Shopping
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GoldenBug Children's Shoes 5509 College Ave.

GoldenBug Children's Shoes
5509 College Ave.

The tree-lined district is charming and eclectic, reflecting the character of Rockridge, Elmwood, and UC Berkeley in the items it offers. And, it’s one of the only areas in the East Bay where cars always stop at the crosswalk to let pedestrians pass. It has that neighborly feel.

For families, College Ave. really does have it all. Among the most prevalent type of store in the area is boutiques with something for all ages: wooden toys for youngsters, gadgets for teens, and houseware, jewelry, and clothing for parents. What ties it all together? The selection is carefully curated and often locally made. In these stores, the buyers do the searching for you; the focus is on quality rather than wide selection.

That’s not to say that College Ave. isn’t home to stores with a large variety of one thing. On the contrary, it hosts purveyors of vintage clothing, hats, walking shoes, rugs, stationary, and sporting goods — just to o er up a sampling. There’s even a store especially for bird owners and another for model-building hobbyists. Aside from its high number of children’s stores, this is what makes the area so fun for families: everyone has a destination in mind to pick up something that suits their interests and needs.

But College Ave., with its unhurried appeal, is also an ideal place to wander around solo and discover things you never knew you were looking for. There’s a good chance those might turn out to be imported treasures. Several stores, such as Talisman Antiques and Old Yak Bazaar, sell dyed scarves, knitted caps, painted wooden animals, and other collectible items from all over the world.

Or, if you’re more the type to collect books, a whole day can be made of strolling from Mrs. Dalloway’s, to Pegasus, to Diesel, sifting through rows of new and old literature. Perhaps you’ll pick up a coffee or ice cream cone on the way. It’s difficult not to.

While some people might value the efficiency of shopping somewhere with closer clusters of stores, College Ave. invites a more leisurely experience. With short rows of houses separating blocks of shops, the area offers opportunity to take breaks for conversation with companions and pleasant appreciation of the neighborhood. Borrowing language from the slow food movement, one could even call it a slow shopping street.

But College Ave., with its unhurried appeal, is also an ideal place to wander around solo and discover things you never knew you were looking for. There’s a good chance those might turn out to be imported treasures. Several stores, such as Talisman Antiques and Old Yak Bazaar, sell dyed scarves, knitted caps, painted wooden animals, and other collectible items from all over the world.

Or, if you’re more the type to collect books, a whole day can be made of strolling from Mrs. Dalloway’s, to Pegasus, to Diesel, sifting through rows of new and old literature. Perhaps you’ll pick up a coffee or ice cream cone on the way. It’s difficult not to.

While some people might value the efficiency of shopping somewhere with closer clusters of stores, College Ave. invites a more leisurely experience. With short rows of houses separating blocks of shops, the area offers opportunity to take breaks for conversation with companions and pleasant appreciation of the neighborhood. Borrowing language from the slow food movement, one could even call it a slow shopping street.

 
 
 
Christensen Heller Gallery 5829 College Ave.

Christensen Heller Gallery
5829 College Ave.