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Spend Shopping Season in California

Nov. 4, 2019

California’s artisan boutiques, galleries and markets offer unique hand-crafted treasures and creatively curated product selections that reflect and support the local community. Whether you’re shopping for the holidays or marking a special birthday, anniversary or occasion, the Golden State is the perfect place to find memorable and meaningful gifts.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

Acquire Artsy Treasures in Mendocino County
Art haven Mendocino County features a variety of shops where you can buy their regional wares. The historic Coast Highway Artists Collective, boutique shop Caspar Curiosities and The Artist's Collective in Elk all feature original artwork from local Mendocino-area artists. Downtown Mendocino boasts many galleries and artisan shops, including Mendocino Chocolate Company, where chocolatiers use confections as their canvas. Create your own artsy gift by taking a class at Mendocino Art Center or Gualala Art Center.

 

North Lake Tahoe: Shop Local with a Mountain Vibe
North Lake Tahoe offers many artisan shops that lure passionate outdoor enthusiasts indoors. Whether it’s accessories from resident jewelry maker Lauren Bobowski (Lala Jewelry), wood products by Andy Cline (Roundwood Furniture) or photography prints by Keoki, shopping local provides a tangible piece of unique Tahoe culture. The Visitor Center in Tahoe City features many locally sourced gifts, while the Trunk Show in Tahoe City provides an ever-rotating collection of handmade items.

 

Shop Old-School in Gold Country
Downtown Sonora in Tuolumne County offers unique shopping in the  charming historic square year-round, including gift boutiques, antique shops and the 2nd Saturday Art Night where merchants open their doors from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. to host evening gift and art shopping accompanied by live music. While store-front windows are painted and street lamps are dressed in wreaths, pick up handmade crafts at the Annual Sonora Christmas Craft and Musical Festival.

 

Napa Valley Shops Offer Way More than Wine
Built on a small business culture, downtown Napa boasts local clothing boutiques, antique emporiums, home furnishing stores, gourmet food and wine. Oxbow Public Market features gourmet gifts by artisanal vendors ranging from wine and olive oil to creative desserts and decadent chocolates. In St. Helena, shoppers can find niche boutiques, such as Carter & Co., featuring local handmade ceramic dinnerware, and Pennyweight, which offers leather goods, artisanal paper and glass, apothecary, writing instruments, sculpture and jewelry.

 

Shop Editorial Fashions in Oakland
Oakland boasts trend-setting pop-up shopping neighborhoods and artisan alleys full of locally made products. Oaklandish, a lifestyle apparel brand specializing in screen printed graphics highlighting the local history and cultural legacy, supports community events and pro bono work. McMullen Flagship features curated global fashions who offer conscious, inclusive, fashion-forward and timeless pieces. Owner Sherri McMullen regularly hosts fundraisers for organizations focusing on women, kids and the arts. 

 

Give Philanthropic Gifts from National Park Visitor Centers
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area Visitor Centers, which span over 60 miles of mostly coastal areas north and south of San Francisco, provide the perfect opportunity to purchase with a bigger purpose. All proceeds specifically benefit the parks by restoring trails, improving beaches, and making the parks accessible. Learn about the vast natural and cultural history of the area and browse the selection of unique interpretive items for purchase, as well as seasonal sales.

 

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

 

Find Tasty Culinary Treats in the Garlic Capital of the World
The best place to start shopping in Gilroy—an agritourism destination known as the “Garlic Capital of the World"—is the California Welcome Center Gilroy. Located in the Gilroy Premium Outlets, the center offers unique regional souvenirs and gifts. Iconic retailer Jelly Belly’s Outlet Store provides tasty treat samples, while Casa de Fruta sells local gourmet fruits, nuts and handmade candy. Visit Gilroy offers this handy downloadable map to find garlic gifts and goodies.

 

Buy Local in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Carmel-by-the-Sea’s whimsical stone-paved alleyways and curlicue-roofed shops provide a picture-perfect backdrop that inspires every kind of shopper. Independent family-owned boutiques abound, including Bee, Bark & Moss bags and soft furnishings, Wicks & Wax candles, Jane Austen at Home antiques, Soiled Doves Bath House, and more. The walkable one-square-mile village and its fairytale architecture transport visitors into a Charles Dickens-inspired wonderland during the holidays, which boast quaint seasonal events.

 

Explore All of Paso Robles in One Stop at Downtown Shops
Downtown Paso Robles boutiques showcase the destination’s agritourism and artisanal heritage in one location. The new Paso Market Walk features a collection of handpicked farmers, ranchers, chefs, vintners, makers, and producers who use sustainable practices. The General Store sells artisan gifts and provisions, while SLO Sweets offers old-fashioned candy—with gluten-free, sugar-free and vegan options.

 

Shop Retro Style in Old Town Camarillo
Shoppers with a love for vintage, retro and antique pieces will enjoy exploring the historic streets of Old Town Camarillo, including the Antique Mall of Camarillo. Here, the shops specialize in items from different styles, periods of time, and design movements, ranging from Hollywood Regency, French Provincial and Native American to Mid-Century Modern.

 

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

Shop for Locally Inspired Clothing and Sportswear in Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach—home to more than 100 unique shops and boutiques—recently landed the top spot on the “Top 20 Cities in the US to Shop Local in 2018.” Visitors should set their sights on Ocean and Forest Avenues, and along Pacific Coast Highway. Suggested shops include Areo, Brass Tack, Tuvalu, Simple, National Geographic Fine Art Galleries, Kush Fine Art, Elena Bulatova Gallery, Hobie, Black Bough and Buy Hand.

 

Find Nautically Inspired Gifts at Maritime Museum of San Diego
Nautical buffs can hunt for unique gifts and souvenirs at the Maritime Museum of San Diego (MMSD), located aboard the 1898 Steam Ferryboat Berkeley. There they can peruse handcrafted gifts, unique MMSD memorabilia, and San Diego inspired souvenirs ranging from challenge coins and ship models to spy glasses.

 

For more information on shopping in California, visit the Shopping Hot Spots feature on VisiCalifornia.com.

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