It’s getting down to the wire to find that perfect gift, though that doesn’t mean you have to resort to big box stores and websites.
Local options — especially in Louisville, the No. 13 “top city to shop local” this year, according to Yelp — abound.
And who better to help you find the perfect gift than the Louisville experts, the Yelp Louisville Elite Squad, our most active and influential reviewers! These influencers and uber-consumers tell the story of this great city via their Yelp reviews, photos and videos, helping others adventure with purpose in their footsteps. Learn more about becoming Yelp Elite at yelp.com/elite.
We’ve pulled together a selection of their top shopping spots, which run the gamut from local favorites to under-the-radar spots, into this Louisville gift guide. We have excerpts from Yelp Elite reviews as well as some extra Yelp Elite input on what to buy.
Cross loved ones off your Christmas list with the help of Yelp! And be sure to add your own reviews and pics to help others with their shopping quests.
(You can also follow this Yelp Collection of the featured businesses, so you have this info at your fingertips while on the go.)
1. Louisville Beer Store
Perfect for: That hard-to-satisfy beer lover.
What to buy: Bottles of harder-to-find beer. “Or a recommendation from the staff! They know their stuff!” — Kathy V.
Why shop here: “What a gem in NuLu. Not only can you find all different and very selective types of international and craft beer and cider from all over the world, but you can also try some of them in the store.” — Sandra W.
2. Treehouse Artisans & Merchants
Perfect for: A resident who loves a local item to talk about.
What to buy: A necklace made by a local artisan. “It’s a one-stop shop for local artists to display and sell their work and includes several offerings that I don’t see at art fairs or similar shops” — Lorie L.
Why shop here: “I’ve found unique gifts for all the people in my life who need gifts: sisters, friends, colleagues, students, mothers, husbands, myself. Some of my favorite purchases: bourbon-scented soy candle, hand-crafted shaving kit, bourbon ball truffles and the sweetest little Kentucky-shaped Christmas ornament. Because all items come directly from the creators, prices are pretty reasonable, and the quality is top of the line.” — Lisal F.
3. Clayton & Crume
Perfect for: A loved one who puts a high premium on items that can last a lifetime.
What to buy: The money clip wallet. “High quality, personalized leather products sold by a couple of great guys.” — Mary S.
Why shop here: “The craftsmanship is pretty great. I’ve been very unhappy with similar products but really pleased with what I’ve gotten at Clayton & Crume. I also love that it was handmade here in Louisville. You can’t beat that.” — Christopher S.
Perfect for: A friend with an eye for beauty and uniqueness.
What to buy: Everything from scented candles to money clips to jewelry to home accessories. “You could find a gift for anyone on your list. It’s locally owned, the staff is friendly and helpful, and they offer free gift wrap.” — Farrah D.
Why shop here: “This place is so well curated; I wanted to bring a little bit of everything home with me. If you’re looking for presents for that hard-to-shop-for person, Scout is absolutely worth the visit. The prices range from affordable to out-of-this-world, so regardless of your budget, you’re likely to find something good.” — Li S.
5. Soluna Massage
Perfect for: Someone who just needs to relax.
What to buy: A 60-minute Swedish massage. “This is a great place for a massage, facial or foot detox.” — Sherah R.
Why shop here: “My mom actually discovered Soluna and got me a gift certificate, and I’ve been going once every few months since. Soluna is in a big house/office space in Fern Creek, and it’s pretty unassuming. But it’s quaint and nice inside. They offer online booking, which is super easy to use, and I’ve never had a problem getting an appointment.” — Jazmin S.
6. Bourbon Barrel Foods (and here)
Perfect for: A food lover who enjoys a literal taste of Kentucky.
What to buy: Any of the spices. “Great Kentucky gifts for family and those who miss Kentucky.” — Monica U.
Why shop here: “Every product I have tried is of the highest quality and packaged nicely to give as gifts or use to keep your pantry stocked. The staff is friendly, and the store has several stations with tasty samples set out to try.” — Janet V.
7. The Marvelous Mystery
Perfect for: Someone who celebrates the weird and wonderful of Louisville.
What to buy: Any of the Louisville T-shirts. “Kitschy, cute and funny stuff abounds.” — Kathy V.
Why shop here: “What you are gonna get is an overwhelming feast for the eyes of strange, colorful, terrifying, and kitschy games, signs, and exhibits; Kentucky- and Louisville-focused novelty T-shirts; funny novelty knick-knacks; a small-scale, free carnival atmosphere.” — Kathy V.
8. Heine Brothers’ Coffee (multiple locations)
Perfect for: That person in your life who can’t start the day uncaffeinated.
What to buy: The HB Keep Cup, a 12-ounce microwave- and dishwasher-safe reusable cup that one can take back and get a discount on future drinks. “Who doesn’t love supporting fair trade coffee and tea while they enjoy their daily fix?” — Tee M.
Why shop here: “I really love Heine Brothers, and I am glad I have been able to partake in a huge Louisville coffee staple… I really do love the coffee at Heine Bros. I usually get decaf or a latte at this location, and I have always been pleased with my drinks and really no complaints.” — Lindsey S.
9. VO2 Multisport
Perfect for: The avid or interested cyclist.
What to buy: Cycling shoes. “This local shop will offer a selection of gear and personal consulting.” — Lorie L.
Why shop here: “The shop also offers bikes, repairs, clothing, accessories, helmets, nutritional bars, etc. For the beginner or experienced, this shop may help cover your cycling needs.” — Lorie L.
10. Red Tree
Perfect for: The loved one who appreciates the one-of-a-kind with perhaps a bit of history.
What to buy: Holiday ornaments. “They are my favorite and unique. You won’t find them anywhere else.” — Jessica T.
Why shop here: “I truly feel like Alice in Wonderland when I go through Red Tree. It is a whole new world, full of beautiful home decor, furniture and antiques.” — Shelby Z.
11. Gheens Science Hall & Rauch Planetarium
Perfect for: The child or adult who is always looking at the sky, dreaming about what’s beyond.
What to buy: Annual membership. “Gheens offers a one-of-a-kind experience to learn about the stars and planets during laser light shows and periodic events.” — Lorie L.
Why shop here: “The Planetarium offers a variety of shows, from educational pieces about the planets and stars to music laser shows. They will do special music features near the holidays as well. Periodically they offer themed days and have activities in the lobby for children.” — Lorie L.
12. Scarlet’s Bakery
Perfect for: The sweetie with a sweet tooth.
What to buy: Gift card or the gift of amazing baked goods. “Not only are Scarlet’s baked goods amazing, but they also offer gift items like candles, coffee beans, mugs and gift cards! Plus, proceeds go to a great cause!” — Kelly P.
Why shop here: “The baked goods are the primary reason to visit. They’re known for cinnamon rolls, so I recommend you start there. Then branch out to scones, macarons and cookies. I’ve never had a less-than-stellar confection from there.” — Leigh W.
13. Stag + Doe
Perfect for: Anyone who values a stylishly appointed home.
What to buy: Felt ornaments. “They went over really well with the gift recipient!” — Kathy V.
Why shop here: “Stag + Doe values brightness, natural tones, artistic styles and animals! All good things! You’ll find colorful pieces as well as gorgeous black/white pieces. From furniture to accessories to kitchenware to pottery to decorations to gifts to mirrors to rugs to — you name it!” — John R.
14. Ken Combs Running Store
Perfect for: The friend who runs the Triple Crown of Running each year.
What to buy: A good pair of exercise socks. “They have lasted years. They have no holes, and they don’t stretch out.” — Michele W.
Why shop here: “I loved the shoe options, the staff and location. I needed new running shoes and… the guy helping me listened to my needs, and I bought a great pair of Brooks. I didn’t feel pressured to buy anything extra, which was refreshing.” — Amy L.
15. Purrfect Day Cafe
Perfect for: The cat lover who is looking for a new experience.
What to buy: Gift certificate or retail item. “They have bottles of wine, shirts and cups to support their organization.” — Lorie L.
Why shop here: “Having a bad day? Check out the Purrfect Day Cafe! There is no way that you could spend any time there and not have a smile on your face. You can have a drink and snack and watch kittens from behind a glass wall, or you can book some time in the Cat Room playing with the kittens.” — Andrea E.
16. Carmichael’s Bookstore (and here)
Perfect for: Bibliophiles who love holding an actual book in their hands.
What to buy: Any of the children’s books. “Great books and atmosphere.” — Monica U.
Why shop here: “Growing up in Louisville, I have also been raised to love and appreciate our ‘local’ scene. Carmichael’s is a wonderful local bookstore that carries a wide variety of books in all genres. They even carry local authors!” — Robert D.
17. Rawnaissance Desserts
Perfect for: The party host or hostess who is perhaps vegan but not necessarily so.
What to buy: A cake. “Rawnaissance is a luxury — healthy, plant-based desserts that sate the sweet tooth without enlarging the waistline.” — Lisal F.
Why shop here: “A beautiful combination of artistry, flavor and creativity. 100 percent vegan, organic, corn-, soy- and grain-free with no shortage of flavor and love.” — Jill O.
18. Speed Art Museum
Perfect for: The culture lover who likes to take in art on his/her own time.
What to buy: An annual membership or passes. “The Speed offers a unique museum experience in its beautifully renovated building; temporary exhibits; children’s art area.” — Lorie L.
Why shop here: “Speed Art Museum is the best intellectual zen you’ll find… The interior is a sanctuary, in which visitors can lull themselves into a state of contemplative bliss as they walk through corridors covered in art dating back as far as ancient Egypt.” — Whitley D.
19. Work the Metal
Perfect for: Almost anyone. Seriously, this store contains so much.
What to buy: Candles, children’s books and stuffed animals. “Their prices are reasonable, and the gifts are unique. You really can find something for everyone on your list here!” — Ashley D.
Why shop here: “It charms my socks off each time. This is an adorable, creative, funny and quirky shop located inside Butchertown Market. It’s huge and has multiple sections. To name a few, there are huge sections with jewelry, wine/drinkware, houseware, spa, gift, home decor/signs, clothing boutique, cards, etc. etc. etc. You could spend hours in here!” — Nina A.
20. Spa Natur
Perfect for: The busy bee who needs to take some time for him or herself.
What to buy: A massage package. “Self-care is a gift that few give themselves but would be willing to use if given to them. It’s the perfect gift for the person who has everything!” — Cherise M.
Why shop here: “This is the one place where I’ve made an effort to go back because I always leave feeling so relaxed and loose! The deep tissue massages are amazing.” — Kyle S.