Retail therapy is a very real thing. Sometimes when we are feeling down, lethargic, tired, or merely bored, shopping can provide a great distraction and a sense of freedom. While it certainly doesn’t help your bank account, it will undoubtedly reinvigorate your day. One of my favorite places to shop is on Reykjavik’s famous shopping street: Laugavegur. This thoroughfare in Reykjavik is filled to the brim with quaint and exciting stores in which you could spend hours getting lost finding the perfect garment, gift, or music album. Here are some of my favorite stores to shop at off on Laugavegur street in Reykjavik.
Visit Sputnik to find that Vintage Flavor
Have you heard? Its been all over the news. Vintage is very “in” right now. Just kidding, when are vintage garments not fashionable. Located at 28b Laugavegur street, Spuutnik has been Reyjkavik’s premier vintage store for close to 25 years, and for a good reason. This place has everything you need to set your wardrobe apart from everyone else’s.
Looking for a big furry coat a-la Penny Lane from the movie Almost Famous? They probably have it. Need a pair of trendy high-waisted denim jeans to channel your inner 90s kid? They definitely have them. The point I am trying to make is that they have everything that your little fashionista heart could desire. In the last few years their prices have been steadily climbing, but can you really put a price on looking good. I know I can’t.
Verslun Gudsteins Eyjolfssonar
Gentlemen, do you fear your wardrobe is lacking? Are you still rocking that University licensed t-shirt with the ramen noodle stains? If this applies to you, I have a pro-tip for you: step up your wardrobe. The ladies in your life will take notice, so will everyone else around you. Sometimes a guy’s wardrobe needs some fresh blood, and Verslun Gudsteins Eyjolfssonar sure can help.
While their prices aren’t exactly cheap, their clothes are worth every penny. The store is family run and operated, and has been since its inception around the turn of the 20th century. In 1929, they moved the store to Reykjavik and have never looked back. This family business sources and crafts some of the best materials on this side of Milan for their garments. While the prices aren’t exactly low, they try to keep them as fair as possible. But this raises the question: can you put an amount on looking good? Say no, and head to 34 Laugavegur street. You will enter a boy, and leave a sharply dressed man who could rival Don Draper.
What about the rest of us who are already sharply dressed, on-trend, and have mounting credit card debt from the impressive clothing collection we have cultivated over the years? Um, by the way, definitely not speaking about myself. Wink wink, cough, cough. If music and gifts are more your thing, then head down to Smekkleysa on 35 Laugavegur street.
Smekkleysa’s is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, as they are a bastion of music and art from the alternative culture. Even if that isn’t your style, you should still check out their store. It’s quite an experience. Translating into English as “Bad Taste”, this shop has tons of hidden gems and an incredible history associated with the store. Check out their official website to see their manifesto and their close relationship with Icelandic superstar Björk.
Mal og Menning
I have been told that I am somewhat of a bookworm, so what would this list be without my favorite bookstore in all of Iceland: Mal og Menning. This shop and cafe combo has been continuously running since 1940, so it is safe to say that they know what they are doing when it comes to running a successful bookstore. Especially since Iceland is one of the most well-read nations in the world. Did you know that in Iceland one out of twelve inhabitants will publish something in their lifetime? Crazy right?
Mal og Menning has an eclectic collection of both domestic and international titles, and you can find some fascinating written works there. If you still don’t believe me, the store was ranked one of the top 12 bookstores in the world. The world as a whole. The whole thing. You can do way worse than that. Stop in, find an interesting book, and then head upstairs to the cafe to crack open some pages while you escape the hustle and bustle of the streets below.
The last official store on my quick list is for all the gamers in the world. Video games have become ubiquitous in our society. It seems like every other post on social media is a post about the game Fortnite. I don’t understand it, I don’t get it, but I do know that the game is causing people around the world to do silly dances. And that, I can support that. So this one is for you guys, dance right into Geisladiskabud Valda and you won’t regret it.
Opened in 1998, these have a seemingly bottomless bag of visual media goodies! Looking for an obscure show that ran for two seasons? They probably have it. Looking for a VHS copy of your favorite childhood movie? They’ve probably got it somewhere. The store is filled with stacks upon stacks of DVDs, CDs, VHS, cassettes, video games, vinyl, and much much more. This is the perfect place to get yourself an exciting souvenir from Iceland, and maybe the perfect gift for a friend.
Laugavegur Street Shopping in Reykjavik
Iceland is known for its natural beauty. Heck, we remind people to death about it. Every once in a while though, we as humans just need creature comforts. Sometimes hiking just doesn’t sound as appealing as finding that perfect vintage jacket, or hunting down an obscure movie you have always wanted to own. If you need a break from the great outdoors and want to do some retail therapy head to Laugavegur street and apologize in advance to your savings account. Happy hunting!
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