In the 4- or 5-square-block area that is downtown Hayward, you won't find a single chain store. This is the place to find unique items, from stuffed bears to vintage tin signs to great antique furniture.
Legends of the Celts (10556 Main St.): Here you can find everything Irish and then some! Legends has traditional jewelry, capes, blankets, weapons, and an entire room devoted to Guinness beer items. Check out their website for an idea.
Miracle on Main Christmas Store (10558 Main St.): This year, Miracle on Main seems to have strayed away from Christmas items and into other collectibles. You can still find a good selection of ornaments, and now more candles and Halloween items.
The Pavilion/Wine Cave (10551 Main St.): A very interesting kitchen and home store. Art prints, dishes, candles, chests, and many one-of-a-kind items are located here. Last year, the Wine Cave opened downstairs, and it is fantastic! There are hundreds of wines, plus tastings on Fridays, all in a Medieval-style basement.
Art Beat (15845 W. 2nd St.): Many local artists sell their items here. There are tons of paintings and prints, plus sculptures and pottery. Art Beat also does custom framing and classes. Check out their A href="http://www.artbeatofhayward.com"> website for items.
Hayward Bakery and Cheese (10565 Main St.): Just like it sounds - cheese and yummy food! This is the place to go to get cheese curds, and they have great ice cream, too.
Tremblay's Sweet Shop (10569 Main St.): Nothing will tempt your sweet tooth more than peeking into the windows. Fudge, taffy, rock candy, and other goodies fill barrels all around this red-and-white shop. Try a free sample and you'll be hooked!
Truly Wisconsin (10529 Dakota Ave.): Northwoods furniture is the specialty here, but I go for the candles and locally made jam. They also carry syrups, soup mixes, and apple cider. Visit the Truly Wisconsin website to get a glimpse inside.
Curiosity Shop (10564 Main St.): Vintage memorabilia takes over the shelves at this tiny shop. Lunchboxes, music boxes, sculptures, tin signs, and more are all delicately perched inside. A collector's dream!
Of course, if you head out to Highway 63, there are many more shops to be scavenged. These are just some of the best in downtown. Happy shopping!