The best places to buy gifts in Canberra

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The Curatoreum at National Portrait Gallery

The Curatoreum at National Portrait Gallery is one of Canberra’s most recommended places to buy gifts. Photos: National Portrait Gallery.

Need a gift for someone you love or a special occasion, but don’t know where to start? Canberra is blessed with quality gift shops of all styles, with something for every personality. Many of our national cultural institutions have great gift shops too, and they’re not just for tourists.

Some of the capital’s gift shops specialise in locally or Australian made items at a wide range of price points. You’ll discover specialty items for friends and family, gifts for all occasions and holidays, corporate gifts, pressies for pets and items that make you laugh out loud.

If you’re baffled by what to buy for that someone special, take the stress away by shopping right here in Canberra. You’ll be supporting local business and even an Aussie designer or creator.

In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a gift shop, and where to find the best in Canberra.

What makes a great gift shop?

  • Variety. A gift shop with great variety makes it easier to find that perfect present. Search for one-stop-shops that are inspirational and cater to all tastes.
  • Local. While mega department stores carry gifts, it’s wonderful to support your community by shopping at smaller, local gift shops.
  • Price point. You’ll want to search for a shop with quality gifts that suit your budget. Most gift shops in Canberra carry inexpensive to high-end items.
  • Unique. You may want a unique gift that is out-of-the-ordinary and not easily found in your typical department store. If so, you’ll find Canberra gifts shops that specialise in items that stand out.
  • Support. If you’re stuck for an idea, head to a gift shop with experienced staff who know their stock inside and out. Simply tell them who you’re buying for and what you’d like to spend and let them help.

The best gift shops in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

The Curatoreum

Nestled within the National Portrait Gallery, The Curatoreum is a treasure trove of the interesting and unusual. This independent bookshop’s extensive literary range includes biography, history, art, literature, music, children’s picture books and more. Food lovers will adore the delicious selection of cookbooks.

Browse the continually expanding range of unique handcrafted jewellery, art, design, homeware and gift from local and national designers.

Gift vouchers are available and The Curatoreum also sells National Portrait Gallery merchandise. This light-filled store is conveniently located beside The National Portrait Gallery’s café.

On Facebook, Daniel Fox wrote, “Beautiful spaces, quality items, exceptional service! Highly recommend.”

The Museum Shop

The Museum Shop, National Museum of Australia, stocks homewares, glassware, jewellery and clothing, including by Australian producers and designers. It also carries Indigenous products and gifts that will inform and entertain, such as exhibition catalogues, Museum publications, toys, books, jigsaws and boredom busters. Candles, bath and body products are also available.

Ruth O’Brien wrote on Google, “The Museum Shop is a great place to visit in itself, if you’re looking for unique, quality and beautiful gifts and products.”

Lily Cooper

Lily Cooper, at the laneway end of the Style Arcade in Manuka, is a local family-run business specialising in gifts and homewares with something for everyone. This one-stop shop features home décor, pamper products, and accessories such as bags, scarves and jewellery. Loads of special gifts for babies, kids and even pets are also available.

Katrina Morris wrote on Google, “Great range of products and you couldn't ask for better customer service. Highly recommend.”


Located in trendy Braddon, Hive sells well-made goods and products that are beautiful, useful and made to last. Hive takes great care to choose ethical and sustainable products. Its line-up of gifts includes homewares, body care items, gift cards, homewares, jewellery, candles, gifts for plant lovers and treats for furry friends. Fun and whimsical items are included in the mix.

On Google, Klarisse Gayle Ismael-Rodriguez wrote, “Charming store with great finds! lovely staff too.”

POP Canberra

POP Canberra is a one-of-a kind shop celebrating local community . It offers a wide range of items, all designed by a creative and imaginative local. Everything POP Canberra stocks is made with thoughtful intention, and there’s so much to shop for—pottery, artwork, books, candles, kitchenware, jewellery, clothing, local wines and spirits, gourmet food items and more.

On Google, Neena Kolanu wrote, “A lovely one-stop shop for buying local. Saves me running around trying to source gifts individually …”

MoAD Shop

The Museum of Australian Democracy’s Little Corner Shop is a must visit. Quality gifts include books, quirky pins, bags, accessories, clothing and more. Exhibition catalogues are for sale. For the young ones, check out the toys and games. Many gifts are Australian designed and/or made. All sales support MoAD’s work.

On Google, Lachie Hare wrote, “Fantastic museum. Only popped in to have a look and ended up spending almost five hours there.”

If you’re looking for more information on buying gifts in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best gift baskets and hampers, the best florists and the best cake shops Canberra has to offer.

Your experience with gift shops in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the gift shops listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m stuck for a gift. How do I find a gift shop that can help?

Easy. Quality gift shops have experienced staff on hand to guide you in the right direction. These shops carry gift items that suit many tastes and price points.

Where do I go for a unique gift that can’t be found in your typical shopping centre?

The capital is blessed with locally operated gift stores—boutique to spacious. Head to well-known parts of Canberra like Manuka, Kingston, Braddon and Dickson. Also check out cultural institutions since most have quality gift shops. This includes Parliament House, Glassworks, National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Australia and the National Library.

Aren’t gift shops attached to cultural institutions super expensive?

These gift shops carry gifts made by reputable artists that can cost more but they also carry quality gifts at lower price points. The great news is that they don’t just cater to tourists.

I’m looking for a fun but inexpensive gift for a colleague. Where should I go?

Most quality gift shops have a selection of items guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Check out the websites of a few shops for an idea of where to head.

Isn’t it more expensive to buy at a locally run gift shop?

Great local gift shop owners understand it’s smart to inexpensive, quality gifts, right through to gifts that cost much more. And, remember, it’s great to support local.

Join the conversation

All Comments
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justin heywood5:31 pm 06 Apr 14

Madam Cholet said :

In my experience the NGA shop is an absolute rip off. Overpriced rubbish, especially when there is an exhibition on.

Maybe so, but I can never get out of the Portrait Gallery’s store without buying something. Hats off to whoever runs that great little place – an interesting and quirky selection of books and a range of other stuff which would make great gifts.

Madam Cholet4:38 pm 06 Apr 14

Our galleries and museums have lovely gift shops. Try The National Portrait Gallery, NGA, The Glassworks. Lonsdale St has some great little shops too.

In my experience the NGA shop is an absolute rip off. Overpriced rubbish, especially when there is an exhibition on.

Our galleries and museums have lovely gift shops. Try The National Portrait Gallery, NGA, The Glassworks. Lonsdale St has some great little shops too.

The National Museum gift shop is a good option as well. They have a “remainders” section where there are bargains (something you don’t need at a price you can afford).
Things like books for $40 reduced to $5 on the perils of climate change that turned out not to be the best sellers that the publishers hoped they would be.

Holden Caulfield11:28 pm 05 Apr 14

RG Madden, just near the merry-go-round in Civic.

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