AOL PICK from our Editors
The one and only actual mall in Charlottesville, the Fashion Square Mall, is kind of an embarrassment. It’s tiny, there’s just not much to it and there isn't even that much to buy. The best shopping in Charlottesville is at boutiques and craft vendors where you’ll find handmade goods with local flavor. Beyond the UVA gear, there aren't many souvenirs that Charlottesville is well-known for but here are a few good places to do some browsing.
Neighborhood: Rockingham County
The Green Valley Book Fair isn’t open all the time, and it’s about an hour away from Charlottesville, but if it’s open when you’re in town, you’ll want to make the trip. A giant warehouse with over 100,000 titles at deeply discounted prices, it’s easy to spend all day (and all your money) at the Green Valley Book Fair.
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So far, I’ve raved about all the food on the Downtown Mall, but there’s also great shopping there—it is, after all, a mall. The Needle Lady and Studio Baboo are great stops for crafty types, but if you just prefer other people’s crafts, spend some time perusing all the street vendors’ tables up and down the mall. Cha Cha’s is a fun little knicknack shop tucked away in a corner next to Zocalo, and if you want a really nice C-ville souvenir, stop in at Angelo Jewelry for one-of-a-kind jewelry items.
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Neighborhood: Route 29 Near UVA
The Barracks Road Shopping Center is a large strip mall with a lot of lame chain stores, but several local gems as well. The number one draw here for travelers is The Virginia Shop where you can load up on Virginia wine, Virginia peanuts, UVA and Virginia Tech gear, and of course anything you want with the Virginia is for Lovers logo printed on it.
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The best store for UVA souvenirs of any kind is Mincer’s, on The Corner. It’s your one-stop shop for all things orange and blue. There are also some fun and funky boutiques here, mostly catering to coeds living off their parents’ credit cards—definitely some of the most stylish clothing stores in town.
Neighborhood: Greene County
Antiques and antiquing are very important to southern culture, and you’ll find plenty of great antique shops all around the Charlottesville area. The biggest and best selection is at the Greene House Shops Antique Mall on rt. 29 in Greene County, just to the north of Charlottesville.
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