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Thursday January 18, 2018
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City Guide

Shopping - Downtown Ann Arbor

The Main Street area is the historic heart of Ann Arbor, a commercial mosaic of old and new, with shops, restaurants, and cafés. Many stores stay open until 9 or 10 p.m. for after-dinner browsing, especially during summer and on weekends.

Boutiques, galleries, and shops of all kinds prosper here, with ambience that ranges from the old-fashioned flavor of the venerable jewelry store Schlanderer & Sons to the clean lines of custom designers Abracadabra, Alex Gulko, C.W. Peterson, and Urban Jewelers. For outfitting the home, King's Chosen offers Amish-made furniture, Mir's stocks hand-knotted Oriental rugs, and Bed and Butter supplies tasteful home goods. Ayla & Co. features chic, contemporary women's fashions; and Lily Grace indulges the body with luxury cosmetics and bath products. Outdoor enthusiasts will find recreation apparel and gear at the Michigan-based Moosejaw Mountaineering or its Swedish equivalent, Fjallraven. An easy trek across the street to the Himalayan Bazaar yields fair-trade gifts from the world's highest mountain range. Next door, Rock Paper Scissors wins over shoppers with its charming stationery and party accessories. The Life Is Good Genuine Neighborhood Shoppe carries casual apparel, accessories, and gifts bearing the brand's optimistic logo, while the luxury retailer Shinola purveys "Detroit cool" in elegant watches and bicycles hand-made in its Detroit factory; it's moving leather good production to Detroit as well.

The M-Den proudly sells an assortment of Wolverine apparel. The WSG Gallery has rotating shows and displays by its member artists in all media, while Native Kichwa Arts offers indigenous American art, jewelry, and clothing. Cherry Republic celebrates the fruit in all its forms, Four Directions offers a glittering array of gemstone jewelry and geodes, the Peaceable Kingdom carries amusing, inexpensive toys as well as fun, funky jewelry and folk art, and Ten Thousand Villages sells home and garden items, clothing, and jewelry made by Third World artisans. Vault of Midnight is a treasure trove of Japanese anime, graphic novels, and serial comic books, while the Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room stocks alternative gifts and books whose topics range from acupuncture to Zen. The Gown Shop wedding boutique helps the bride-to-be discover her dream dress, the Pangborn Collection boasts fashionable accessories and bright, bold ties, and Footprints sells comfy yet stylish shoes.

The streets near Main offer a host of finds. On Ashley are gardening supplies and cookware at Downtown Home & Garden; mixed-media art and gifts at Red Shoes; eco-friendly home furnishings at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; and sleek contemporary furniture at Three Chairs Co. On Liberty, the West Side Book Shop is filled with row after row of used and rare fiction and nonfiction, and the Ann Arbor Art center sells hand-crafted gifts, including Ann Arbor's own Motawi tiles.

East of Main on Washington, Schakolad tempts passers-by with heaped platters of chocolaty confections; Liberty St. is just as sweet, thanks to Kilwin's Chocolate Shoppe and its next-door ice cream parlor. Nearby on Liberty, Liberty Robot Supply & Repair provides robot-themed toys and gadgets for kids-as well as a front for 826Michigan's tutoring programs. Avid readers will appreciate the mystery bookstore Aunt Agatha's (on Fourth Ave. north of Liberty), as well
 as the distinctive Literati (at Fourth Ave. & Washington), whose two floors contain titles in literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's books. Also on Fourth, Perpetua Boutique Organique has eco-friendly clothes for women, Dear Golden offers high-end vintage clothing, and Today Clothing caters to men with upscale, impeccable taste.

Move toward campus on Liberty and the shopping gets more relaxed and hip. Sam's Clothing has outfitted generations of shoppers with casual and outdoor wear. Near Fifth Ave., Underground Sounds crowds its walls and bins with new vinyl albums, while Antelope Antiques & Coins and Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia, carry treasures both forgotten and unforgettable. Farther east, the Bead Gallery showcases hundreds of beads and stones for crafters as well as finished jewelry and accessories, and Ragstock draws students with its affordable fashions and recycled clothes.

The Kerrytown District grew up around the open-air Ann Arbor Farmers Market between Fourth and Fifth Avenues and Detroit St. The market is open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. and Wed. from May through December and 4-8 p.m. on Wed. from June through October. Winter hours from Jan. through Apr. are 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. only. From April through December, the Sunday Artisan Market takes over the same space from
 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sun., offering handmade arts and crafts-everything from hand-painted baby clothes and jewelry to fine paintings, pottery, and exotic oils.

The adjacent Kerrytown Market & Shops houses more than twenty locally owned stores and restaurants in a complex of restored historic buildings. Offerings include gourmet foods and meats at Sparrow Market; affordable varietals and vintages at Everyday Wines; contemporary fashions and wedding gowns at V2V; sumptuous paper and stationery at Hollander's; adorable kids' fashions
 at Elephant Ears; loose teas and bulk spices at Ann Arbor Spice Merchants; oils and vinegars at Fustini's; natural stone jewelry and Russian imports at Princess Designs; antiques and "upcycled" gifts at Found; clever toys at Mudpuddles; yarn and knitting tools at Spun; and fine crafts, jewelry, and home accessories at 16 Hands. Hours vary, but Kerrytown shops typically close at 6 p.m. Mon. through Sat, and 5 p.m. on Sun. (Sparrow stays open
 an hour later on weekdays). Just south
 of the Farmers Market, Collected Works sells exuberant apparel and jewelry. To the north on Detroit St., Catching Fireflies delights with colorful, whimsical gifts, Zingerman's Deli stocks exotic foods from around the globe, and Treasure Mart packs three stories with consignment items small and large.

On Braun Court, across Fourth Avenue from Kerrytown, Common Language stocks feminist, gay, and lesbian books. Farther south on Fourth, Motte & Bailey, Booksellers is a resource for professional and amateur historians. Jessica's Skin & Body Apothecary specializes in essential oils and organic skin care products, Thistle & Bess carries charming home goods, and upscale pet boutique Dogma Catmantoo sells jeweled collars and gourmet pet treats. The conjoined Fourth Ave Birkenstock and Fourth Ave Sleep Shop offer ergonomically designed leather footwear and Tempurpedic beds and pillows. Nearby, the Belllanina spa offers cosmetics, accessories, and luxury personal care items. Kaleidoscope Books and Collectibles boasts rare editions of children's classic books and delightful boomer memorabilia, while around the corner on Ann Street, Heavenly Metal is an eclectic gallery housed in a hair salon. On Felch west of N. Main is Metal, a unique design studio and gallery devoted to repurposed metal objects.

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