2007, followed by more in the New York area, and openings in Northern California. What are they known for? Very highly conceptualized and simplistic designs to fit just about anyone's life. Think of it as if IKEA and UNIQLO had a really cool baby. What will make this new MUJI store on Hollywood Boulevard better than the rest? It will be the largest in the US (with over 8,600 square feet of retail space) and carry certain lines and specialties (such as MUJI Labo and Found MUJI) that will not be available anywhere else in the country.

A pop-up shop will open on Saturday, December 7th outside of the soon to be location and run until December 31st. The store will open on December 14th and will have the following hours: Monday through Saturday from 10am - 9pm, and 11am - 7pm on Sundays.

As the group headed east along Hollywood Boulevard, another great hidden gem was found on Cherokee (the block south of Hollywood) - Artstring. This amazing little boutique was founded by Emilie Odeile a couple of years ago after she took up knitting and found out that she was REALLY GOOD! The store is a visual feast of fabrics, knits, strings, and colors - plus, Emilie is a very warm and inviting owner. She even has knitting parties!!! Whether you know how to knit, want to get together with some friends and learn, or just drink wine - she's here to provide!

The tour ended with one of the best ice cream sundaes ever from the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop! Set up as a great collaboration store between Ghirardelli and Disney - this is a kid's dreamland. Chocolate, ice cream, Disney, princesses: it's got it all.

Along the journey the group got to experience two classic Hollywood institutions: Frederick's, and the Artisan's Patio. These stores have not only managed to stay around (after countless Hollywood transformations) to retain not only their place in people's memories, but keep making them.

Great facts about these two places (and reasons enough to go):

- Frederick's introduced the following to the United States: black lingerie, the world's first push up bra, and the thong.

- Amoeba (long-considered the music mecca of Hollywood) goes to the Artisan's Patio for records they can't find!

Hollywood still retains much of its small-town feel if you look for it. Sure, it's been almost a century since it turned from a sleepy town on the outskirts of LA into Tinseltown - but its charm is very much still alive. Check these new places out, and throw in some Hollywood vintage destinations, to make for a fun weekend activity for all ages.

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