2013: North shopping 

Finding llama wool, gourmet cakes and everything in between

Colorado Springs North Side

Whether you're a do-it-till-you-drop type, or a get-in-and-get-out type, you'll find north-side sites to satisfy your personal definition of the word "shopping."

If you like the consistency of the national chains as well as having a number of shops in one location, maybe one of the north-end shopping centers is for you. University Village Colorado (5230 N. Nevada Ave., uvcshopping.com) is the newest of these. UVC hosts such popular retail stores as Costco, Kohl's and Lowe's. Hidden in there, also, is XS Threadz (5102 N. Nevada Ave., #160, xsthreadz.com), a locally owned gem where you can sell your old clothes and buy new-to-you stuff. If you need a second opinion, ask Madeline the Yorkie — she'll help.

For a more traditional indoor experience, the Chapel Hills Mall (1710 Briargate Blvd., chapelhillsmall.com) is under new ownership and is being renovated with an awesome new cinema complex. Expect the usual sorts of shops, with Macy's, Dillard's, JC Penney, Sears and Dick's Sporting Goods as anchors.

Further north are the Promenade Shops at Briargate (1885 Briargate Pkwy., thepromenadeshopsatbriargate.com). They're a little more upscale, with the Apple Store, Sephora and Pottery Barn featured prominently.

If you're feeling edgy or outright erotic, stop by Christal's (3737 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., loverspackage.com/t-christals.aspx). In addition to getups that'll make you look twice, they carry other things for your romantic moments.

If your taste is more pragmatic, a trip to Goodwill Retail Center (1070 Kelly Johnson Blvd., discovermygoodwill.org) will yield you gobs of secondhand clothes (and quality used books, just FYI). Also, the Arc Thrift Store (7207 N. Academy Blvd., arcthrift.com) has a huge selection of used items for discriminating tastes. Lots of the high-end brands sold at the Shops at Briargate end up on these two stores' racks.

Bargains on outdoors items can be had in a few places, too. Monthly, REI (1376 E. Woodmen Road, rei.com) offers used gear sales for members. GoLite (7160 N. Academy Blvd., golite.com), a Certified B Corporation out of Boulder, sells high-performance, lightweight clothes and accessories, usually at lower prices on site than you'll find online. Check before you go though, as the Academy Boulevard location is moving to a new space at the Shops at Briargate this spring.

Fulfill your need to run, jump and play with some cross-trainers from the Boulder Running Company (3659 Austin Bluffs Pkwy., boulderrunningcompany.com), or head to Palmer Lake's new Cornerstone Multisport store (84-4 Hwy. 105, cornerstonemultisport.com), which caters to triathletes throughout the Front Range. If you prefer to stick to a bike, hit up Cafe Velo (11550 Ridgeline Drive., #102, cafevelobikes.com) for high-end road, tri and endurance MTBs.

Two other textile-slingers defy further categorization. Table Rock Llamas Fiber Arts Studio and the DyeWorks (6520 Shoup Road, tablerockllamas.com) carries skeins of both standard and unusual fibers like llama and buffalo. Sign up for some classes, and soon you'll be snuggled up in your hand-made blanket.

And new to Monument is Big R (840 Spanish Bit Drive, bigronline.com). In addition to ranch supplies, you'll find farm and ranch clothing and accessories, sporting goods, and a huge selection of cowboy boots and Ropers. Yeehaw!

Print and paint

Books and more books: From the big-box Barnes & Noble store (1565 Briargate Blvd., bn.com) to the humble $2 Buck Books (5172 N. Academy Blvd., 260-4453), you can pretty much find anything you're looking for in the way of printed material. If your tastes run more toward gaming, graphic novels and fantasy, try Heroes & Dragons (5751 N. Academy Blvd., 388-9524). Other outlets are The Book Rack (4335 N. Academy Blvd., 593-9463) and Monument's Covered Treasures (105 Second Street, coveredtreasures.com).

Speaking of Monument, here are a couple of places to wander off to while you're there. HiCountry Homebrew & Gifts (243 N. Washington St., hicountryhomebrew.com) peddles classes and supplies for home beer-making, and by late summer, it will add a full-scale winery and café called Catriona Cellars.

Also in Monument, you'll find the Love Shop (251 Front St., loveshopinc.com). Inside, lavender and cinnamon fill the air and country-themed merchandise is the standard. Also at that address is The Bead Corner (beadcorneronline.com), for your jewelry-making needs. Just up the street is Frog on a Limb Primitives (341 Front St., frogonalimb.com), where you can load up on socially aware, locally made gifts and décor.

Margo's on the Alley (253 Washington St., margosonthealley.com) stocks items for "you and your home." And on Second Street is Shades of Amber (125 Second St., shadesofamber.net), the place to re-finish that old piece of furniture or other house project requiring paint. Try chalk paint! It's a perfect French-market accent.

Family in mind

Now, on to the family stuff. If you've got a little one, you have to visit Toy Station at School Crossing (5540 Library Lane, eschoolcrossing.com). It's inconceivable, how much this place packs in. The School Crossing complex has toys, gifts, teaching and learning aids, and a sweets shop with light meal selections and ice cream. More of the latter, as well as free Wii and board gaming, can also be found at the uber-cute Squeak Soda Shop (812 Village Center Drive, squeaksodashop.com).

Ice cream brings us, of course, to cake, and if a fresh-baked gourmet one sounds good, give Chef Sugar's Cakes & Confections (6942 N. Academy Blvd., chefsugar.com) a spin. You can order a custom cake from a huge assortment of flavors, or bake your own with classes on making and decorating.

If you hunger for healthy eating, parade through the aisles of Whole Foods Market (7635 N. Academy Blvd., wholefoodsmarket.com). Get a pre-made meal to go, or take home some groceries and supplements. Locavores make out at Sprouts (1730 Dublin Blvd., sprouts.com), which stocks its shelves and coolers with as much seasonal stuff from around the Front Range as possible.

Another healthy alternative to the big supermarkets is Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage (7690 N. Academy Blvd. and 655 W. Hwy. 105, Monument, naturalgrocers.com). Not quite as big on grocery items as the other two here, it does stock myriad supplements and remedies, and the staff at both locations is highly knowledgeable.

Finally, onto that four-legged member of your family: Consider taking him or her out for a shampoo and blow dry at perennial Best Of winner Wag N' Wash (1234 E. Woodmen Road, wagnwash.com). Pick up a fresh-baked puppy treat from the case toward the back, then stop and pet the cat on the way out.


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