Don’t bother with LA's ‘Bong District’


Somethings are just too good to be true. In our search for uniquely LA cannabis destinations, we came across the “Bong District,” a strip of wholesale head shop suppliers, walking distance from the downtown flower district. After picking up a few bouquets for our 4/20 feast, we grabbed lunch booking it to what we hoped would be the gold mine of smoking accessories. It wasn’t. The stores here are off-limits to consumers. Most doors are roped off and just about everyone has a sign that reads “wholesale only.” If you happen to get beyond the barriers, what you’ll find is piles of cheap plastic novelties and generic glass pipes. There are some sick hand-painted murals of paraphernalia, but, without a business license, that’s about all there is to see.

If you’re downtown and looking to lose yourself in something, head over to Santee Alley instead. The crowded two-block promenade boasts 150 shops offering designer imposter purses, sunglasses, belt buckles, jewelry, and perfume. There are shops for neon signs and large-format blankets. You can find Gaultier counterfeits, Nike knockoffs, and the same screaming dick pipes you can’t even lay eyes on in the Bong District. Santee Alley has everything you never needed and a few things you might never have known exist. Pot-leaf pasties, anyone?