WHERE TO SHOP FOR GIFTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE
There’s no better excuse for shopping than shopping for someone else- and, of course, it makes sense to pick up a treat (or two) for yourself while you’re out. Read on for some classic Charlottesville spots to gift shop.
Charlottesville has a few famous foods (ahem, Bodos), but they don’t exactly wrap up well, except our own infamous chocolatier’s truffle sets. For a luxe gift, stop by Gearharts Fine Chocolate and hand-select a collection of truffles to take along- after sampling a few, of course. For something more casual, take a drive out to Afton Mountain and stop by the King’s Gourmet Popcorn truck for a bag or two of savory and kettle corn in any of 18+ flavors.
When buying flowers, there are two rules: shop fresh, and shop local. For traditional florists in town, you have a few options: Hedge Fine Blooms, Agape, Plantscapes, and the Flower Shop will all get the job done. Hedge is located on the downtown mall and is known for exquisite arrangements for any occasion. Agape (next to the Shebeen Pub & Braai on Ridge Macintyre) sources excellent roses, and will make custom arrangements with flora you bring in – excellent if you want to build a truly personal piece. Plantscapes is a truly local establishment, and has been around since 1982. If you’re looking for a living green gift, try Ivy Nursery or the Market at Grelen (also worth a visit for their excellent boutique shop and wine bar).
Vintage clothing is having a permanent moment in Charlottesville, and vintage gifts ought to follow the trend. Ike’s Underground on the Downtown Mall is a delightful, literally underground store in the belly of the mall, beneath the Tea Bazaar. Ike collects all things weird and wonderful, and passes them on to the community through his shop. You never know quite what you’ll find! Another great vintage shop is Low Vintage, also on the downtown mall, where you can find antiques and fun items from years past.
If you happen to be around for one of Charlottesville’s many farmer’s markets, they’re an excellent place to check out local artisan wares. Looking for something more global? Try Ten Thousand Villages on the mall, which sources fair trade goods from makers all over the world.
Shopping for someone small? Charlottesville is one of those towns that is quaintly blessed with two local toy shops: Alakazam, on the Downtown Mall, and Shenanigans, on West Main. Both stores have their own playful vibes, and are sure to remind you of childhood- and outfit you with all the tools to relive it.
For classic Virginia gift shopping, try the Virginia Shop at Barracks Road, where you’ll find all sorts of themed ephemera and some of the best peanuts in the state. On the mall, drop by O’Suzannah, where soft, extremely instagrammable color-arranged displays promise to guide shoppers into something unexpected and ideal.
Shopping for a University student, alum, or hopeful? There’s always the University Bookstore on grounds, and Mincer’s (sportswear, clothing, UVA kitsch) has opened a second location at the Shops at Stonefield in addition to their traditional corner location.
Know of a gift shop we missed? List it in the comments below. And if you are coming into town, Stay Charlottesville has the perfect place for you to rest after your busy shopping days!