Inglewood, California has a bad rep as always “being up to no good” (I’m sure its citizens thank Tupac for that on the regular). The district of Inglewood, Calgary, on the other hand, packs so much goodness into its multi-block main strip (9th Avenue S.E) that it’s become known as the city’s “Best Shopping District” and “Best Place to Browse.”
Determined spenders and window shoppers alike, flock to this southeast neighbourhood for its eclectic boutiques, independent cafes and restaurants, vibrant live music venues and myriad street festivals throughout the year.
“Inglewood has soul, style, history and a scrappy independent spirit,” says Rebecca O’Brien, Executive Director of the Inglewood BRZ. “The main street is where people who live in the ‘hood’ hang out and others come to spend the day browsing art galleries, shopping, eating, enjoying the river and pathway systems, old buildings, and the live music scene. It’s a bad- ass small town nestled within an ever-changing city.”
Badass is actually a bang-on descriptor for Inglewood’s shopping scene. The goods being peddled range from the utilitarian functionality of Crown Surplus to the high-end lighting or furniture at Limitless, to the 100 per cent natural lotions and potions from The Apothecary. Whether you spend the afternoon digging through the vinyl at Recordland or getting the royal personal shopping experience at Espy, it’s easy to understand how this historical strip has experienced a bit of a renaissance in recent years and has become the mecca of Calgary’s shop local movement.
This independent spirit is part of what’s so appealing to small business owners setting up shop in this neighbourhood. “We stick together and it is an amazing place to have a home and a business,” explains Megan Szanik, founder of long-time Inglewood denim destination, Espy. “I love the diversity of the businesses in the neighbourhood. You can find almost anything here and some super odd stuff too. It’s not just a ‘shopping area’, it really feels like a community of people who like each other.”
Exercising the credit cards can really take a toll on a person. Conveniently, Inglewood also boasts a variety of excellent caffeine hubs (Gravity, Bite, and Starbucks, to name a few) and a few of the city’s tastiest dining options (The Nash, Rouge, Without Papers Pizza and Sugo) to allow for re-fuelling halfway through a retail session.
And as if we needed another reason to get your shop on in this hip and happening district, starting June 10th through September 9th, the Inglewood Night Market will be happening once a month. This allows you to peruse the wares of local vendors, get a bite from local food trucks, and enjoy the live music and entertainment.