Grand Avenue is the city’s most interesting shopping district. Most of the action is at the intersection of Grand and Victoria, but put on your walking shoes, because you’ve got two or three good miles of shopping to do. Although the occasional chain pops up (J. Crew has been here for years), mostly you’ll find well-established, creative local shops, like the delicious Cooks of Crocus Hill (877 Grand Ave., 651/228-1333, 10am-9pm Mon.- Fri., 10am-7pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.), a must for home cooks.
Vintage buffs will find some quality antiques shops downtown along West 7th Street.
The covered open-air St. Paul Farmers’ Market (290 5th St. E., 651/227-8101, 6am-1pm Sat., 8am-1pm Sun. Apr.-Nov., plus some winter Sats.) in Lowertown has been operating since 1853. Most days there is live music 9am-noon.
Minnesota’s own hometown storyteller, Garrison Keillor, owns Common Good Books (8 Snelling Ave. S., 651/225-8989, 9am-9 pm. Mon.-Sat., 10am-7pm Sun.).
The Red Balloon Bookshop (891 Grand Ave., 651/224-8320, 10am-8pm Mon.-Fri., 10am-6pm Sat., noon-5pm Sun.) is a wonderful children’s shop.