Benicia’s Shop and Spaaahhhh Experiences
The Bay Area town of Benicia offers a relaxing, yet surprisingly cosmopolitan shopping experience for those seeking one-of-a-kind items while strolling through a scenic, small-town setting.
Benicia’s Charming Shops
Downtown Benicia, set against a dramatic waterfront on the Carquinez Strait, offers a one-mile shopping district of more 100 clothing and gift boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, restaurants and spas. Women’s and men's fashion and accessories, art, furniture, jewelry, antiques, gifts, children's items and more are available from independently owned stores known for their personalized service. Many of the stores are housed within charming, historic buildings along Benicia’s tree-lined streets.
On the first Friday in December, Benicia Main Street sponsors the Benicia Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting, a beloved holiday tradition where downtown merchants serve beverages and treats and show off their holiday goods while costumed carolers sing traditional Christmas music. Live entertainment, wagon rides, and wine tasting add a festive atmosphere to this family event.
Other events showcasing downtown businesses include Benicia in Bloom in March, with demonstrations by businesses providing eco-friendly products; Marché Benicia in June, featuring an outdoor marketplace with a French flair; and Taste of First Street in September, providing samples of cuisine from downtown restaurants. For a list of other special downtown shopping events, go to www.beniciamainstreet.org.
A Great Getaway for Women
Benicia has acquired a reputation as an ideal destination for “fashionistas,” with more than 10 women’s specialty stores offering clothing and accessories from all over the world. The designers and clothing lines found in the stores are exclusive to boutiques.
Two annual events help shoppers celebrate Benicia’s distinction as a great place for a “girls’ getaway”:
- Gal-A-Palooza! Women’s Expo in February, providing mothers, daughters, and girlfriends a chance to reconnect during a day of fashion, beauty, shopping, pampering, makeovers, and inspirational speakers.
- Benicia's Fashion Weekend in October, featuring designer trunk shows, spa treatment demonstrations, and a gala event with an auction, reception and runway show.
While in Benicia, visitors often arrange a soothing massage or rejuvenating facial at one of Benicia's more than 40 spas to help round out a relaxing day trip. Spa and relaxation services range from custom airbrush tans, to Tai Chi Qigong/Zhan Zhuang classes, to the ancient art of body sugaring.
The Arsenal: A Shopping Area with an Urban, Industrial Feel
The largest retail area in Benicia is First Street, but there are many interesting shops scattered throughout the city, including within the intriguing collection of buildings called the Arsenal. The Benicia Historic Arsenal has been home to artist live/work studios for more than 30 years.
The Arsenal’s artistic ambiance, and its urban, industrial feel, have attracted an eclectic group of retail shops to the area, providing a unique venue for shoppers. Sprinkled among the many artist studios, you’ll find a mix of new and used furniture and clothing, antiques and textile stores.
Rounding Out the Day
Dining opportunities for hungry shoppers include lunch at one of the outdoor cafes or a leisurely meal at one of the many other interesting restaurants throughout the city of Benicia. Choices include American and California cuisine, fresh seafood, sushi, Indian, Mediterranean, an English Tea Room, Italian, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, French, one of the Bay Area’s best burgers, and much more.
For more information about visiting Benicia, please go to www.visitbenicia.org. You can also become a fan of the Visit Benicia Facebook page for special deals, insider tips and up-to-the-minute news about this very special getaway.
Journalists are asked to contact Jack Wolf of Wolf Communications at jack[at]prwolf.com or (707) 575-4415.