Since its Grand Opening on August 30, 1956, University Village has continually undergone significant changes. It was first a hub of local stores, including Rhodes Department Store, Ernst Hardware and a nearby roller rink, which then became a bowling alley. It is now a premiere shopping destination in the Seattle area.
UVillage, as it is called by Seattleites, has always updated and changed with the times and tastes of shoppers while staying true to its original blueprint, combining local retailers with national stores. Its out-of-doors setting makes it one of my favorite shopping spots. One can stroll outside between stores, pick up fresh pasta at local favorite Pasta & Co., peruse the gleaming rainbow of GlassyBaby, buy flowers at Ravenna Gardens, eat kaiten-zushi at Blue C Sushi, check out the latest fashion collaboration at H&M, geek out at the Apple store or Microsoft store, make pottery at Paint the Town, or watch big screen sports at The Ram. Whether you need a gift, a great meal or a visit to see Santa, University Village really does have it all.
Last weekend Vanguard Seattle Editor Sarah Caples, photographer Alexcia DeVasquez and I were invited to view the latest addition to University Village. It boasts a bevy of new retailers and restaurants skirted by a signature sidewalk—and they added a parking garage with 700 spots, so you can find a place with ease. The eateries include Bellevue’s Din Tai Fung—otherwise known as “dumpling heaven”—in their first and much anticipated Seattle location. Three new retail stores that were included in our tour continue University Village’s tradition of quality and originality: Calypso St. Bart, Scotch & Soda and Hot Mama. Here is a brief synopsis of these three stores for your shopping pleasure.
No, this is not a maternity store. It is a place to find on trend, cool clothes that are perfect for the modern mama’s lifestyle: statement jewelry, chic party dresses, plenty from top labels, including 7 for All Mankind, AG and Splendid. This is fun and easy fashion. The helpful staff is trained to assess your body type and help you get gorgeous head to toe, in what they like to call, “sophisticated preppy.” I call it the perfect place to find stylish clothes that will more than motivate you to get out of your workout wear.
Check out Hot Mama online
Scotch & Soda
Scotch & Soda has been rocking it since the 1980s with their distinct Amsterdam Couture. It began as a menswear line and now includes a women’s line, Maison Scotch, and two children’s collections: Scotch Shrunk for boys and R’Belle for girls. The line boasts its own denim line and is filled with clothing that is rich in color and has an artistic feel—colored faux fur coats, leather elbow patches on sweaters, cool graphics and funky street style pieces. Scotch & Soda has a rock and roll feel with the appeal of originality and the beauty of great details. Great leather goods and fabulous jewelry pieces as well.
Check out Scotch & Soda online.
Calypso St. Barth
Calypso St. Barth has a light and open space with the feel of a beautifully organized closet. The store is structured by color, so if you come in looking for a cream sweater, you can head straight to that section and peruse the cream and white pieces. Same goes with grey, black, eggplant, brown and taupe. Sparkling jewelry with semi-precious stones, wide brimmed felt hats, luxurious fur scarves and super soft cashmere sweaters are alongside soft pillows, throws and ottomans that complete the luxury shopping experience. Exquisite winter pieces and resort wear share the light and bright space. It’s the perfect place to find a gift, home décor or something stylish for oneself.
Check out Calypso St. Barth online.
University Village is upscale shopping that combines distinctive local retailers and national stores in a decidedly low-key and lovely way. Once again, it takes a Village to make shopping the perfect experience.