Holiday shopping is a feat not for the faint-of-heart. Big box stores full of head-scratching promotions and overwhelming online selection makes the holiday hobby of gift grabbing seem more like a chore than a jolly time.
Here in Fort Collins, there is no need to turn to corporate power-houses to fufill the gift needs for your family and friends this December. The heart of Fort Collins; downtown is only a few blocks away from the heart of campus, with dozens of local stores ready to provide gifts in every budget range, for everyone on that shopping list.
Luckily, we have complied a guide of the go-to stores for your holiday gift-shopping journey. Straight from a lifetime local, this guide is from experience of shopping, exploring and adventuring two decades in Old Town.
Colorado-active inspired locally hand printed shirts, hand made hats and scarves
15 Old Town Square #132
Akinz is all about Colorado culture. First and foremost, everything sold is made in-store. The graphic tees that feature “Fortlandia”, Colorado flag, mustache-and-monocle and other trendy designs are designed by owner Suzanne Akin, and they are printed in the back of the store. Which, is pretty unique! Secondly, for the winter months, a cold head is nothing to tread lightly about. Akinz knits personalized and customizable hats, head bands and scarves. They have many in store, or you can pick your yarn, design and place and order. The perfect winter gift for any male or female adventurer in your life! Ride More, Work Less is Ankinz new printed motto, a saying that all CSU students can relate to!
The Wright Life
Frisbee golf gear; snowboard, longboard, skateboard gear, mountain-style clothes and accessories
200 Linden Street, directly across back side of Old Town Square
With the largest selection of Frisbees in town, a new disc is a fun gift for anyone that loves a nice day outside. Everything from Frisbee golf to dog discs, half of the store is dedicated to the sport of Discs. Yet, as the snow may put a damper on those Frisbee afternoons this December, the Wright Life still has you covered with snowboarding gear, a huge selection of tees from every out-door brand known to man, a slick selection of sunglasses and the best plaid variety of anywhere in Fort Collins. It has all the new snow gear, and fashion clothes from Billabong, Dakine, Burton, LRG, Volcom and more for both men and women. The Wright Life has been around since 1981, making it one of the oldest and most loyal stores in Old Town. It caters to the out door loving community, and you can be sure to be treated like a friend when you walk in the sticker-covered doors.
Whimsical, unique jewelry; funny gag gifts; 4/20 swag; one-of-a-kind treasures
242 Walnut Street (next to Silver Grill)
If you are looking for a store that has it all Curiosities is a one-stop-shop. In this store, you can find a talking Obama head, a marijuana Fort Collins support shirt, a cat clock and beautiful jewelry… all in one place. A whimsical destination with excellent quality. Looking for a gift for a girlfriend and your quirky roommate at the same time? This is the place. Jewelry ranges from the more affordable range of $20-30, all the way up for that special someone. Much of it is trendy and also unique with turquoise, trees, quotes, intricate designs, mostly from local designers. For ring lovers who sport almost as many rings as they have fingers, Curiosities has a huge selection of rings made with stone, designs, gems, and more. On the other end of the store, animal shirts of Octopus (Octopi…)? riding a bike and cat clocks even out the selection. Fun jewelry boxes and keepsakes add on to make Curiosities the perfect stop for the true unique soul that deserves a gift to reflect.
Fort Collin’s only record store, used book store; most affordable store downtown; locally owned; reused records and books (environmental plus)
254 Linden Street (next to Blind Pig)
Music, books, CDs. The dream of any turn table owner or book nerd. The Bizzare Bizzare is probably the most affordable store downtown, as most everything in the building is used, yet in good quality. As te only record store in Fort Collins, the Bizzarre Bizzaare is a must for anyone who has a turn table or a growing record collection. With hundreds to choose from, from every genre and time-frame, if you are looking for that perfect music-lovers gift, there is no way you will not find it at Bizzare Bizzare. They even have bins where you can get all of the records inside for $5-10. What a deal. In addition, the front of the store is a book nerd’s heaven. Book shelves cover the walls with very low-priced books, from classics to new copies, everyone is sure to have one-if not many books they can be sucked into. Great for stocking stuffers for the family or entertainment over the long break, the Bizzare Bizzare is the perfect college student gift paradise. Fun, cheap and local.
Kansas City Kitty
Unique clothing for women, Kansas City local brand that is pressed and processed locally, recycled jewelry, Colorado gear, lots of Obey Brand
136 North College Ave. (few door down from Starbucks)
Despite the name, Kansas City Kitty is a very Colorado-ical store, with limited clothing with cats on it. For the clothing enthusiast on your list, Kansas City Kitty (KCK) is the place to head. A fairly new store in Old Town, this locally owned and operated store is a funky boutique, but with full walls of quirky artwork and affordable prices. Constantly getting in new pieces, there is always something new and unique to be found at KCK. Obey, RVC are great brands always stocked, but many small companies have clothes in the store as well, so you can mix and match known-brands with new found brands! In regards to accessories, KCK does it a little different—recycle! With earrings made from beer cans to vinyl-record cuff bracelets, reusing never looked so good. KCK has its own shirt press called Wounded Hearts which it works with to get unique Fort Collins inspired designs in-stores. But come fast, fresh CO gear never lasts long in the store!
Nepal Tibetan Imports/Thamel Import Gift Shop
129 S. College/ 19 Old Town Square
Prayer flags, colorful tapestries, bamboo plants and prayer beads. Add some culture to your holiday gift-giving with these sister stores, both located in old town, since 1993. As gift giving seemly has turned to online purchases and gift cards, getting back to thoughtful and out of the box ides is easy to do at these stores. Everything from beautifully intricate rings and bracelets, to woven necklaces to billowy pants and mini Buddah sculptures fill the walls and shelves of these stores. While they are different, they both have an intimidate feel, and truly have treasures you would never think of until going in. Hand carved incense holders with fresh incense, or flags and tapestries with bright colors and designs can brighten any student apartment or house. While many may not know what lies in these stores, they are missing out of culture, beauty and the best gifts around.
Mary Willson is a Communication and Sociology junior, and is a Fort Collins Native, who has been exploring Fort Collins stores for over two decades. She can be reached at email@example.com