Canberra may not be top-of-mind for retail therapy but the nation’s capital has plenty to offer the discerning shopper. The easy-to-reach Canberra Outlet Centre offers discounts of up to 70 per cent off retail prices and is popular with local bargain hunters while quirky boutiques and arts and crafts shops provide a cornucopia of classy couture and curios you won’t find in Melbourne or Sydney.
Canberra Centre on Bunda Street in the city is home to major retailers David Jones and Myer and other fashionable outlets such as Zara, Mimco, Saba, Country Road and Laura Ashley, as well as an Apple store, two food courts, restaurants and cinemas. Around hip and happening Lonsdale Street in Braddon you’ll discover creative and original fashion, handcrafted trinkets and stylish homewares.
Markets also abound and are a popular weekend activity for locals and visitors alike. Collectors and foodies will love the Old Depot Market in Kingston, held every Sunday from 10am to 4pm, it is brimming with wonderful hand crafted goodies and delectable treats. The Handmade Markets, held on various weekends throughout the year, has 220 stalls which showcase the best of independent Australian design across fashion, jewellery, homewares and much more. It also boasts a gourmet food hall so you won't leave hungry. Then there are the various farmers markets which have a focus on the regions unique cool-climate produce.
Our top picks
Gather Gallery Shop, Canberra Glassworks
11 Wentworth Avenue, Kingston Foreshore
Not only a great place to pick up exquisite handmade pieces, you can also see them being made or take an introductory course and have a go yourself. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm, this is the only glassworks of its kind in Australia and is housed in the historic Kingston Powerhouse, which showcases Canberra’s heritage. Gather offers beautiful artworks, colourful homewares and unique jewellery and every month features different products from Australia’s finest glass artists.
16 Lonsdale Street, Braddon
A pop-up village in Braddon featuring live music and street-food vans – including local favourite BrodDogs, macaroons from Little Dreams, Peruvian tucker by Mr Papa and wood-fired pizzas from Custom Pizzeria – plus aspiring local artisan outlets selling jewellery, fashion, furniture, homewares and gifts. Don’t miss KIN Gallery – part jewellery store, part art gallery, part design workshop. Open Wednesday to Saturday noon to 9pm, and Sunday from midday to 3pm.
Shop like a local
For fascinating and original boutique shopping, you can’t go past Lonsdale Street Traders in the Ori Building, 30 Lonsdale Street, Braddon. Up-scale yet affordable, the pick of an excellent bunch are Assemblage Project, Hive, itrip iskip, Rebel Muse, Handsomepretty and Timber & Tailor. And don’t miss Pink Ink just down the road for bright colours and personal styling in store.
In Manuka, one of Canberra’s most stylish suburbs, you’ll find lovely arcades and a variety of elegant shops offering Australian and international designer labels, jewellery, antiques and homewares along with plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars. Momento Dezigns is a must-do for fashionistas, with a wide range of straight-from-the-catwalk clothing, shoes and accessories.