You can't take home the whole candy-colored store at K Banana, but you can come close.

Free of Abercrombie & Fitch models and the omnipresent whiff of Cinnabon, University Village is the kind of mall all other malls aspire to be: an inspired mix of local boutiques and big chains, breezy outdoor walkways and ample public shared spaces, plenty of amazing food options and nary a Sbarro in sight. Where else can you get a Peloton, a Tesla, and blood test all in one location?

And while we've been known to head to the north Seattle destination to peruse the sale racks at Anthropologie or try out the sofas in Room and Board's showroom, we've narrowed this list to highlight local shops and trendy chains with few Pacific Northwest locations. 

As always in these weird Covid times, check in with U Village or individual stores for hours and safety protocols before visiting.

K Banana

Bathed in the color palette of a Saved by the Bell episode, this Korean beauty store has everything you never knew your skin needed. Don't miss the wall of 100+ face masks—and always choose the snail slime.

Frog Legs

Though it's a cooking school first and foremost, the sleeper hit here is the small but mighty party goods selection, full of sparkles and rainbows and unicorns. Dare we say it's even more charming and whimsical than Paper Source?

Away

One of U Village's most recent additions is this travel brand, whose smartly designed signature suit case (with a built-in charger) became an Internet sensation.

Reformation

This California-based clothing company opened its first Pacific Northwest store in March, plying the trend-driven shopping set with the highest rise jeans and shortest floral sundresses.

Ravenna Gardens is always in bloom.

Ravenna Gardens

A U Village stalwart, this beloved gardening store stocks everything you need for growing beautiful plants indoors or out; don't hesitate to ask questions, as the green-thumbed staff is indispensable.

Oiselle

Though Lululemon has the larger store, the flagship location of this local fitness apparel company holds its own, with stylish leggings, sports bras aplenty, and all-weather accessories.

Cotopaxi

If you've been looking for something more colorful than the North Face and less plaid than Eddie Bauer, try this newcomer—an outdoor retailer with a philanthropic mission.

Everything But Water

Seattle weather may scream more "wetsuit" than "swimsuit," but this swimwear-only shop gets the last laugh when you're hunting for a new two-piece before that essential February Hawaii trip.

Village Maternity

Even if you're not currently pregnant or pushing a wee babe in a fancy stroller—which puts you in the minority during weekday shopping hours here—this is a solid place to keep in your back pocket for when you need to find the perfect baby gift.

Sunny days were made for mall-walking.

Fireworks

Jewelry! Socks! Stuffies! Home goods! The comprehensive selection at this local empire of gift stores—there's even a Sea-Tac airport location—literally has it all.

Twist

Whether you're looking to spend big or simply looking for U Village's best window-shopping option, this stunning jewelry gallery stocks high-end, high-fashion statement pieces from internationally renowned artists.

Sole Food

We're not saying you should never pay full price for the gorgeous sandals, booties, and all manner of excellent shoes here, but we are saying they hold some epic sales you'll want to keep an eye out for.

Glassybaby

If you've never heard of this local hand-blown glass company, what rock have you been living under exactly? These easily identifiable colorful votives are pricey, but collectors will say they're absolutely worth it.

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