Various Gifts Wrapped with Ribbon.

Where locals shop in Atlanta for distinct, quality gifts

Your complete guide to shopping in Atlanta.

Everyone loves a gift that feels personal — but finding one is another matter altogether. Check out some of our favorite local places where you’re sure to discover something unique that your loved ones won’t find elsewhere. 

Jewelry and accessories

Located inside Ponce City Market, The Village Retail boasts a large collection of Black-owned products, including beloved and emerging Atlanta brands. Shop men’s and women’s fashions with stylish offerings from head-to-toe, from handmade wooden watches to handbags to bucket hats and more. Visit the Edgewood Retail District for another one-stop shop, the beehive, home to a wide variety of products from local designers and artists, who offer new products consistently. 

If you’re more into baubles, check out Fossil & Hide, which features bold, distinct pieces that the shop describes as “wearable art.” Independent design shop Young Blood offers a curated selection of on-trend jewelry alongside chic accessories that will collect compliments with every wear. 

Clothes

You don’t have to break the bank to find distinctive clothing for every personality and interest. Atlanta’s secondhand shopping is unparalleled, especially in Little 5 Points. Check out Little 5 Points Vintage and Drugstore Atlanta, where you can find vintage shirts, sports memorabilia, pre-loved workwear, coffee table books, and impressive posters for one-of-a-kind decorating. Woman-owned Catalogue features affordable hand-picked vintage women’s clothing and trendy pieces for fashionistas who appreciate a throwback garment with a modern edge.

ATL Experiences

Sometimes, the best gift is making a memory. Fortunately, Atlanta is full of dynamic attractions that you can visit time and time again. For visitors, friends with kids, or newbies to the city, we suggest CityPass, which packages must-see attractions in Atlanta including The Georgia Aquarium, The World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, and options like The National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the College Football Hall of Fame

You can also gift access to the city’s most popular cultural institutions. Purchase a one-year membership to The Atlanta Botanical Garden, which includes access to colorful seasonal exhibitions and special events, or purchase a pass to of Atlanta’s many arts venues, like the Fox Theatre

Music and Art 

The vinyl craze continues, and picking the perfect record for a loved one is a timeless gift that holds special value. JB’s Record Lounge in the West End offers new releases in addition to hard-to-find gems that are categorized by genre. You can also find numerous stores with niche offerings in Little 5 Points. Try Wax‘n’Facts, known for its reasonably priced vinyls, cassettes and CDs, Moods Music, which specializes in atmospheric “acid, Afro-Cuban, jazzy, house, rare grooves” vinyls or classic Criminal Records, which features comic books and music magazines in addition to new and used music.

For art lovers, look no further than the ABV Agency + Gallery, which offers an online gift shop where you’ll find artwork from over 500 creatives. The affordable prints are limited in quantity and often sell out quickly, so order early. (And often.) Homegrown Decatur features prints and wall art from artists hailing from the Southeast, but you’ll also find locally made gifts if you can’t find your perfect print. 

Self-Care

The Green Flamingo, located in Virginia Highlands is a plant shop and apothecary stocked full of candles, body oils and perfumes, made from natural botanicals. They also have workshops, where you can make your own terrariums for a fun, experiential gift.  

If you know someone who needs dedicated pampering, opt for a spa gift card for extra relaxation. Specializing in “farm-to-your-skin” treatments using high-quality, organic ingredients, iwi fresh offers massages and facials using specially made products, and sells a line to pick up for home. Or try Natural Body Spa & Shop, which has gained a devoted following over its 30+ years in business, making “best of” lists for decades. 

Spirits

Why gift a bottle of wine, when you can give an experience? Pick up tickets to Atlanta’s City Winery intimate musical performances or purchase a monthly subscription that ships award-winning wines right to your door.

Visit the mixed-use destination Lee + White in the West End where you’ll find restaurants, retailers and numerous breweries. Pick up a hand-selected combination of beers from Hops City, gift a case of brews from Best End Brewery, enjoy to-go beer and merch at Wild Heaven Beer, or visit the ever-growing list of brewers in person to find your favorite. If beer isn’t your thing, find an aged bottle of craft whiskey from the ASW Distillery


A person removing a plug from a wall outlet

4 simple ways to see noticeable savings on your electric bill

Make some changes and see the difference this winter.

Experts predict that this winter will be a tough one. Thanks to El Niño, a climate pattern associated with warmer waters, California and southern parts of the U.S. may experience colder, wetter winters. Severe weather can lead to higher electric bills, but there are solid methods to soften the blow. Read on for easy ways to see demonstrable savings on your next bill.   

Beware of “vampire electricity”

Electronics can still draw power, even when they are idle or turned off. By unplugging common appliances and household items, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that families can save hundreds of dollars per year. After use or when you go to sleep at night, check to make sure these items aren’t costing you money. 

When possible, consider unplugging the following items:

  • Hair dryer or curling iron
  • Coffee maker, air fryer, microwave oven or microwave 
  • Television or media player
  • Computer or laptop
  • Phone, tablet and other chargers
  • Modem 
  • Washer/dryer

Avoid using major appliances during “peak times”

Some may not know that energy can cost more during certain hours. “Peak hours” are when there is a high demand for energy, which makes energy more expensive per kWh used. Though peak times vary by region and by season, in general you can find some patterns:

  • During the summer, mid-afternoon hours are considered peak hours for energy usage.
  • During the winter, early-to-mid mornings and evenings are typically the most expensive. 
  • Typically, weekends are considered “off-peak” hours for most or all of the day.

If possible, avoid using major appliances like washers and dryers and dishwashers during these times.

Use your lights responsibly

Lighting accounts for about 15% of the average electric bill. If you are not in your home or not in certain rooms, make sure to turn off the lights, including overhead lighting and lamps. When possible, install LED lights, which can lead to hundreds of savings for a household, according to the Department of Energy. Fortunately, many apartment communities include LED lighting to help residents save some dollars, but if they haven’t installed these energy-savers yet, you can request them. 

Watch for areas where energy escapes

Depending on the age and condition of your home or property, there are likely areas with air leaks. For instance, gaps under your doors can allow cold and hot weather inside, making it more difficult to keep your home at a moderate temperature. A door snake — or even a rolled-up beach towel — can help conditioned air stay where it belongs: inside your home. Windows are another place where energy escapes, losses which can account for 25-30% of your overall electric bill. If you don’t have energy efficient windows, you can still purchase thick, insulating curtains and, in severe cold, you can double up with blankets from around the house for further protection from the elements. 

As energy prices remain consistently high for most consumers across the U.S., these small habit changes can translate to earnings that add up over time.

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View of the sun shining through clouds

5 powerful health benefits you can get from going outside more

Plus, how to benefit if you live in the city or suburbs

It turns out that “touch grass” is pretty good advice. 

Though many of us enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping or kayaking, spending time in nature can provide tangible benefits in day-to-day life. An emerging body of research is helping us to understand how our time outside improves our overall well-being. As the evidence mounts, one thing is for certain: experiencing our natural surroundings can demonstrably impact our lives. 

1. Going outside helps with stress and improves attention

Americans are going outside less and spending more time staring at screens. In fact, most of us are looking at our phones or computers for more than 10 hours per day. At the same time, 76% of Americans reported health issues due to stress. According to the American Psychological Association, stress and attention levels are intertwined – and nature is a balm for both. Experiencing the outdoors leads to lower stress levels and higher attention spans, which ultimately creates a good cycle of feeling and performing better. 

2. The outdoors can help alleviate conditions like depression and anxiety 

In a wide-reaching analysis of studies from 40 studies spanning 20 years, researchers found that greenspace exposure is linked to less severe symptoms and fewer incidences of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. This doesn’t just apply to geographies known for their natural wonders. One study from the University of Pennsylvania found that after cleaning up and planting grass and other vegetation on vacant urban land, nearby residents reported a 41.5% decrease in feelings of depression. 

3. Outdoor activities are associated with better physical health 

There are straightforward benefits of spending time in nature, like an increase in Vitamin D. According to one study, about 22% of Americans have a Vitamin D deficiency. But there are broader health implications, too. An assessment of multiple studies indicates that sufficient time in nature is associated with lower blood pressure and improved cardiovascular health. It isn’t clear how the health benefits are derived, but research continues to confirm that we are healthier when surrounded by nature.

4. Nature provides us with a connection to our society

Studies show that time spent in nature can serve as a “buffer” that helps mitigate the negative effects for people who do not have much social connection like friends or family. In the simplest terms, even when people do not have satisfying human-to-human connections, living close to nature can still provide a sense of belonging. Additionally, outdoor spaces provide a setting where we can meet others — think dog parks, birdwatching areas or beaches — in a calming, organic environment. 

People walking in a public park
People walking in a public park

5. The experience can literally make life more meaningful 

Researchers are just beginning to understand the profound effects of what they call “awe.” Some might describe the feeling as a grounding, humbling, mystical or even ecstatic sense after witnessing the majesty of nature. This phenomenon has actually been shown to decrease materialism, increase civility and encourage generosity. It also helps people feel small, a counterintuitive notion that influences our sense of self. When we see that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves — and our day-to-day issues — our perspective can and does change.

But what if I don’t live near nature? 

Unfortunately, not all of us live within hiking distance to a picturesque waterfall or stunning mountain range. Even if we all had easy access to geographic gems, we don’t necessarily have ample time during the day to spend there.

Fortunately, researchers at Cornell have found that as little as 10 minutes a day can have positive benefits for people, and not just in “nature” as we might think of it. They studied areas like college campuses, urban parks, nature reserves and or any area with green and found that, measured against buildings and cement, the participants still showed positive effects from being outside.

Even then, there is evidence that “virtual nature” can even do in a pinch. In one study, students who were exposed to nature through pictures, videos and media conveyed through virtual reality headsets experienced less negative feelings like worry and panic. 

There are other ways to experience nature in urban environments, like simply growing plants in a balcony or backyard, or watching for birds while on a morning walk. Experts say that experiencing any of nature wherever you are is about mindfulness — explicitly focusing on the things around you when you are outdoors. 

In other words, whether you live near a beach or near a strip mall, find ways to experience nature a few minutes a day, every day, to reap health benefits.

Want to find more ways to stay healthy and well right where you live? Sign up for the Localite newsletter.