Turn your Black Friday into a Plaid one this year by enjoying a day of shopping locally in one of these charming downtown areas.
Skip the mall lines after Thanksgiving and head to your local downtown to cross off your gift list this year. The new national holiday, Plaid Friday, highlights local and small businesses and invites consumers to rethink the way we go about holiday shopping. The “plaid” is to encourage a comfortable and leisurely experience during the holiday outing which we often forget to enjoy. And where better to celebrate than sales-tax-free New Hampshire? Throw on your favorite flannel or just get comfy and enjoy perusing these four downtowns that offer great local goods to gift.
The lively, half-mile downtown begins at the northern-most tip of Keene State College and runs north to Central Square. Main Street is where you’ll find door-to-door boutique shops and restaurants. A tour through this downtown doesn’t end there. Many of the streets branching off the main drag are also filled with gems like the Toadstool Bookshop on Emerald Street. Plus, the ample on-street parking in downtown makes this one of the most accessible shopping areas.
Urban Exchange – This bright and tidy thrift store is full of designer and name brand gently used clothes, shoes, and accessories.
Retro Music – This is the perfect stop for the musician in your life. The collection of vintage guitars and amps include everything from a 1974 Fender Precision Bass to a 2005 Rodrigo Moreira #1 All Brazilian as well as some favorite starter guitars.
Hannah Grimes Marketplace – Whether you are looking for hand-knit wool mittens, hanging terrariums, or locally produced meads and wines, this little shop has you covered.
Home of the prestigious Dartmouth College, this little two-block downtown is practically a part of campus, meaning you can expect hip eateries and quirky shops. Clothing stores offer a mix of unique boutique experiences and more than 15 dining options are nestled in side by side. If you aren’t sure where to start, sign up for the Hanover Chamber of Commerce’s walking and shopping tour.
Left Bank Books – This bookshop has a lot more to offer than Nora Roberts and Stephen King (though you can find a few of their best sellers as well). Expect to find a collection of out-of-print and rare books gracing these shelves.
The J List – This trendy boutique offers attire for the whole family that is organic, sustainably produced, and often times profiting a larger cause or charity.
Lemon Tree Gifts – Known to have “everything you never knew you needed,” this cute stop has stellar stocking stuffers and home decor among much more.
This .75 square-mile downtown district runs along the triangle made by Main Street, Central Ave., and Washington Street. With many of the historic mills along the Cocheco River mixed-use buildings, you can shop while warming up inside – check out One Washington Street, full of small shops and art galleries.
Noggin Factory – What started out as a theoretical business plan for a UNH class has grown to become one of the state’s biggest destinations for toys and teaching supplies.
Doina Alexei – This innovative women’s clothing brand focuses on creating designs that are minimal, chic, and multi-use, like the “11:11” Jacket, that transforms from a jacket to a handbag in minutes.
Flight Coffee Co – This coffee shop is serving up more than just a great cup o’ joe. In a recent partnership with Baldface Books, the coffee shop now offers a wide range of books as well as vintage vinyl.
Situated where the Nashua River runs into the Merrimack, this downtown is made up of a mix of old brick and art deco style buildings and is the largest downtown on the list. If you’re unsure of where to start, consider meeting others for the annual Shop Small Saturday Holiday Stroll.
Camaraderie – This boutique offers chic brands like Free People, Rag Poets, and BB Dakota in the beautifully curated store, where owners Kami and Danielle offer a personal shopping experience as well.
Scontsas – This jeweler has something for every budget, from trendy items to precious gemstones and diamonds.
Cava de Vino – This wine shop offers a large selection of boutique wines from across the world as well as high-quality olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and much more.