Shopping in Nantucket

The island of Nantucket, Massachusetts is an idyllic haven located just an hour’s ferry ride from the mainland when departing from Hyannis, Massachusetts. The island has a strict building code that ensures buildings are kept under a certain height and only of certain colors. This gives the island a colonial, upscale look that is wonderful for meandering through. It’s also great for shopping. Within these muted, elegant buildings of downtown Nantucket are some great boutiques. Fashion, jewelry, and the “Nantucket Reds”…it’s all found within the small downtown area of Nantucket, which for those coming in on a ferry is just a few blocks away from the harbor. Many of the shops can be found on Main Street and Center Street.

  • Murray’s Toggery Shop: The owner of this store is the granddaughter of the women who created the iconic “Nantucket Reds” clothing line. The color is instantly recognizable to those who are well acquainted with Nantucket and there is a line for both men and women consisting of everything from pants to shirts to hats – all in a color the hue of the red bricks seen on some of the buildings of Nantucket. In addition the Nantucket Reds collection, the store also sells other fashionable outfits and accessories for women and men.

Address: 62 Main Street

Phone: 800-368-2134

  •  Vis-A-Vis: You’ll find jewelry galore in this store that also sells clothing and eclectic items for the home. You’ll find all sorts of colorful jewelry that looks like one of a kind.

Address: 34 Main Street

Phone: 508-228-5527

  •  Ralph LaurenThis is one of the only chains allowed on the island (along with a love for gray buildings, the island also has a strong disdain for chain stores). Ralph Lauren got a pass, it seems, simply because it is so Nantucket-y – understated elements of posh in polo shirts and colorful khakis.

Address: 16 Main Street

Phone: 508-228-9451

  • Center Street: Head to this appropriately named street located in the middle of downtown Nantucket for some high-class shopping. Nicknamed “Petticoat Row” because of the number of women entrepreneurs who have stores on the street, Center Street makes a good place for shopaholic’s to hang out for the day with its numerous shoe and clothing stores selling the epitome of current east coast chic.

Fashionista’s will love shopping on the island of Nantucket. You’ll want to leave room in your suitcase (or bring an extra one) to ensure you can shop ‘til you drop. If in addition to the clothing, jewelry, and shoes you shove into your suitcase, keep room for one more fashionable item; during summer in Nantucket, vacationers and summer residents are often seen carrying a basket instead of a purse. This basket is called the Nantucket Lightship Basket and gets its name from sailors who used to make them to keep busy while on boats off the shore that served as a lighthouse for incoming boats.

Nantucket Lightship Baskets are woven out of straw-colored material – often rattan for the most authentic baskets – and look like an elegant picnic box. Necklaces shaped like the baskets are also a popular souvenir and can be found in most souvenir and jewelry stores on the island. Both the Nantucket Lighthouse Baskets and necklaces range greatly in price depending on quality and authenticity.

In addition to fashion, downtown Nantucket has many art galleries, furniture stores, and souvenir shops you can browse through. A day of shopping also means you’ll need to refuel at some point, and Nantucket has no shortage of award-winning, first-class restaurants to choose from. During your day browsing and eating in downtown Nantucket, just don’t forget about the gorgeous beaches nearby!

Gina Tarnacki is a freelance writer, online marketing professional and avid traveler. When she's not busy finding a creative way to squeeze in a few more vacation days so she and her husband can explore the world together, she writes about balancing travel with a career and relationship at One Day in a City.


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