I normally don’t like shopping malls – they stress me out, quite frankly. But I get the convenience of having a larger number of stores and restaurants in one place, and some of them also have local stores that you won’t find anywhere else, or would have to venture to several locations around the city to be able to visit. Luckily, there is one place in Seattle that doesn’t set off my mall-claustrophobia: Seattle’s only outdoor shopping center University Village.
Located near the UW campus just 10 minutes by car from downtown (also accessible via the link light rail), the tasteful U-village offers a unique mix of 120 locally-owned boutiques, signature national retailers, restaurants and eateries.
U-village has the usual fashion and home-furnishing retailers like Banana Republic, Eileen Fisher, Crate & Barrel, lululemon athletica, Nike, and Williams Sonoma, as well as the ubiquitous Apple store, a Microsoft ditto, and Amazon’s first brick-and-mortar bookstore. But you’ll also find 40-ish locally-owned boutiques like glassybaby (see my article), the women’s running apparel store oiselle, and the beautiful plant and home décor store Ravenna Gardens, as well as local treats like Molly Moon’s ice cream (see my article), Fran’s Chocolates, and Rachel’s Ginger beer (see Munya Souaiaia’s two articles on these).
University Village is not only a shopping mecca, but also gives back to the community, e.g. as anchor sponsor of Obliteride, a fundraising bike ride to benefit Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. It’s a great shopping destination for the whole family.