Best Small Town for Shopping (2021)


Eclectic boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and farmers markets – these small towns with populations of less than 25,000 are the perfect destinations for some retail therapy. 

  • Montpelier


    Just steps from the Vermont State House lies the pedestrian-friendly Montpelier downtown shopping district – a neighborhood packed with shops, antique stores and restaurants. Find one of a kind pieces from Vermont artists at the Artisans Hand Craft Gallery or pick up a new cooking gadget at Capital Kitchen.
    Photo courtesy of Montpelier Alive

  • Cape May

    Cape May
    New Jersey

    The town of Cape May offers several shopping opportunities in their downtown area, including The Washington Street Mall, a three-block outdoor walking mall. The beachfront and West Cape May are locations for additional shopping. The sites are home to several specialty shops – brides can achieve their wedding vision at Free Love Bridal, GIVENS provides space to local artists and designers, and Fathoms provides a new approach to clothing and gifts for coastal wear.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / Aneese

  • Highlands

    North Carolina

    The picturesque Main Street in the small North Carolina town of Highlands is a shopper’s paradise stocking a little of everything – sportswear, gift items, European and American antiques, home decor and accessories, fine art and kitchen gear.
    Photo courtesy of Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

  • Sedona


    Sedona is home to dozens of art galleries and studios. The most extensive collection is at Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, a unique collection of galleries and shops inspired by an Old Mexican village. Built around a sycamore grove, Tlaquepaque (an Aztec word meaning "best of everything") includes fourteen art galleries, six jewelry shops, three clothing boutiques, and nineteen specialty shops ranging from toys, shoes, and music boxes to Christmas decorations and pottery.
    Photo courtesy of Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

  • Dahlonega


    Shoppers will find more than 100 businesses within Dahlonega, one of Georgia’s top destinations for retail. Pick up custom gold jewelry from the sight of the nation’s first gold rush, browse locally made gift items from some 30 regional artists, try on a new outfit or peruse a collection of antiques at the Gateway Antique Mall.
    Photo courtesy of Dahlonega-Lumpkin Chamber and Visitors Bureau

  • Camden


    Camden is a postcard-worthy seaside village situated on Maine's scenic Penobscot Bay. A large fleet of windjammers can often be spotted in the Camden Harbor, and the shops, galleries and cafes of Main Street spill into the surrounding small streets and allies, making it an ideal setting for a summer stroll. Many of Camden's B&Bs occupy old Victorian, Greek Revival or Federal-style houses.
    Photo courtesy of Erick Anderson, Lord Camden Inn

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea


    If shopping by the sea gets any better, those in Carmel don’t see how. Here, along cobblestone streets and paths, quaint stores selling local wares are set up in a picturesque village setting that feels more like a step back in time than a stroll down a retail row. Art galleries are a top draw, and it’s also a good spot for unique gifts and children’s toys. Just a stone’s throw away are the gift shops for the famed Pebble Beach courses and resorts, where golfers and tennis enthusiasts can stock up on everything to up their game.
    Photo courtesy of

  • St. Michaels

    St. Michaels

    St. Michael's, located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, has its roots in shipbuilding and the oyster industry. Today it's a popular weekend getaway from the big cities and hosts an impressive number of locally-owned shops. Woodcraft Artisans specializes in wood-carved nautical charts; the store has over 6,000 lakes and coastal areas mapped and ready to make into that perfect souvenir. Iron Will Woodworks repurposes salvaged material into custom furniture and decor. Sea Captain's Cottage includes a mix of one-of-a-kind artisan crafts, gifts, and home decor.
    Photo courtesy of iStock / laryn

  • Lahaina


    You don't need to go far in Lahaina to shop. The Marketplace, Lahaina Square, and Old Lahaina Center feature shops with jewelry, apparel, and other souvenirs. But Front Street is the hub for shopping. Check out Makai Glass art gallery, where you can see the glassblowers working at their craft. You can pick up gifts at Whalers and Maui Paradise, and you'll find clothing stores like Leola, Hurley, and Honolua Surf for island wear. For jewelry, try Original Maui Divers and Whaler's Locker.
    Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

  • Chagrin Falls

    Chagrin Falls

    Shop in “an authentic downtown” at Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Locally-owned shops fill the village, the choices ranging from high-end boutiques such as Brides By the Falls and Gypsy Sole to Fireside Books, an old-fashioned bookstore that sponsors live book signings and speakers. The shops are all located in a walkable area interspersed with award-winning restaurants and public parks. A river flows through the middle of downtown, and the bridge overlooks a natural waterfall.
    Photo courtesy of FatCamera // Getty Images

The top 10 winners in the category Best Small Town for Shopping are as follows: 
  1. Montpelier - Vermont
  2. Cape May - New Jersey
  3. Highlands - North Carolina
  4. Sedona - Arizona
  5. Dahlonega - Georgia
  6. Camden - Maine
  7. Carmel-by-the-Sea - California
  8. St. Michaels - Maryland
  9. Lahaina - Hawaii
  10. Chagrin Falls - Ohio

Congratulations to all these winning towns!

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