Shop Til’ You Drop This Holiday Season

Thursday November 29, 2012

With baseball behind us, the Blues locked out and the Ram’s schedule dwindling, it’s time to turn our attention to another sport St. Louis excels at–SHOPPING!

Shop DecorationsWith the flurry of shopping options here, it’s surprising The Lou isn’t nicknamed “Elfville.”

From upscale national stores like Nordstrom, Saks and Neiman-Marcus to cozy boutiques and specialty shops with outstanding selections, you’ll find something perfect for even the hardest person to buy for on your holiday list.

Visiting St. Louis’ diverse neighborhoods or St. Louis County’s unique municipalities turns the holiday shopping chore into a mini-getaway. Grab a cup o’ joe at a neighborhood coffee shop or kick back over lunch at one of the area’s many one-of-a-kind restaurants during your quest for the perfect gift.

Shop St. Louis’ Cultural Institutions

Some of the best holiday shopping happens at shops in St. Louis’s major cultural institutions in Forest Park. Plus, admission to each and every venue is free!

Missouri History Museum: The Museum Shop is the go-to spot for gifts for the history buff on your list.

Saint Louis Art Museum: The Museum Shop features art related gifts, of course, but also a variety of other exciting gifts.

Saint Louis Zoo T-ShirtSaint Louis Zoo: In addition to all things animal, you’ll find a surprising array of other gift items at the Holiday Zootique including a purse made from recycled saris. You can even give a certificate for someone to be “Engineer for a day” on the Zooline Railroad.

Saint Louis Science Center: You’ll be hard pressed to find a place with cooler gifts for adults and kids alike than the ExploreStore.

Laumeier Sculpture Park: In addition to Laumeier t-shirts, scarves, caramels and memberships, Laumeier Sculpture Garden’s Museum Shop offers stocking stuffers, a series of micro-gardens to grow your own herbs, beer or organic dog and cat grass.

Opera Theatre Saint Louis: Opera is passion, inspiration, romance, tragedy, laughter. Does that sound like something the people on your holiday list deserve? If so, Opera Theatre has put together a package that’s irresistible to the music-lover in your life – a gift certificate to Opera Theatre and a DVD highlighting the four productions in the 2013 season. Packages available for purchase through December 21st.

Shop The Malls

If the mall is where it’s at for you, you have plenty of choice in the St. Louis area–whether you’re looking for trendy or classic:

Chesterfield Mall in suburban Chesterfield with Dillard’s, Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Sephora, Williams-Sonoma and Jared Jewelers.

Plaza Frontenac in upscale Frontenac with Neiman-Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sam Cavato, Talbot’s and Tumi.

Saint Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights with Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dillard’s as well as Aldo, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Limited, Bebe, Nine West, Anthropologie and J. Crew.

St. Louis Outlet Mall (formerly St. Louis Mills) in suburban Hazelwood with dozens of outlet stores and Missouri’s only Cabela’s as well as an indoor skate park, an ice rink where the Blues hockey team practices and an indoor NASCAR race track.

South County Center, in south St. Louis County with Macy’s, Dillards, Sears and JC Penney.

West County Center in suburban Des Peres with Nordstrom, Macy’s, JC Penney and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Shop Lifestyle Centers

If you like smaller shopping centers, consider:

The Boulevard near the Galleria in Richmond Heights with Crate and Barrel and Monsoon, a leading woman’s fashion retailer.

Brentwood Square in nearby Brentwood with Arhaus home furnishings, REI and Nordstrom Rack.

Shop The Neighborhoods

Prefer to shop at small. locally owned shops but don’t know where to start? Here’s a sampling of neighborhood options:

Central West End: This cosmopolitan neighborhood with a European flavor is chockfull of great shops including Ivy Hill, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique specializing in hard-to-find brands, and Mary Jane’s, a funky boutique and shoe store.

Cherokee Street: A historic neighborhood with a pleasing blend of antique stores and Hispanic restaurants and bakeries, Cherokee Antique Row is the place to go for antiques, collectibles and vintage clothing. Looking for locally made souvenirs? Try St. Louis Curio Shop, selling new and vintage items. All merchandise–including food products, jewelry, prints cards and one-of-a-kind gifts–are made locally.

The Loop: The area where streetcars once “looped around” for the return trip downtown is now a vibrant neighborhood with an energy all its own. Filled with cafes, restaurants and mostly owner-operated gift shops and boutiques, the Loop is fertile hunting grounds for unique gifts. Check out Plowsharing Crafts and MacroSun for fair trade items from around the world.

Maplewood: This inner ring community likes to describe itself as being “between Mayberry and Metropolis. At the Kerry Cottage, faith and begorrah! You’ll find all things Irish including the popular traditional Claddagh ring. Or pop into Penzeys Spice for a gift of exotic seasonings or cinnamon from several countries for the foodie on your list.

Insider Shopping Tips:

Looking for great stocking stuffers? Check out the Container Store at Brentwood Square for practical as well as zany stocking stuffers.

Got a nerd on your list? Visit the Apple Store at the Galleria or West County Mall for computers and the latest high-tech gadgets and accessories.

Shopping for a child? Try American Girl St. Louis at Chesterfield Mall; Build-A-Bear Workshop at the Galleria, West County Mall or St. Louis Science Center or Imagination Toys in Ladue.

Puzzled by what to get Aunt Tillie? The answer is at Missouri Mercantile. This shop at St. Louis Outlet Mall carries a variety of products made in Missouri. When in doubt, go with a basket of yummy food gifts from the Show-Me state!

Looking for unique gift items from Mexico and Europe? Check out Salt of the Earth in Webster Groves.

Want to splurge on that special someone–or treat yourself? Purchase a gift certificate for a stay at Napoleon’s Retreat, a Victorian bed-and-breakfast, or the Park Avenue Mansion, a luxury inn overlooking historic Lafayette Park, and come back for a shopping getaway during St. Louis’ glorious spring.

Guest Blogger Kathie Sutin a freelance writer from St. Louis, Missouri contributed this blog.

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