Ready for an instant infusion of local holiday spirit? Start with a stroll through the cobblestone streets of the North Loop, the epicenter of the Minnesota heritage retail trade. Stop in at MartinPatrick3 (martinpatrick3.com) for burnished Red Wing work boots and pairs of Eye Bobs reading glasses, stylish enough to serve as frames for prescription lenses. Pop in to Wilson and Willy’s Neighbor Goods (wilsonandwillys.com) for Red Wing stoneware jars and stocking stuffers; Wit + Bliss (witandbliss.com) for jewelry by artisan tastemaker Pam Mondale, and Askov Finlayson (askovfinalyson.com) for signature “Do North” T-shirts and “North” caps for everyone on your list. Conclude your excursion with a toast to Minnesota’s legendary manufacturing history at the iconic Monte Carlo restaurant (montecarlomn.com).
Charm your out-of-town clients with a spin around Lake Harriet and a tour of Linden Hills, a jewel box of an urban neighborhood with an artful selection of shops and boutiques. Shop for regional cheeses and other gourmet gifts at France 44, antiques and vintage finds at Victory (shopvictory.com), connoisseur-caliber coffee at Coffee and Tea Limited (coffeeandtealtd.com), and singing bowls and other imported treasures at Heart of Tibet (heartoftibet.com). Join the crowd of locals at Upton 43 (upton43.com) for Aperol sours, pickled herring, salmon smorrebrod, Swedish meatballs, chocolate potato cake, and other Scandi-modern specialties.
For a breezy afternoon of holiday shopping, head out to historic Excelsior, fast-becoming the North Loop of Lake Minnetonka. For the complete lake effect, park by the Port of Excelsior and walk up Water Street. Criss-cross the street, stopping at Excelsior Bay Books (excelsiorbaybooks.net) for best-sellers, books by local authors, and creative toys for children; Brightwater Clothing and Gear (brightwaterclothing.com) for outerwear by Tradition Creek, bags by 48North, and other Minnesota brands; Patisserie Margo (patisseriemargomn.com) for an authentic French chocolate Buche de Noel cake, colorful macarons, and cherry tarts, and Golden Rule (Facebook/Golden Rule) for jewelry, candles, art, and other gifts. Head west to Hazellewood Grill and Tap Room (hazellewoodgrill.com) in Tonka Bay, an easy, two-minute drive. Order a pint of beer brewed just down the road at Excelsior Brewery, a basket of warm popovers with maple butter and the prime rib with real mashed potatoes and horseradish sour cream.
For a festive, old-school shopping experience, take your clients to St. Paul, the original home of Frank Murphy, Gokeys, and other venerable Minnesota makers and retailers. Shop the length of Grand Avenue, ducking around the corner to Garrison Keillor’s Common Good Books (commongoodbooks.com), and stopping at Bibelot (bibelotshops.com) for ornaments, stocking stuffers, and clever gifts; Wuollet Bakery (wuollet.com) for authentic Scandinavian cookies, coffee cake, and other treats; Cooks of Crocus Hill (cooksofcrocushill.com) for unique culinary gadgets; Creative Kidstuff (creativekidstuff.com) for intelligent toys for children, and Three Sisters Eclectic Arts (threesistersecleticarts.com) for locally-made jewelry, pottery and art. Raise a toast to a wonderful life with a round of Jameson Gingers at The St. Paul Grill (stpaulgrill.com), followed by grilled lamb chops with spicy jalapeño-mint jelly and signature hash browns, plus a couple of Irish coffees for good measure.
Gift Like a Local
Suite at Super Bowl LII
Polaris 2017 600 INDY SP Snowmobile
Wenonah Graphite Ultra-light Canoe
J. W. Hulme Original Leather Duffle Bag
Red Wing “Ice Cutter” Boots
Revival Stripe Blanket by Faribault Woolen Mill
Eleven Wells Minnesota 13 White Whiskey
Nordic Ware Crown Bundt Pan
Case of Pearson’s Nut Goodies