Malls may be grand—even essential. But to find treasures that truly earn their space in a suitcase or carry-on, experienced travelers head for the smaller, more distinctive places overseen by passionate shopkeepers and craftspeople. Here are some tips from experts in the field.
APPAREL OLD AND NEW
Buffalo Exchange Thirty-one stores in 12 states. This 33-year-old, family-run chain is a hot stop for shoppers on a budget. Buy, sell, and trade clothes and accessories, both new and secondhand. www.buffaloexchange.com.
Decades and DecadesTwo Los Angeles Where do L.A.'s best dressed hunt for vintage couture and this year's barely worn designer labels? At these sister stores, where celebrities are known to shop—and sell. Decades, 8214 1/2 Melrose Ave. (323) 655-0223; DecadesTwo, 8214 Melrose Ave., 655-1960; www.decadesinc.com.
Margaret O'Leary San Francisco (two stores), Berkeley, Burlingame, Mill Valley, Santa Monica, and Seattle O'Leary began with special knits, and now her stores offer beautiful things designed for head to toe.1 Claude Ln., (415) 391-1010, www.margaretoleary.com.
—Melissa Houtte, coauthor of Alligators, Old Mink & New Money: One Woman's Adventures in Vintage Clothing.
NATIVE AMERICAN CRAFTS
Garland's Navajo Rugs Sedona, Ariz. Among the nation's most reputable dealers of genuine Navajo rugs from Native American weavers in the region. 411 North Hwy. 179, (928) 282-4070, www.garlandsrugs.com.
Winter Showcase Santa Fe, N.M. Art collectors put the Santa Fe Indian Market in August at the top of their lists, but this smaller autumn event is also rich in jewelry, beadwork, sculpture, and pottery. Nov. 23 to 25. Scottish Rite Center, (505) 983-5220, www.swaia.org.
K.R. Martindale Gallery Venice, Calif. Beaded moccasins, rugs, jewelry, and special museum-quality pieces lift this seller above most. 1154 Grant Ave., (310) 822-9145, www.krmartindale.com.
Two Grey Hills Indian Art and Jewelry Jackson, Wyo. Fine baskets and rugs, mostly of Navajo and Hopi design, make this gallery stand out. Broadway at King Street, (307) 733-2677, www.fineindianart.com.
—Laura Morelli, art historian and author of Made in the Southwest and other books. www.lauramorelli.com.
Ferry Building Marketplace San Francisco Peach and raspberry preserves from Frog Hollow Farm, virgin olive oils from McEvoy Ranch, caviar by Tsar Nicoulai, and more. Embarcadero at Market St. (415) 693-0996, www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com.
Grand Central Market Los Angeles Fresh produce, Mexican cheeses and chorizo, dried chiles, plus Asian ingredients and spices. 317 S. Broadway, (213) 624-2378, www.grandcentralsquare.com.
Liberty Heights Fresh Salt Lake City Locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables, spreads and salsas, rustic breads, farmstead and artisan cheeses, olives and olive oils, and charcuterie. 1300 South at 1100 East, (801) 583-7374, www.libertyheightsfresh.com.
Illustration by Ron Chan
This article was first published in November 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.