Sugar & Grace Co. sells homemade soy candles. Courtesy of Downtown Norfolk Council.
Sugar & Grace Co. sells homemade soy candles. Courtesy of Downtown Norfolk Council.

Supporting locally owned businesses during the holiday shopping season is always a good thing.

If you’re in need of some good old fashioned retail therapy or need to get a jump on your holiday shopping, check out these five lively shopping districts in different parts of the commonwealth. 

A good day to visit some of these shopping districts—Small Business Saturday—is coming up on Nov. 26.

Downtown Roanoke

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Market vendors also sell hand-crafted artisan goods. Courtesy of Jenny Marie’s Photographie, Downtown Roanoke, Inc.

Downtown Roanoke is the cultural hub of Southwest Virginia. With well over 40 shops to browse, it will likely take you all day to work your way through the sprawling district.  

Start your day at one of downtown Roanoke’s newer stores, The French Farmhouse, which sells home décor with a “French/modern farmhouse flair.” 

For unique shirts, pants, footwear, jewelry, and accessories for both men and women, check out LA DE DA, Inc. The “imaginative and artistic boutique” also sells home décor, including statement pieces. 

Those who are on the lookout for unique gifts for the holidays may want to explore all of the vendors at Crafteria Handmade Food & Goods. Located inside a midcentury cafeteria building are a range of retail shops, including The Vintage Vault Records and Pop Culture and Collectibles and Southwest Native, and food options, including Little Green Hive and Saltys Lobster & Co.

Opened in 2020, Mast General Store truly is a general store. It sells everything from clothing for the whole family to outdoor gear to candy to home goods. 

Art collectors will surely find a piece or two to take home with them at LinDor Arts, which offers “exceptional art works by the region’s better artists.” If you find a painting you like, they can also frame it for you.  

Bibliophiles can spend all day at the independent bookstore Book No Further. There, they’ll find new and gently used bestsellers, in addition to a special Appalachian section, including books on the Roanoke and New River valleys, and books by local authors. 

After a long day of shopping in downtown Roanoke, you may want to enjoy a relaxing glass of wine or bottle of beer. Luckily, there are plenty of establishments to choose from. 

At Well Hung Vineyard, you’ll find a number of award-winning red and white wines to select from. If you’re in an adventurous mood, try the wine slushies. Brunch, lunch, and dinner are also served. 

For those who prefer a good brew, check out Big Lick Brewing Co. It has a beer garden and taproom that specializes in craft beer with “an emphasis on quality and variety.” 

Downtown Lynchburg

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Lynchburg’s downtown area has both established shops and up-and-coming boutiques. Courtesy of Downtown Lynchburg Association

Located by the banks of the James River, Lynchburg offers a scenic downtown shopping experience. 

“With several antique and estate stores plus up-and-coming boutiques and specialty shops, downtown shopping conveniently brings storied treasures and modern finds all together in one place,” is how the Downtown Lynchburg Association describes its shopping district. 

When looking for gifts for little ones, Baby B’s is the place to go. 

If you like antiques, you’ll love Enchanted, which specializes in 18th and 19th century English, continental, and American antiques. 

At Ayven Avenue, you’ll find “cute and comfortable clothing at affordable prices that fit REAL women.” Whether you prefer trendy pieces or you like classic staples, a range of styles can be found there. 

Soon-to-be brides may want to browse Church Street Bridal’s extensive inventory, including sample designer gowns at discounted prices, for their perfect gown or dresses for their bridesmaids.  

In between stores, drop into 5th Street Vito’s for an authentic New York-style pizza lunch. 

Downtown Fredericksburg 

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Part of the fun of shopping in Downtown Fredericksburg is strolling down its history-infused streets and taking in the 18th and 19th century architecture. 

For “high quality, highly desirable fashion” in Fredericksburg, Bash Boutique is the place to go. There, you’ll find designer ready-to-wear clothing and a wide range of accessories. 

Those with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss Sweet Sheep Candy & Wonder Emporium. Be sure to try the fudge. 

Husbands and boyfriends may be interested in the wide-ranging selection of cigars, pipes, pipe tobaccos, and accessories that Olde Towne Tobacconist has. For those who can’t wait to start puffing, they have both a smoking room and outdoor courtyard.  

If you find yourself losing steam after a couple hours’ worth of shopping, grab a locally sourced burger and craft beer at Vivify Burger & Lounge

Downtown Norfolk

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The Selden Market offers a rotating lineup of up-and-coming concepts. Courtesy of Downtown Norfolk Council

In Downtown Norfolk, you’ll find a mix of eclectic boutiques, big-name stores, and an upscale mall. While in the downtown area, be sure to visit the Selden Market, which offers a rotating lineup of the city’s up-and-coming concepts in retail and food. 

One of the market’s popular shops is luxury homemade soy candle retailer Sugar & Grace Co

Werther Leather Goods is also located in the market. For a unique gift for the leather-lover in your life, have proprietor Derek Shaw craft a custom-made minimalist wallet. 

Support one of the many Black-owned local businesses by shopping at Pure Lagos. It’s a natural, organic, holistic health boutique and African art gallery all rolled into one. 

Finish the day by dining at one of downtown’s iconic restaurants like The Monastery Restaurant, which serves delectable old-school European dishes, or try something on the seasonal menu at Todd Jurich’s Bistro

Old Town Winchester

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In Old Town Winchester in the northern part of the Shenandoah Valley, you’ll find 60 retail shops spread along the walking mall.

For those in need of a new pair of shoes, stop into Wilkins’ Shoe Center, Inc, Virginia’s largest independent family shoe store. With a nearly 30,000-pair inventory, you’ll surely find a comfortable and stylish pair. 

When looking for gifts for your furry loved one, check out Posh Pets Boutique.

For unique handmade gifts from Nepal, India and Tibet, visit Exotic Himalayan Handicrafts. Shova, the owner, can help you find just what you’re looking for. 

A trip to Winchester wouldn’t be complete without having a “mini-burger” at the Old Town Snow White Grill.