What makes Benicia such a special shopping destination
The San Francisco Bay Area town of Benicia provides a relaxing, yet surprisingly cosmopolitan shopping experience for those seeking one-of-a-kind items and other unique finds. And it’s all wrapped up in a scenic, small-town setting that includes a downtown that’s great for strolling.
Benicia’s Charming Shops
Downtown Benicia, set against a dramatic waterfront on the Carquinez Strait, is a one-mile shopping district of more 100 clothing and gift boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants, spas and a variety of other stores. Women’s fashion and accessories, art, furniture, jewelry, antiques, gifts, children’s items and more are available from independently owned shops known for personalized service. Many of the stores are housed within beautiful, historic buildings along Benicia’s tree-lined streets.
Downtown Benicia is full of fun events throughout the year. Examples include Downtown Benicia Restaurant Week in January, the Wine & Chocolate Walk and Pamper Me Week in February, St. Patrick’s Day Beer Crawl in March, Wine Walk in June and September, and the Torchlight Parade (combined with Picnic in the Park and fireworks) in July. Also in July is the popular Benicia Waterfront Festival. The rest of the year features Taste of First Street in August, Fashion Runway Weekend in September, lots of ghoulish activity in October and December’s Benicia Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting.
That’s just a small sampling of Benicia’s rich slate of events throughout the year. For a complete list, including dates of the popular Farmers Market that runs April through October, please check out VisitBenicia.org/events.
A Great Getaway for Women
Benicia has earned the reputation as an ideal destination for “fashionistas,” with women’s specialty stores offering clothing and accessories from all over the world. The designers and clothing lines found in the stores are exclusive to boutiques.
Two annual events help shoppers celebrate Benicia’s distinction as a great place for a “girls’ getaway.” Pamper Me Week in February provides mothers, daughters, and girlfriends a chance to reconnect during a day of fashion, beauty, shopping, pampering and makeovers.
Benicia’s Annual Fashion Runway Weekend in September. features designers from TV’s popular “Project Runway,” trunk shows, spa treatment demonstrations, and a grand finale gala event with an auction, reception and runway show. Fashion Runway Weekend is sponsored by Christina S Fashion Destination, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting local charities.
Other clothing stores in Benicia include Pink Arrows Boutique at 301 First Street, Literatus Design at 374 First Street, Pocket Monkey Vintage at 623 First Street and Elisa’s Closet at 622 First Street.
While in Benicia, visitors often arrange a soothing massage or rejuvenating facial at one of Benicia’s more than 30 spas to help round out a relaxing day trip. Spa and relaxation services range from custom airbrush tans, to Tai Chi Qigong/Zhan Zhuang classes, to the ancient art of body sugaring.
The Arsenal: A Shopping Area with an Urban, Industrial Feel
The largest retail area in Benicia is First Street, but there are many interesting shops scattered throughout the city, including within the intriguing Arsenal. It also has been home to artist live/work studios for more than 30 years.
The Arsenal’s artistic ambiance, and its urban, industrial feel, have attracted an eclectic group of retail shops to the area, providing a unique venue for shoppers. Sprinkled among the many artist studios, you’ll find a mix of new and used furniture and clothing, antiques and textile stores.
Dining opportunities for hungry shoppers include lunch at one of the outdoor cafes or a leisurely meal at one of the many other popular restaurants throughout the city of Benicia. Choices include American and California cuisine, fresh seafood, sushi, Indian, Mediterranean, an English Tea Room, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, French, great burgers, and much more.
For more information about visiting Benicia, please go to VisitBenicia.org. People are invited to become a fan of the Visit Benicia Facebook page for special deals, insider tips and up-to-the-minute news about this very special getaway.