The Best Gift Shops
In the age of Amazon, it’s completely feasible to cross everyone off your list from the comfort of your desk. That said, so long as you don’t find yourself somewhere too overcrowded, there’s really nothing that inspires holiday spirit more than a day spent picking up special, unique pieces for loved ones in person. Here, our favorite shops for perusing with an armful of shopping bags in tow and Christmas music playing in the background (plus a few online favorites for emergencies).
Forestwood Antique Mall5333 Forest Ln., North Dallas | 972.661.0001
In a state known for its antique fairs, you’re bound to stumble across great vintage troves, this one being one of the very best. As its name suggests, it’s an antique mall, not a shop, and you should expect to spend some time. You’ll find everything from Murano glass chandeliers to Art Deco dining tables to Chinese lacquered everything. Bonus: They ship everywhere.
Grange Hall4445 Travis St., Knox / Henderson | 214.443.0609
Grange Hall, with its gothic, cabinet-of-curiosities vibe, is the yin to Dallas’s glitzier yang. There’s a pretty gorgeous range of home goods—Ted Muehling candlesticks, Astier de Villate ceramics, Cire Trudon candles—along with really stunning jewelry. They just opened an on-site café, too, that serves artfully arranged food and an encyclopedia's worth of teas. This is inarguably one of Dallas’s very best stores.
Cabana4711 W. Lovers Lane, Bluffview | 214.674.9928
This store was once literally housed in a cabana on owner Merry Vose's property. However, when her covert, by-appointment operation was shut down by the city, she took her fan base to Lovers Lane. It's equally easy to miss there, which only adds to the allure and sense of discovery upon spotting the unmarked lavender door. The same mix of pretty, affordable labels—MiH, Monrow, Steven Alan, Nili Lotan—abounds. Vose has since opened a bigger sister store, Canary.
Uncommon Objects1602 Fortview Rd., South Lamar | 512.442.4000
Religious paraphernalia, old scientific posters, cowboy boots, turquoise jewelry, Mexican striped blankets, horseshoes, and a good amount of taxidermy, give this antique curiosity shop a particularly Southwestern feel. The seemingly endless, happenstance groupings and displays that line every nook and cranny of this quirky old shop mean you'll likely feel a bit lost.
Las Cruxes1900 E. 12 St., East Cesar Chavez | 512.524.0430
Like, Friends & Neighbors, Las Cruxes is an experiential concept shop. They have clothing and jewelry, interior decor, books, and beauty, too. What makes Las Cruxes different is that it's also part gallery, and has a somewhat eclectic mix of art objects, drawings, and paintings. Before or after you wander the space, grab a coffee at Flat Truck next door.
Friends & Neighbors2614 E. Cesar Chavez, Holly | 512.524.1271
A bungalow-turned-shop, with an attached cafe serving coffee, wine, beer, and snacks; and a teepee, wrought iron tables, and board games out back, Friends & Neighbors is as Austin (and adorable) as it sounds. Every room of Friends & Neighbors, which is still designed like a home, is a bit different. The living room has home decor, vintage clothes, and accessories; the bathroom: beauty products (including goop-approved clean brands like Olio e Osso), towels, and linens; while loungewear hangs from an armoire in the bedroom.
Spartan215 S. Lamar Blvd., Bouldin | 512.579.0303
When Austin native Currie Person returned home to settle down, she realized that she missed the thoughtfully curated small art object stores she’d visited in Paris and New York. So, in a space she shares with JM Dry Goods, she opened Spartan, a minimalist but beautiful textile/apothecary/home store with everything from cerulean pottery from Victoria Morris and Kati Von Lehmam porcelain tumblers to sycamore cutting boards and stone-washed Turkish towels. Last year, they launched a fragrance collaboration with Olo called Spartan, inspired by—what else?—the Texas landscape. The boutique is just the tip of the iceberg for Person, though, as she also lends her eye to two other shops: Beam & Anchor in Portland and Voyager in San Francisco.
Feathers1700B S. Congress Ave., South Congress | 512.912.9779
Along with Tex-Mex and live music, there's a big vintage scene in Austin. Aficionados will want to comb all of South Congress and South First Street, but if you're looking for a really great edit, go to Feathers. The shop, which has been open since 2005, is neatly organized, beautiful, and well-run (by two women, one of whom is a Texas native). It's worth a stop for vintage-virgins, too—the clothing and jewelry selection is very accessible, and there are always pieces here that are conveniently easy to work into an everyday, modern wardrobe.
ByGeorge1400 S. Congress Ave., South Congress | 512.441.8600
ByGeorge opened in Austin 1979 but in 2014 the clothing and home store came under new ownership—it's now helmed by Austin restaurateur Larry McGuire (of Josephine House, among others). There are two locations in Austin: The Clarksville ByGeorge actually combines two shops next door to one another—a women's store and a men's store. On the women's side, you'll find designers like Chloé, Marni, Saint Laurent, and a good selection of bags and shoes; and on the men's, Brunello Cucinelli, Common Projects, and Levi's Vintage. The South Congress store carries clothing as well (A.P.C., FRAME, Outdoor Voices, Jenni Kayne, and more), but it's also known for its home goods and decor, furniture, ceramics, books, and great gift-y items.
Saint Cloud5217 Kelvin Dr., Rice Village | 713.522.0077
We love a store with a range of price points, and with options ranging from Jerome Dreyfuss purses to Venessa Arizaga friendship bracelets, Saint Cloud certainly qualifies. While it's primarily an apparel store, the accessories (A Peace Treaty scarves, Erin Considine fringed earrings, Lizzie Fortunato gems) can be relied on for consistently good gifts. The fact that they have a great clean beauty selection (Ilia, Grown Alchemist, Olio e Osso) and the sweetest, most creative kids' buy is a major bonus, too.
Myth & Symbol2537 Times Blvd., Rice Village | 832.422.6984
Started by sisters Chau and Trang Nguyen, this sweet little store near Rice University has a tight edit of apparel, home goods, jewelry, and paper goods. They've also got a great clothing edit, with mid-priced lines like Ace & Jig, DUSEN DUSEN, and Rachel Comey. The badass woven dressing room dividers? The sisters made them by hand.
Biscuit Home1614 Westheimer Rd., Montrose | 713.942.9797
Biscuit is primarily known for designer Bailey McCarthy's quirky, colorful bedding collection, which incorporates everything from cactuses to arrows to astrology into sweet, soft-as-butter sheets and duvets. The Houston shop also has the best hostess gifts—the store's vignettes are scattered with cool coffee table books, candles, trays, and bar accessories. There are always great little knickknacks, too, like pineapple-shaped golden shot glasses, tin recipe boxes, and embroidered cocktail napkins.
Manready Mercantile321 W. 19th St., Greater Heights | 713.861.6618
The guy behind Manready Mercantile, Travis Weaver, is as Texas as they come—he grew up in a tiny town in West Texas, and his store drips of that aesthetic, with an enormous American flag hanging in the back, vintage saws, fishing signs, taxidermy on every wall, and an old-school canoe suspended from the ceiling. His brand began with a line of candles he made on the stove top in his apartment—the success of which inspired him to keep making products traditionally marketed to women (bath salts, bubble bath, and more) and making and packaging them for men. Now, he's expanded into clothing, and the brick-and-mortar showcases his own products as well as giftables from like-minded brands like Freenote Cloth, Mollusk Surf, Helm, and Taylor Stitch. During the holidays, it's pretty much a one-stop shop for brothers, dads, and SOs.