Weekend Tourist // 50th & Xerxes

Shop ‘til you drop at 50th & Xerxes

Don’t hate me — but yes, my Christmas shopping is done. Every year it’s my goal to be finished by Thanksgiving so I don’t have to run around frantic with millions of other buyers searching for a gift that has some relevance to the people on our lists. We all pretty much know who’s on our lists every year so it shouldn’t be a big surprise — parents, grandparents, siblings, significant others, bosses, co-workers, occasional relatives, and kids. But don’t fret — you still have plenty of time. And this year I’m here to help.

I’ve nailed down the ultimate shopping area. It’s one intersection with 13 stores stretching about a half block in each direction. Park once, spend an afternoon browsing, and you can be done for the season. As an added bonus, the shops are hosting Shop & Stroll on the weekend of Nov. 19–20. Watch for sales and extra holiday festivities.

Put on your walking shoes; we’ll begin on the southeast side of the intersection. Start at Gallery 360 —the premier Southwest Minneapolis shop featuring regional artists, jewelers and craftspeople. The store has an ever-changing mix of products and a wide range of prices on pottery mugs; screen-printed votives; clever, colorful license plate bracelets; industrial magnets made from old valves and water shut-off handles; and framed fine artwork. Cross at least three people off your list here.

On the other side of 50th Street are seven present-opportunity shops in a row. Bella Galleria is a consignment home furnishings store with plenty of wall and tabletop designs for any new homeowners you know. At Woody’s Pet Food Deli, pick up all-natural animal treats for any cat or dog fanatic. The tiniest store in Minnesota has to be 75% Salvaged. This former barbershop is packed with shabby chic items as fun as its wacky signage boasts. A former fashion designer runs The Vintage Studio with the eye of a retail merchandiser. Artful clusters of costume jewelry, handbags, and hats cover all surfaces. Pick up a colorful flower pin to brighten up someone’s winter. Bungalow owners and arts and crafts afficionados love City Chic for their quality collection of mica lamps, wooden bookcases and vintage sterling silver jewelry. For the craftsman on your list stop in Xylos, for one-of-a-kind pieces of art furniture, serving trays, turned-wood bottle stoppers, or even commission your own design. Loft Antiques offers two floors of opportunity. For the cooks in your circle of friends pick up vintage kitchenware and throw in a soupmix for extra measure.

Around the corner on Xerxes is Hunt and Gather, a shop that defies classification but is mostly an antique shop. Dealers here offer nearly everything including old coffee tins (fill with coffee beans); stencilled ammo boxes (good for storage); brass trophies (make your own plaque), vintage buttons (know any knitters?); government-issue scrub brushes (for your car mechanic brother); and bins of old flashcards, black and white photos, plastic letters, Cracker Jack prizes, and Scrabble pieces for collage artists or scrapbookers. Warning: this store can produce sensory overload!

Further south on Xerxes find something for that Aunt who has everything: a decorative lamp finial shaped like a fish, cat or cowboy hat at Michael’s Lamp Studio. For foodies on your list, the two-year-old Vinagrette sells olive oil and balsamic vinegars from around the world that have been infused with different flavors. Try a sample, then they’ll bottle it up for you right from the stainless steel container. The salesperson hand-writes the product name on the bottle with a white Sharpie marker — add your own message too. Piccadilly Prairie started out this summer as a pop-up store but will be open weekends through the holidays. A sprinkling of antiques and hand-made products make this store one of my new favorites. Cute zippered pouches are locally made from old wool blankets and sweaters, and hardcover books have been reassembled into handbags.

If you still have names on your list after all these stores Nash Frame will come to your rescue. Adorable pewter picture frames abound here along with antique prints and Nash-made photo boxes with beautiful carved moldings. Everybody can use a nice little picture frame — fill it with a photo of you and your boss or insert a holiday message.

That’s a lot of shopping! There’s quite a variety of stores at this little intersection. So get going on your list. But before you head out, throw some wrapping paper and gift tags in your car because there’s even a UPS Store at this intersection with jolly employees who will pack and ship your presents for you. See? This couldn’t be easier!

Send your gift ideas to WeekendTourist@mnpubs.com and to see photos of the stores at 50th & Xerxes, visit southwestjournal.tumblr.com.