When the goal is shopping and the destination is Valley Junction, it’s easy to wonder where the time goes. A row of antiques shops was once the major draw, but now, this award-winning historical district beckons visitors with funky vintage venues, clothing and accessories boutiques, a kitchen specialty store and the Iowa Market, where out-of-towners can snag the perfect Iowa souvenirs to take home.
Creative types will gravitate toward shops catering to quilters and beaders, and a handful of reputable art galleries invite browsing. After you’ve worked up an appetite, options for lunch include bar food, Mexican fare, a neighborhood pizza-pasta joint, soup, sandwiches and a coffee shop. For dessert anytime, Carefree Patisserie bakes fresh cupcakes in nearly a dozen rotating weekly flavors.
Stores stay open late for gallery nights several times a year, and the streets bustle during the Thursday farmers market and frequent art fairs during warm months. The one-way main street offers free storefront parking (overflow space is available behind the stores). Most of the businesses keep regular retail hours, with some closed on Sundays.