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Shopping - Downtown Ann Arbor

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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, and C.W. Petersen. Ayla & Co. features chic, contemporary women's fashions, while 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, party accessories, and gifts. Nearby, luxury retailer Shinola purveys "Detroit cool" with elegant handmade watches, bicycles, and leather goods manufactured in its Detroit factory. Known for its sartorial elegance, Renaissance specializes in sophisticated styles for women and men as well as made-to-measure suits, jackets, and pants.

Wolverine fans will cheer for Bo, a gift shop commemorating former U-M football coach Bo Schembechler with apparel, novelties, and sports images branded with his image and iconic phrases. WSG Gallery hosts rotating shows and displays by its member artists in all media. Mir's stocks hand-knotted Oriental rugs, Cherry Republic celebrates the fruit in all its forms, Four Directions dazzles with an array of gemstone jewelry and geodes, 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 bride-to-be will find her dream dress at Beloved Bridal wedding boutique, and Footprints sells comfy yet stylish shoes for everyone.

The streets near Main offer a host of finds. On Ashley are gardening supplies and cookware at Downtown Home & Garden, and sleek, eco-friendly home furnishings at Three Chairs Co., which carries Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams furniture. On Liberty, the West Side Book Shop is filled with row after row of used and rare fiction and nonfiction, and the 117 Gallery inside the Ann Arbor Art Center sells original, handmade works of art by emerging and established artists. At the center's street-view 115 Gallery and Aquarium Gallery, artists display site-specific installations.

Kilwin's Chocolate Shoppe and its next-door ice cream parlor tempt sweet teeth; and on Fourth Ave., the display case at Le Bon Macaron features a mouthwatering rainbow of macarons in more than a dozen flavors. Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair provides robot-themed toys and gadgets for kids-it's also a front for 826Michigan's tutoring programs. Avid readers will appreciate Literati (at the corner of Fourth Ave. & Washington), whose two floors contain titles in literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and children's books. Also on Fourth, Dear Golden offers high-end vintage clothing for women, while upscale Today Clothing caters to men with impeccably hip taste.

Move toward campus on Liberty and the shopping gets more relaxed and eclectic. Sam's Store has outfitted generations of shoppers with casual and outdoor wear. Near Fifth Ave., Underground Sounds crowds its walls and bins with new vinyl albums. Farther east, Ragstock mixes popular fashion with secondhand clothing with seasonal costumes, carrying everything from new plaid shirts and vintage cowboy boots to animal onesies and ugly Christmas sweaters.

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 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. only from January through April. On the first Wednesday evening of every month from May through October, the market hosts a food truck rally where visitors can purchase prepared foods from a variety of Michigan food trucks while listening to live music. From April through December, the Sunday Artisan Market takes over the same space from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 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; loose teas and bulk spices at Ann Arbor Spice Merchants; artisanal oils and vinegars at Fustini's; antiques and upcycled gifts at Found; Encore Records houses a staggering selection of vintage vinyl and used CDs. Utilitarian electric and cargo bikes cluster the space at Urban Rider; clever toys at Mudpuddles; yarn and knitting tools at Spun; and fine crafts, jewelry, and home accessories at 16 Hands. Just south of the Farmers Market, Collected Works sells exuberant apparel and jewelry. To the north on Detroit St., Catching Fireflies delights with colorful and whimsical gifts, and Zingerman's Deli carries an array of exotic foods from around the globe. You never know what you'll find at Treasure Mart, a three-story consignment shop whose stock rotates frequently, with new items added daily.

On Fourth, Motte & Bailey, Booksellers is a resource for professional and amateur historians. Thistle & Bess is a quaint shop specializing in home and lifestyle products that blend vintage charm with contemporary design. If you forgot to pack your walking shoes, the Fourth Ave Birkenstock has you covered with ergonomically designed leather footwear, while the Ann Arbor Running Company focuses on helping customers find the perfect pair of athletic shoes.

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