Note: This article is from 2019. Feel free to browse through it for some holiday shopping ideas, but see this updated article that includes a new shopping guide plus the best light displays and other safe, distance-friendly holiday activities for 2020. Thanks and happy holidays!

With the holidays fast approaching, you may feel a bit panicky about getting your holiday shopping done. Relax, take a deep breath and dive into this helpful guide to curating the perfect shopping excursion in the City of Oaks.

Downtown Raleigh

Easy access to local shops, restaurants, museums and holiday decor (you'll find two giant, decorated trees—in front of the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts and at the North Carolina State Capitol) makes downtown Raleigh a no-brainer during the holiday season.

Edge of Urge
Kick off your shopping spree at Edge of Urge, a men’s and women’s boutique specializing in handmade and independent designer clothing, shoes, jewelry and accessories. Pick up a pair of leather, feather earrings (created in-house) or perhaps a Bob Ross “Happy Accident” Pin for someone on your list.


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Videri Chocolate Factory
Excite the chocoholics in your life with a stop at Videri in Raleigh's trendy Warehouse District. The Jingle Bell Caramel gift box makes for a delicious holiday surprise, while the six-ounce hot chocolate mixes or Peppermint Bars are great for stocking stuffers. With that being the tip of the iceberg, it’s nearly impossible to leave this sweet shop empty-handed. You'll also want to look out for their gift boxes.


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Tasty Beverage
For the craft brew aficionado on your list, make your way over to Tasty Beverage. They have an extensive selection of approximately 1,200 packaged beers plus six draft beers for your consumption and subsequent enjoyment. In addition to amazing craft beers, you can also pick up some locally-made Slingshot Coffee—perfect for any coffee lover.


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Ealdwine, an upscale men’s store, opened in downtown Raleigh in 2019. Along with the countless brands of men’s clothing and luxurious leather goods, they also sell nearly 50 separate styles of Alden shoes (widely considered the highest-quality American-made shoe company). For gift ideas and stocking stuffers, a selection of unique socks, belts and wallets can go a long way.


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42 & Lawrence
Speaking of coffee, why not stroll over to 42 & Lawrence to enjoy a great cup and snatch a couple bags of Larry’s Coffee. Larry’s Coffee is a Raleigh roasting company started by Larry Larson, who is as passionate about making extraordinary coffee as he is about making the world a better place to live.


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DECO Raleigh
For some major gift-giving inspiration, hop over to DECO Raleigh (pictured in header). This customer-centered gift shop and gallery from passionate mind Pam Blondin carries the work of more than 75 local artisans and makers. Shoppers regularly find unique, smart and eclectic gifts like apparel, jewelry, personal care/grooming products, ceramics, teas, stationery and more.


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Raleigh Denim Workshop
For fashion-forward friends and family members, shop Raleigh Denim Workshop—the creation of passionate minds Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko. The workshop/retail space is devoted to conscientiously producing small-batch, handmade jeans and clothing. Consider getting a gift card to make any style icon’s holiday brighter.


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Zen Succulent
Green and glamourous, the ZEN Succulent offers unique holiday gifts for those with a true green thumb and those who just like a little nature sprinkled throughout their home. Local tip: Stop in for one of their workshops, including a DIY Terrarium Bar class.


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Port of Raleigh
As a home and lifestyle store, Port of Raleigh carries handpicked, design-driven goods from around the world that make for the perfect gifts. Shop mugs, stepstools, clocks, pens and notepads, side tables, vases and more from places like Scandinavia, Japan and small designs studios right here in the U.S.


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Dog and cat lovers alike will adore you when you surprise them with a gift from Unleashed, the Dog & Cat Store. Located in City Market, this locally-owned and -operated store offers the best chews, treats, collars, leashes and toys around. Best part: everything is affordably priced to help give your wallet a rest.


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Pour House Music Hall & Record Shop
In addition to being one of Raleigh’s favorite live music venues since 1997, The Pour House Music Hall also boasts a collection of both new and used vinyl records. Find something for the music lover on your list and enjoy an adult beverage from the full bar there as well. Local tip: Go on a weekend day to catch a live music performance right there in the store.


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After a successful day of shopping downtown, a scrumptious meal is a must. While there’s a ton of options to choose from, you can’t go wrong with any one of these:


West Raleigh

When it comes to holiday shopping in West Raleigh, Cameron Village is the place to go. With more than 100 unique shops, cafes, restaurants and services stretched across six city blocks, shopping here is a real treat. Especially when whole place is decked out in holiday lights and decorations. And beyond Cameron Village, you should definitely explore some of the most local-favorite shops around.

Tin Roof Teas
Thrill any tea lover on your list with a gift from the Cameron Village shop with the bright blue awning. Built on a family passion for tea and a commitment to bring the world’s finest teas and chocolates to North Carolina, Tin Roof stocks more than 250 premium teas and a range of tea accessories.


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The Local Squirrel
Not far away is the Local Squirrel, a lifestyle boutique featuring jewelry, home accessories and other gifts. If you’re looking to shop local, this is the place to go as roughly 70% of the store’s goods are from local makers and small business owners. Be sure to check out the holiday décor on sale as well if your digs could use a little festive cheer.


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Cheshire Cat Antique Gallery
The ideal present doesn’t need to be shiny or new. Go the antique route with a visit to the Cheshire Cat to find gifts that ooze vintage charm. This antique mall is a 25,000-square-foot shopper’s paradise of collectibles, furniture, art, jewelry, dishware and more.


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Kannon’s Clothing
Buying for fashionistas can be easy when you have knowledgeable experts on your side. At Kannon’s, you can trust the staff to help you find what you’re looking for and suggest apparel items you might not think of. Shop a selection of world-class clothing for both women and men.


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Carolina Popcorn Shoppe
This locally-owned and -operated shop on Western Blvd. (not far from Cameron Village) has been making ultra-gourmet popcorn since 2000. One bite, and you’ll know you’ve experienced the best gourmet popcorn in the world! Buy a tin (or two) and spread a little cheer to those on your holiday gift list.


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The Green Monkey
The Green Monkey’s mission is to make shopping fun, especially during the holidays. Visit this warm hug of a retail shop where everyone is welcome and the shelves are stocked with goodies from local artisans around Raleigh and N.C. The Green Monkey is also a craft brew bar, so go ahead and enjoy a brew while you browse.


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If you’re looking to snag grub while shopping in West Raleigh, add one of these eateries to your itinerary:


Midtown Raleigh

Midtown boasts two major shopping hubs. North Hills is an eclectic mix of 130+ local shops, restaurants, world-class bars, spas and premier hotels. For the holidays, this shopping mecca truly lights up with festive décor and a 41-foot Christmas tree in The Commons. Farther south is Crabtree Valley Mall, with 220 brand-name stores including Michael Kors, H&M, Pottery Barn, Coach, Apple and more.

Quail Ridge Books
Brimming with books of every genre, Quail Ridge Books at North Hills features a wide range of incredible book-themed merchandise, including journals, scented candles, tons of calendars, bookish T-shirts and comfy socks and bookish art for the walls. You’ll also discover a generous selection of signed books that make perfect gifts for bibliophiles. Local tip: Check out their website for a list of available copies.


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There are few holiday presents more unique or personal than that of gorgeous, customized stationery. At PaperBuzz, located right next door to Quail Ridge Books, you’ll find fresh, stylish stationery and other distinctive gifts including products from local artists and small businesses across the country.


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Gena Chandler
North Hills shopping center also boasts a fair share of clothing boutiques. At Gena Chandler, discover the designer women’s clothing, outerwear and jewelry items that will surprise and delight anyone unwrapping them. What’s more, the collection is curated by two Raleigh natives who strive to fill the store with the season’s best pieces.


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Peter Millar
If there’s a well-dressed gentleman or two on your list, then check out Peter Millar. The store offers a wide range of casual sportswear, tailored dress apparel as well as luxury and performance golf attire. The focus here is as much on providing a customer-centric experience as it is on fashion.


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Learning Express Gifts
With a huge selection of top toys and games, Learning Express Gifts is children’s gift buying at its absolute best. Locally-owned and -operated for 20 years, the toy store stocks all the popular brands from LEGO to Dolls to Pokemon. The right purchase here just might make you cooler than the man in the red suit.


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With shopping bags filled with goodies, take a load off and enjoy a meal at any of these fine restaurants:


North Raleigh and beyond

Venture out into North Raleigh and the city’s surrounding towns to discover even more great options for holiday shopping.

Shop for pet lovers (or pets of your own) at independent, locally owned pet supply store Phydeaux. You’ll find the best quality products (at reasonable prices) for dogs, cats, birds and other small animals.


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Homewood Nursery and Garden Center
Giving to those with green thumbs or just looking to add to your holiday decorations? Try Homewood Nursery, where you can choose from a gorgeous selection of festive poinsettias and other holiday plants. If you get hungry, head over to nearby Sassool for some authentic Mediterranean/Lebanese cuisine.


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Moon and Lola
In the town of Apex, you’ll find unique, beautifully-crafted jewelry from feminine charms to bold accent pieces over at Moon and Lola. This 3,000-square-foot loft space in downtown Apex is the vision of passionate mind Kelly Shatat.


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