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Best Boulder Shopping

AOL PICK from our Editors

Boulder’s best-known shopping area is the downtown Pearl Street Mall and adjacent East Pearl and West Pearl. Most of the shops are unique, independent and local. In fact, the promotional association called Downtown Boulder has been running a successful campaign called “Love the Local.” You can see signs in windows all over downtown. If you don’t love the local but prefer chains, Boulder branches of upscale chains abound at the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping area. Located between 28th and 30th streets and between Arapahoe and Pearl, it is a “lifestyle center” with good shops, mostly chain eateries, underground parking and the Century Boulder Theater, a modern multiplex. Across 28th Street, REI attracts hikers, climbers, campers, bikers and skiers to one of the greenest stores in a very green city.

McGuckin Hardware

Neighborhood: Village Shopping Center

McGuckin’s is more than a hardware, housewares, sporting goods, pet products, plant and gardening supply retailer. It is a Boulder icon and an experience. If you have a question, look for a salesperson in a green vest—unless, of course, one comes up to you and asks whether he or she can help you. McGuckin’s carries many unusual, hard-to-find items, and locals eagerly await the bargains at the semi-annual tent sale held one weekend in spring and one in fall. Originally, the sale inventory was mostly a close-out clearance of high-end goods, but in recent years, the store has brought in lesser-quality items on special purchase. To look at the crowds, you’d never know that the sale had changed its focus. 

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McGuckin Hardware  

Neptune Mountaineering

Neighborhood: Table Mesa Shopping Center

In 1973, Gary Neptune, a long-haired young mountaineer and climber, opened a small store to sell and repair gear for the sports he loved. Nearly 38 years later, he’s still at it. Neptune Mountaineering no longer handles footwear repairs, but sells high-quality gear, footwear and apparel for hiking, climbing, trekking, backpacking, canyoneering and skiing—plus books, maps and travel items. Whether or not you are looking for something in one of those specialties, visit this South Boulder store to look at Neptune’s museum—an exceptional collection of climbing and skiing memorabilia displayed on the walls.

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Neptune Mountaineering  

Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery

Neighborhood: Downtown

This multi-artist gallery was established in 1971, making it one of the oldest artist cooperatives in the U.S. It represents scores of artists and fine craftsmen from the Boulder area, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain region and elsewhere in the country. Some artists have been with the gallery from the early days, but new blood is accepted every year. The large, airy store displays paintings, prints, art photographs, jewelry, pottery, wood, stained and blown glass, sculpture and furniture. Some items are cutting-edge, others traditional and all creative.

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Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery  

Little Mountains

Neighborhood: Downtown

Boulder parents who want to share their love of the outdoors with their children head for Little Mountains, which specializes in warm, waterproof practical and oh-so-cute outdoor clothing in sizes newborn through big kids—often with the same labels found on adult performance lines. You can also buy or rent jogging strollers, Burley bike trailers and backpacks in which to carry a toddler on Boulder trails. You'll see these gadgets in use all over the region.  

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The Peppercorn

Neighborhood: Downtown

The most distinctive shopping bag you’ll spot on the Pearl Street Mall is an eye-catching blue-and-white-stripe design. That means “someone” has shopped in a large, eye-catching store that sells many fine products for the home. This Boulder store carries a staggering variety name-brand, cookware, bakeware, knives, utensils and small appliances, as well as every kitchen gadget you’ve ever wanted and some you didn’t know existed. If you need a gift, check out their great linens, dishes, glassware and flatware, including many imports. They make excellent gifts for a shower, an engagement, a wedding or for yourself. Rounding out the inventory are gourmet foods right as you enter the store and cookbooks on the right in the back. 

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The Peppercorn  
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