There’s a small town with such a huge selection of specialty gifts and unique experiences, your holiday shopping is sure to be fun and productive. Avoid the lines and chaos of large shopping centers and malls by taking a short drive to Benicia, followed by a leisurely stroll along First Street during this special event. It’s one way to actually enjoy the pursuit of the perfect gift this holiday season.

holiday-shopping-in-beniciaOn November 26, nearly 40 businesses in downtown Benicia will be participating in Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support small businesses. Local boutiques, antique shops, art galleries, vintage stores, spas and more will join forces to showcase the best of the Bay Area. Enjoy live music downtown by local musicians, and enter to win a $500 Holiday Shopping Spree. You’ll receive one entry for every $10 spent at participating merchants.

And with family and friends gathering for Thanksgiving, what better way to extend the festivities than spending a “Great Day by the Bay” in Benicia. Also known for its eclectic food and beverage scene, many incredible restaurants and bars are peppered among the shops to keep your energy high and spirits bright. With free, easy access parking, and most everything within walking distance, Benicia really is the perfect holiday shopping destination. And many stores will wrap your gift!

Here are a few insider tips for everyone who made your “not so naughty” list this year:

  • Grace-CohenArt makes a gift people will never forget, and can be surprisingly affordable. Nothing says “special” like a one of a kind masterpiece. Benicia is a mecca of art forms and has an endless array of options in paintings, drawings, sculptures, hand-blown glass, photography, crafts, jewelry, and much more. Consider dropping by one of the many galleries and studios, and you may meet the artist in person. A full list of artists and studios can be found at:
  • For do-it-yourselfers, there are several wonderful places in town where you can participate in the gift making. Check out Artcentric Pottery & Glass Fusing Studio offering everything from mosaics to clay prints. Creativity Unleashed Ceramics has the largest selection of pottery and clay. Once Upon a Canvas is a great place to learn to paint, and Arts Benicia hosts a variety of workshops and classes for novice and seasoned artists. Gift certificates are also available.
  • Hats_smallVintage is in, and Benicia is home to several incredible antiques shops. Discover the many treasures and collectibles hidden among the antique furniture and home décor. That hard-to-find gift might just be a rare set of mid-century colored glassware or a nouveau chic handbag.
  • Give a gift of inspiration. For the spiritual person on your list, Angel Heart 4 You provides a truly unique experience. Peruse the many scented candles charged with intentions, essential oils, incense, and aromatherapy products as you wander the aisles of inspirational/metaphysical books and gifts. They also conduct energy classes, workshops, and psychic readings. Burning man fans will be excited to visit the Intention Tree. Visitors are invited to scribe their intentions/wishes/prayers on a piece of paper and leave it under the intention tree. Each month during a special drumming ceremony the intentions are burned to release them to the universe.
    And how about a good, old-fashioned bookstore? Bookshop Benicia is a locally owned, independent store with great service by people who believe in the power of books to change lives. They’re always happy to help you find the perfect book for those on your shopping list.

And last but not least, there are several specialty shops offering handmade stationary, jewelry, and ladies clothing. The Small Business Saturday event is all about supporting small community based businesses. For a complete list of participating shops, please visit To learn more about all of Benicia’s great shopping options, visit the store directory, or simply enjoy a day of discovery by strolling First Street. You can also follow us on Facebook for the latest news. Happy shopping!