Best Blend of Art and Retail

Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market
716 Monroe St. NE
Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
It’s not uncommon in these development-heavy times for the “arts” moniker to be slapped on apartments or shops in the hopes of projecting a hipper vibe. The Arts Walk at Monroe Street Market doesn’t just talk the talk, it actually walks the arts walk. Just about every artistic discipline is recognized here, from ceramics to oil painting to marble sculpture to leatherworking. Though there are a few dedicated shops and places to grab a bite, the majority of the spaces along the walk are versatile studios that serve as both workspaces and storefronts. This gives you the opportunity not only to take home a goodie, like a new leather clutch, but also to see how the sausage gets made. There are also some niche curiosities, like the American Poetry Museum, the Center for Byzantine Material Arts, and a band instrument repair shop. The best times to swing through are Thursdays, which feature live music and many open studios, and Saturdays April through December, when the farmers market is up and running.