Guide to Downtown Shopping
It's the Holiday Season! And shopping doesn’t have to be a horrible drag, or super expensive. Downtown Asheville is full of local shops with amazing unique presents, and plenty of places to recharge and refuel during your trip. Here’s a sampling of where to buy:
Embellish Asheville (59 Broadway Street) features locally made (and affordable!) jewerly, handbags, cocktail accessories, and gifts for men. Pick up a Soulku bracelet for your bestie, and cocktail glasses and mixes for your holiday party.
Desirant, located in the Windsor hotel (34 Broadway), is full of beautiful gift items and whimsical art - it feels like a Parisian boutique. They carry a lot of unique gifts for men, luxurious lingerie, apparel, footwear and skincare for women, local jewelry, home accessories and even baby gifts. Pick up a Brackish bowtie or pin for the dapper Southern gentleman in your life. There is a coffee bar in the store as well if you already need a recharge.
Mast General Store (15 Biltmore Avenue) in Asheville was opened in 1999, and is one of 9 Mast stores around the Carolinas and Tennessee. It is large, 2 stories, with clothing, toys, housewares and candy (lots of barrels of candy!) on the top floor; shoes, coats, and camping supplies in the basement. This is a great shop for toys for your niece or nephew, or an eno hammock for an outdoor enthusiast (or college student). Really, if there’s any one in your life that relishes how it was “back in the day” or is a little bit country - this is your store.
If there is a hiker/camper in your life you can pick up something for them at Mast, or head to Diamond Brand in the lower level of the Aloft Hotel (53 Biltmore Avenue). Diamond Brand also offers free personal outfitting, helping you find gear for whatever you need, from everyday to a thru-hiking trip, check it out on their website at www.diamondbrandoutdoors.com).
While you’re on Biltmore Avenue you can snag lunch at the Blackbird, Chestnut, Wicked Weed, or a quick slice of pizza at the new Manicomio Pizza.
The Kress Emporium at 19 Patton Avenue is a showcase of over 80 local artists and craftspeople. The Kress Building itself is beautiful, built in 1928, the building still has it’s original terra cotta decorative tiles. Inside you can find witty home decor and unique presents for your quirky Aunt’s lakehouse. Kress built hundreds of ornamented “5 and dime” stores on Main Streets throughout the country, and they became infamous for sit-ins to end segregation during the 1960s, most notably in Greensboro, South Carolina.
Lexington Avenue has a lot of great shops:
Duncan & York has an incredible amount of wonderful gifts - I swear every time I go in there I buy something, and I’m amazed at how diverse and fun their selection is; it’s a breath of fresh air after you feel like you’ve seen the same kitschy souvenirs and gifts over and over. Their selection of greeting cards is the best thing ever. I’ve bought jewelry, baby tube socks (great kids gifts!), a t-shirt, a scarf, perfume, placemats - lots of things here. I always make sure I stop by because their selections seems to keep growing and growing!
The Boutique LP right next door is a great clothing store - I bought a gorgeous super soft infinity scarf, and it was only $38. They have a ton of soft sweaters, beautiful necklaces, dresses, fun tees - all in my favorite wardrobe blacks and grays…. (I know, it’s the South, I should wear colors, but I’m a NY girl at heart I guess).
If you need some nibbles along the way sliders at Lexington Avenue Brewery or around the corner at the Rankin Vault Cocktail Lounge on Rankin, along with a local beer, will give you a little retail respite. For a treat with a view, the new AC Hotel's Capella on 9 rooftop bar has amazing views, with food and drinks to match.
Head up Walnut Street to Haywood, where you’ll find Fox & Beaux Boutique and Custom Design Jewelry Studio - hand-crafted necklaces, bracelets, earring and rings made from oxidized silver, gemstones, raw diamonds, and other unique materials. They also offer custom design so you can fashion the perfect gift for someone you love.
Just across the street, Malaprop’s Bookstore (55 Haywood Street) has been downtown Asheville since 1982 and is one of the best independent bookstores in the country. They have a fantastic selection of books, including many signed copies, recommended titles, blind-date-with-a-bookseller selections, and local authors. They also have a great kids section and a wide variety of neat gifts. If you need a hot tea pick-me-up they have a cafe as well.
Union His & Hers Boutique (18 Haywood Street) has a large selection of clothing and jewelry, and the salespeople are very helpful if you need help finding the perfect present for the fashionable 20, 30, or 40 something in your life (or holiday outfit for you!).
Other Stores of Note:
For Dog Lovers:
Patton Avenue Pet Company
The Dog Door
Curio - toys
Nest Organics - baby
East Fork Asheville - Ceramics
C&C Co Naturals - Room Spray and Candles
Asheville Bee Charmer (38 Battery Park Avenue)
The Chocolate Fetish (36 Haywood Street)