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Browsing around San Antonio's Art Village, La Villita (Little Village), is as interesting for history buffs as it is for shoppers. The little houses that line the shady streets may now all be shops and galleries but their first life was as housing for Spanish troops stationed at the Mission San Antonio Valero when San Antonio was first settled. The adobe and stone cottages we see today were built to replace the original slab huts that were washed away in the flood of 1819. Santa Ana's Mexican army stationed the cannons that fired on the Alamo here. In the more peaceful times that followed German and French imigrants moved into the little houses but as people prospered and the city grew, La Villita became something of a slum. The development of the adjacent River Walk in the late 1930s saw a revival of interest in the historic old area and today the village is the centre of a thriving arts community, its old buildings preserved and cherished.
What to buy: There's something for everyone at La Villita, virtually all of it hand-crafted and unique. Jewellery, ceramics, textiles, glass, fine art, leather and more - the most resistant of non-shoppers could be tempted here and even if you hold out against adding yet another thing to your over-stuffed baggage, a set of notecards with water colour sketches of the old buildings won't take up any room, will they?
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: S Alamo @ Nueva or Riverwalk @ Arneson Theatre
This outdoor mall is beautifully landscaped which makes it much nicer than you typical mall. All of the upscale shops are there Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Tiffanys, Cole Han, Kenneth Cole, Betsy Johnson, Tumi, Sephora just to name a few.
Plus Kona Grill and PF Changs to have lunch.
What to buy: All the great shopping you would expect at a good mall
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: I 10 and 1604
Best grocery store for hard-to-find spices and foods. Don't let the valet parking option scare you--the food is not that expensive. However, I wouldn't recommend buying "normal" foods there, because you can get those much cheaper at one of the million HEB grocery stores around town. But for gourmet foods and tons of ready-made, unique meals, this is the place.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: 4821 Broadway
Located inside the Mission San Jose in San Antonio Missions National Historic Parks, the Spanish Colonial Bookstore is a nice little shop dedicated to a lot of historical documents and books, as well as plenty of smaller children's books to make sure the kids that come to visit are well entertained and keep the memories of this trip.
What to buy: In particular, on this trip, we picked up some children's books on Javelinas. Javelinas are small piglike peccaries that are found mostly in the Texas coastal plains. The shop also contains information about Texas, Mexican and Spanish history.
What to pay: There were options for all budgets.
Written Oct 13, 2008
North Star Mall is relatively close to the downtown area compared to other malls. Sakes Fifth Avenue and Macy's are anchors to the mall (however they seem to be scaled down in terms of merchandise). It is well laid out and attractive. Smaller upscale shops include Sephora, Juicy Couture and Just Dogs. The remaining stores are typical outlets you can find in your standard mall.
Valet parking is available at the Cheesecake Factory entrance. You will find more upscale shopping at the Shops at La Cantera, however if you are not wanting to drive that far outside of San Antonio, the North Star Mall is an excellent alternative.
What to buy: Unique makeup collections at Sephora and upscale bakery items for your doggie at Just Dogs.
What to pay: $500-$750
Written May 24, 2008
I wonder if Davey Crockett or William Travis ever envisioned what was once an invasion being a quaint little area full of shops. Alamo Plaza is a very charming shopping area with a lil up gazebo in the middle. Many people stop and eat a preztel or maybe some ice cream while letting the kids play in the square. Along the area are small, local shops selling anything from antiques to souvenirs to custom made crafts.
Some may bypass these shops since they are so close to RiverCenter Mall. But don't let the mall stop you from enjoying a smaller, more intimate groups of stores.
What to buy: In San Antonio you will see a lot of items from the Mexican heritage. Especially great when shopping for Christmas gifts! You can get anyone something here.
What to pay: You can spend anywhere from $1-as much as you can afford
Written Jan 21, 2008
Address: 300 Alamo Plaza
For that unique piece, stop by The Village Gallery in La Villita, where the shop offers stoneware and pottery distinctive of Texas.
I quickly found a great looking spoon rest and a cheese tray as I browsed through the rooms (picture 2). The stoneware was beautifully arranged in sets, so it was simple to select something that matched. The difficult part was making a choice--so many color combinations!
Several small rooms and second floor comprise the cozy shop, all stacked with wonderful things. I'll definitely want to stop by another time. The best part about shopping in La Villita is its historic charm!
Updated Jan 10, 2008
Address: 502 Villita St., San Antonio,Tx.
I wanted to find a pretty piece of silver jewelry to take home as a memento, so while we were exploring La Villita (one of the oldest settlements in San Antonio) I stopped by Chamade Jewelers.
I found an interesting torquoise pendant on a silver chain, but there were other unique pieces crafted of silver that were very nice. Rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, charms and pendants filled the jewelry cases. I noticed they also sold estate jewelry.
While I was here, at least two people came in to have a piece of old jewelry redesigned. The service was excellent and the saleswoman spent quite a bit of time guiding me around the sales room to the different jewelry cases.
Chamade is open daily and accepts all major credit cards.
What to buy: Silver jewelry
Updated Jan 9, 2008
Address: 504 Villita Street, San Antonio,Tx
This is the best and newest shopping mall in San Antonio. It has a wonderful outdoor atmosphere with the best department stores and fine dining. If you are looking for Nordstrom's, Nieman Marcus, Tiffany's, Tommy Bahama, or other places like this, here is where you'll find them. It's located next to the Six Flags amusement park, Fiesta Texas, so the kids have something to do afterwards. Across the highway (Interstate 10), are more shops and a wonderful, new movie theater.
Written Jan 1, 2008
Address: 15900 La Cantera Pkwy
Located in San Marcos, about an hour drive from San Antonio is the Prime Retail Outlet. The outlet was recently named the 3rd best shopping place in the world (according to ABC's The View), and I totally agree.
Across the Street is Tanger Outlet. These outlets have EVERYTHING at reasonable prices. Shops include: The Pottery Barn Outlet, Anne Klein Outlet, Tommy Bahama's, Neiman Marcus Last Call Clearance Center and many, many more. My husband, who doesn't like to shop, enjoyed himself here, and even picked up a few things for himself!Located
Written Apr 14, 2007
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