New Orleans's main draw for tourists as well as its most iconic neighborhood unsurprisingly has a myriad of shops with avant-garde items of incredible variety. Whether you're looking for a fun gift or novelty item or something more practical, the French Quarter has a shop for everything. The trick, as many know, is to avoid tourist traps or non-local chain establishments in the area in favor of older, rustic, and more unique-in-inventory shops that you can only find the likes of in the Quarter. Places such as Fleurty Girl, Dirty Coast, Sweet Pea & Tulip, and Forever New Orleans are good places to start.
The Faubourg Marigny is but a brisk walk from the French Quarter, but with considerably less bustle as well as less of a cluster of samey souvenir shops and more unique places to stop by. Small, self-sustaining, colorful stores like Frenchmen Art and Books can scratch your itch to pick up vintage art prints or editions of your favorite books that are missing from your collection. Of special note are the numerous vintage clothing stores in this area, from Blue Dream to Vintage Voyage. A visit to the Marigny may end with you doing less window shopping than you would elsewhere, considering how enticing some of the inventories are.
Vintage Voyage does not have a website, but you can reach them at (214) 876-5779.
A neighborhood that is, in a word, eccentric, the Bywater will satisfy any bohemian urges you may find yourself eager to fulfill. A non-conforming, chill-yet-vibrant air permeates the Bywater neighborhood, filled with outside cafés (perfect for right now!) and sightly Victorian architecture. While you enjoy the numerous eclectic shops that line the streets, be sure to turn an eye to the famous street murals that run throughout the neighborhood.
Uptown and Carrollton
The quaint home of famous universities Loyola and Tulane, renowned restaurants such as the Milk Bar and Camellia Grill, and the gorgeous Audubon Park, the Uptown and Carrollton areas offer a good selection of places where you can spend some money. Rustic and rugged spots like Oak Street have charming mom-and-pop shops including Blue Cypress Books and a multitude of cafés for you to enjoy. More practical spots, like the aptly named Bike Shop on Freret Street, can give you a quick tune-up or repair in no time to have you back on any given trek, or allow you to find gifts for the bike enthusiast in your life.
Central Business District
While certainly not cheap, the Central Business District has its fair share of iconic and attractive shops for you to stop in. As a business district, there will, of course, be more chains or big names that are not necessarily in the spirit of Small Business Saturday, but a bit of poking around will reveal to you the same local charisma that every New Orleans neighborhood has in some nook or cranny. FREDA, as an example, is an eccentric shop on Carondelet with all sorts of in-house creations, from exotic art to specially tailored clothing you will struggle to find elsewhere. There's also the eclectic range of Outlet Collection at Riverwalk shops, which offer ample stores and items to choose from, for you or anyone on your list.