Pearl of the Winter

Anyone who dreads the mall and suffers panic attacks over hard-to-shop-for friends and relatives could benefit from a stroll down Old South Pearl Street this time of year. The strip may be best known for its restaurants, but it's also a 100-year-old shopping district lined with unique gift finds: clothes, jewelry, home accessories, books, bikes, fine art, antiques, toys, pet supplies, cards….

Tonight, stores stay open until 9 p.m. as part of WinterFest, a celebration with free carriage rides, roasted chestnuts and hot chocolate and cider. The fun continues from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow with an open-air market complete with Christmas trees, garland, mistletoe and wreaths for sale. "It just kind of gives you that old-world, warm holiday feel," says market manager Nicole Jarman. "We're bringing a lot of our farmers' market vendors back, so there will be a lot of ready-to-eat food and good holiday gifts and hostess gifts."

The shopping district runs from Buchtel to Evans. For information, visit
Fri., Dec. 7, 5-9 p.m.; Sat., Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., Dec. 9, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 2007

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Jessica Centers