The Weekend Tourist // A visit to St. Anthony Park

It’s not exactly a competition, but every year my sister and I see who can get their holiday shopping done first. The reason it’s not exactly a competition is because I always win. I love to shop. And I always try to buy presents when I’m out and about — it lessens the guilt. So when I talked to my sister last week and told her I was done, she said, in exasperation, that she was going to pick out one gift this year for everyone. But you don’t have to resort to that because I’m here to help. This is the first in a series of columns that’ll spotlight unique Twin Cities shopping destinations along with a little dose of culture and history.

Located midway between the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, 

St. Anthony Park was originally planned as a utopian suburb with gracefully winding streets lined with beautiful estates. It even had its own train depot in the late 1800s. Today the area’s quaint houses are rumored to be filled with university professors and artists and the retail district is thriving. 

This village has all the makings of a self-contained town including a post office, convenience store, gas station, dentist, lawyers, beauty salon, optometrist, dry cleaners and one of the cutest libraries in the metro area — but it’s so much more. The two-story brick and tudor buildings have some of the finest shopping in very concentrated area. 

This is the Bibelot’s first of four stores, it opened in 1966, and is the only one on two levels! The quintessential gift store has plenty of Minnesota-made products, jewelry, ornaments, body lotions, paper products and kitchenware.

Emil Gustafson Jewelers, a family-owned company since 1911 specializing in new work, custom-made and restoration.

Pea Pods has infant and toddler toys and clothes made from all natural products like cotton, wool, silk and wood.

Something New in the Park is tucked into a lower level but is not to be missed! More than a hundred artisans — mostly from the immediate area — sell their one-of-a-kind creations here. This boutique is filled with wood carvings, weavings, prints, repurposed clothing, handmade soaps, pottery, mosaics and more. 

Inside Dunn Bros, the Finnish Bistro has something for every sweet tooth. Try a piece of their famous Helsinki berry whipped cream cake or pick up a whole lingonberry cheesecake to go.

Tucked inside Milton Square’s courtyard, Lady Elegant’s Tea Room & Gift Shoppe is open for shopping but also serves high tea — a great “experience” gift!

Also in the courtyard is Bungalow Pottery, functional and beautiful white stoneware and porcelain (typically open Wed.–Sat. afternoons or by appointment by calling 651-644-4091).

Stop into the Little Wine Shoppe for a selection of Minnesota vineyard favorites.

Not sure which book to buy? Stop in Micawber’s and they’ll tell you. They’re so good at recommending books that co-owner, Hans Weyandt, just released his own book called “Read This! Handpicked Favorites From America’s Indie Bookstores.” He rounded up lists of 50 favorite books from booksellers around the country and put them together with checklists. If you really want to be a good gift-giver this season, pair this book with one of your favorites. 

Happy shopping!

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