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Best St. Louis Shopping

AOL PICK from our Editors
When it comes to St. Louis shopping, it’s a mall-centric market. Most locals will direct visitors first to the upscale St. Louis Galleria, the region’s largest mall, located just 15 minutes west of downtown at the intersection of Interstates 64 and 170. (It’s near the Richmond Heights station of the MetroLink blue line.) The old money in town, though, shops at Plaza Frontenac, 30 minutes west of downtown. Its 50 specialty shops include Tiffany, Coach and Saks Fifth Avenue. The Central West End neighborhood is a must-stop for trendy boutiques, outstanding bookstores and home décor stores. For more eclectic tastes, head to the Delmar Loop, where you’ll find art galleries and fair-trade gift shops, an actual record store and an urban-hip kids’ clothing boutique—the list goes on. If yesterday’s treasures are more your style, then spend some time on Cherokee Antique Row, a six-block stretch of stores considered the best antique St. Louis shopping.

Soulard Farmers Market

Neighborhood: Soulard
A Saturday morning visit to the lively Soulard Farmers Market is as much about the people-watching as it is the St. Louis shopping. Sidewalk buskers provide an up-tempo rhythm for your stroll through this cornerstone of the historic Soulard neighborhood. Although the year 1779 is inscribed above the doorway, the market was actually founded in 1838, still making it the oldest farmers market west of the Mississippi River. Grab a Bloody Mary and browse the 70-plus stalls, which include a dozen handicraft booths—selling soaps, incense, jewelry and more—interspersed among the food stands. Don’t leave until you’ve taken a deep, intoxicating breath at Schmitz’s Spice Shop or bought a snack from either the mini-doughnut stand or pork-rinds shop. Closed Sunday through Tuesday.

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Soulard Farmers Market  

Craft Alliance Gallery Shop

Neighborhood: The Delmar Loop
The non-profit Craft Alliance views itself as a place where artists and the public can begin new conversations about art while shopping in St. Louis. You’ll have lots to tell the folks back home after shopping at the Craft Alliance’s Gallery Shop. The shop represents an extensive and diverse selection of more than 200 local and national artists, who make one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts in a wide variety of media. Recent finds included a silk handbag fashioned from a vintage kimono, an intricate hand-blown turquoise bead necklace and eye-catching damask-patterned glassware. Closed Mondays.

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Craft Alliance Gallery Shop  

Vintage Vinyl

Neighborhood: The Delmar Loop
It seems John Cusack may have cribbed some notes from this quirky music shop when preparing for his role in High Fidelity. Opened in 1979 on the Delmar Loop, Vintage Vinyl is a fiercely independent old-school record store. Yes, we mean actual records, bins and bins of vinyl alongside the CD racks. Owners Tom Ray and Lew Prince and their staff—many of whom are performers themselves —consider themselves “music educators.” They proudly promote local artists and host 130 live shows in the store each year, including a huge bash for National Record Store Day in April. Even if you no longer have a record player (or never heard of one), you still ought to take some time to stop by Vintage Vinyl while doing some St. Louis shopping.@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1;  EEE

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Retro-101/Cherry Bomb Vintage

Neighborhood: Cherokee-Lemp Historic District
Customers praise the friendly staff and reasonable prices at this store, which wins hands-down for the most fun stop along the Cherokee Antique Row. The Retro 101 side specializes in furniture, lighting and accessories from the ’50s and ’60s, while Cherry Bomb Vintage cherry-picks vintage clothing finds from the ’20s through ’80s. As you browse the three floors, you’ll find treasures you never knew you needed: flapper hats, a Danish modern coffee table, cowboy boots, even a Laverne & Shirley board game. If you see something you like, grab it; merchandise turns over quickly at this unique St. Louis shopping spot. Closed Christmas Day. Cherokee-Lemp Historic District

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Retro-101/Cherry Bomb Vintage  

Left Bank Books

Neighborhood: Central West End
Left Bank Books is a beloved fixture in the Central West End. Its motto of “Read Globally, Buy Locally” captures the cultural diversity of its inventory, as well as the community spirit of this independent bookstore. It hosts more than 200 author events a year; one recent month packed in signings by an Iron Chef and best-selling vampire novelist, meetings of the gay men’s reading group and current affairs book club, and a guest lecture by Opera St. Louis’ director on adapting classics to the stage. When you're shopping in St. Louis' Left Bank Books, be sure to say “Hi” to Spike, the obligatory bookstore cat, who usually rests on the Special Orders desk.

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Left Bank Books  
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