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Neighborhood Project: Fashion District

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Virtually ignored in most travel guides, this 90-block garment district is arguably the most underrated destination neighborhood in Los Angeles. The Fashion District is dismissed by many as an "off the beaten path" kind of area, when in fact it should be among the top two or three places every visitor to the city should see. That's because LA has become the clothing manufacturing center of America, and the Fashion District is its pulsing heart. More than that, it presents a one-of-a-kind experience only possible in Los Angeles, a funky cross between New York’s Canal Street and a Middle-Eastern bazaar (but with Mexicans). You can buy almost anything here, from shoes to toys to a new pet, and there's no place on the West Coast where you can stretch a 10 dollar bill farther. From the charm of its sidewalk cafés to the persistence of its street hawkers, this is the most frenetic, exciting urban experience in LA. It is also one of downtown's fastest growing neighborhoods, as thousands of new residents will attest.

(Your primer on the fascinating Fashion District begins after the jump!)