Sure it’s convenient to have everything under one roof — like at the Global Market — but sometimes it’s more of an adventure to run around town and find treasures hidden on a street you never knew existed. That’s what happened when I took a wrong turn in Roseville a couple weeks ago and turned around in front of a nondescript industrial building. A small sign over a doorway said “ Ukrainian Gift Shop.” “Really? Right here?” I thought. And so I went in and met the sweetest 90 year old woman who was still holding down the shop even though her daughter, who used to work there, retired! Go somewhere different. Happy shopping! (Stores are in Minneapolis unless otherwise noted.)
HMONG VILLAGE (1001 Johnson Pkwy., St. Paul) Part indoor farmers market, part food court, and a big part retail shops, this maze of vendors in a former school building is a great adventure. Find cookware, home decor, jewelry, clothes, and pretty much everything else.
TIBET STORE (2835 Hennepin Av.) Crafts, jewelry, meditation music, and prayer flags from Tibet and the Himalayas pack the shelves of this bustling Uptown store.
IRISH ON GRAND (1124 Grand Av., St Paul) Racks of thick wool sweaters, Celtic jewelry, tweed “newsboy” caps, and plenty of Irish CDs to get your feet dancing while you shop.
UKRAINIAN GIFT SHOP (2782 Fairview Av. N., Roseville) Eggs, eggs, and more eggs fill the glass display cabinets in this store that first opened in Luba Perchyshyn’s living room in 1947. Designs range from complex to downright impossible. Today second- and third-generation employees work alongside Luba who still decorates eggs every day. The shop also sells Ukrainian cards, clothing, house wares, design books, and kits for egg decorating.
ZINNIA FOLK ARTS (826 W. 50th St.) Tin picture frames, milagro-encrusted wall hangings, Frida Kahlo ornaments, colorfully glazed pottery, and lots of animal figurines have brightened up this Mexican folk arts store for the last year and a half.
KRAMARCZUK’S & BALTIC IMPORTS (215 & 207 E. Hennepin Av.) A recent winner of the James Beard Foundation’s “America’s Classics” designation, Kramarczuk’s bakery, deli, and restaurant have been keeping Minnesotans in kolachi pastries since 1954. Pick up a half dozen brats and their “Kramarczuk’s Family Classics” cookbook. Baltic Imports next door carries jewelry, gifts, culinary treats from Czech, Estonian, German, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, and Ukrainian cultures.
FINN STYLE (160 Glenwood Av.) From graphic and colorful iPhone cases by Marimekko to crystal clear glassware by Iittala, high-style Finnish design is what sets this store apart.
INGEBRETSEN’S SCANDINAVIAN GIFTS (1601 E. Lake St.) Step inside this building covered with painted rosemaling and enter Scandinavia. Hanging iron candelabras, chip-carved boxes, pewter jewelry, straw Christmas ornaments, hand woven textiles, Dale of Norway sweaters, and books cover shelves while music fills the store and aromas from the sideroom meat market swirl throughout the store.
GLOBAL BUSINESS CENTER (2106 E. Lake St.) This Somali shopping mall is one of three in south Minneapolis. Small market-style stores carry clothing, jewelry, and household goods. A small cafe at the back serves traditional cardamom tea—kind of a sweet chai latte.
THE MUSEUM OF RUSSIAN ART (5500 Stevens Av.) Multicolored amber jewelry and stunning painted lacquer boxes sit alongside a variety of Russian nesting dolls.
BIRCHBARK BOOKS (2115 W. 21st St.) The store design itself is worth the trip but who can resist buying an American Book Award winning novel by a Minneapolis author in her very own book store? Pick up Louise Erdrich’s “The Round House” then check out the vast selection of Native American books, jewelry, and birch bark craft.
Send the names of your favorite gift shops to WeekendTourist@mnpubs.com.