Article by Ailis Vann
Area residents know that Palmer has a long list of attributes and one of the things that visitors have regrets about is not having enough time in Palmer. Palmer residents, or “Palmeranians” as we are called, are lucky to live in a community where you can spend a day in town without having to move your car. Restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique shopping abound and it’s easy to spend a whole day and not only get to take in the incredible mountain views, but eat delicious locally sourced food, and shop in a number of independently owned (and majority women owned!) businesses.
Where to Park When Going on a Palmer Alaska Shopping Adventure
The Palmer Train Depot is essentially the middle of town and there is abundant parking. You can park at the downtown pavilion or on any of the streets and branch out from there. Start at the south end of town and make your way north and you’ll have no shortage of shops ranging from CBD products, chalk paint, consignment clothing, new apparel, a bookstore, and a store called NonEssentials that is filled with everything you didn’t know you needed.
Your Footpath Shopping Path Through Palmer
Stop 1: Books
Get A Book Written by A Local Alaskan. Our independently owned bookstore, Fireside Books, is a must-stop. This is one of our anchor stores; it’s hard to not stop in and spend 30-45 minutes perusing the shelves and stocking up on books from local authors and everything in between.
Stop 2: Downtown
After filling your shopping bags with books, be sure to stop into the Koslosky Center for a cookie or other sweet treat from Vagabond Blues we recommend their signature cinnamon rolls with a drip coffee made from Alaska roasted beans. Comfort food acquired , and then wander next door through Whimsy’s. It’s a great store for gifts and they have a wonderful children’s section and their Alaskana gear is both stylish and comfy.! Near the back of the building is Active Soles, our local shoe shop. The staff can hook you up with comfortable shoes for just about every occasion. This is especially important if you need new hiking shoes to get out on one of these great, local hikes. Wandering farther west, stop into Cobb Street Market for a fun and funky mix of local art, stickers, and a wide variety of other items.
Stop 3: Lunch
If you’re hungry, head East from Cobb Street to Turkey Red. Alex and her staff have a knack for creating amazing dishes with a mediterranean twist. She uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible and their desserts are out of this world! The chocolate torte with lemon crust is to-die-for after a delicious lunch, we recommend the Bald Bill named after local legend Bill Tull.
Stop 4: Uptown
Making your way to the north end of town, or uptown Palmer, as the business owners in the area refer to it, you can find a flower shop, a bike and ski shop, nail salon, hair salon, music store, and more! You’ll be able to walk on great sidewalks and have mountain views to the north and east.
At the corner of the Old Glenn Highway and South Valley Way, you’ll come to a building that houses one of the newest boutiques in town: Poppy Lane Mercantile. This shop houses a bunch of different local vendors all under one roof.! You’ll find apparel, home decor, snacks, coffee, jewelry, art, and so much more. Inventory is constantly changing, so pop in often to see new offerings. This is a good stop for getting that special gift for your family back home and get a little something for yourself After perusing Poppy Lane, be sure to stop in at 203 Kombucha right next door for a cup of kombucha and some avocado toast. Our favorite is the Rhubarb Rooibos.
Moving farther south in Palmer, you can stroll on the bike path from 203 Kombucha toward the Palmer train depot. During the summer months you’ll see vegetables growing in large concrete planters along the bike path. This is Grow Palmer, an edible garden that has planters all over town. Feel free to pick a few things as you walk along these gardens.
Stop 5: Historic District
If you’re looking for a wonderful assortment of vintage Alaskana items and other Palmer history, make sure you stop into Alaska Picker at 562 S Denali Street. Kelly and his team have an amazing shop that is essentially a museum for Palmer and Alaska! If you get thirsty from all that picking, there are two breweries within an arms throw from Alaska Picker: Bleeding Heart Brewery and the Matanuska Brewing Company, both have their own styles and lots of beer to choose from. They have tasting flights that will give you a chance to explore why Palmer has become the next great microbrewry site in Alaska. This will bring you back to where you parked. Before getting back in your car, take a second to relax in the Visitor Center Garden where garden lovers can get a look at all the beautiful plants that grow in the region, including an alpine rock garden, vegetable garden, and perennial garden.
There is a lot to do for one day of shopping in Palmer, so maybe get yourself a room for the evening, there are a lot of cute little b&bs in town, rest your feet, and head out the next morning to see the rest. If you’re looking for more information on anything in particular, please stop into the Chamber of Commerce, we’d love to help you find exactly what you’re looking for and we love talking about our little town!
About the author: Ailis Vann is a lifelong resident of the State of Alaska, and a 13 year resident of Palmer. She is the Executive Director of the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce and owns two businesses in Palmer. She lives downtown and enjoys walking through town and chatting with store owners, citizens, and visitors.