Capitol Hill is a neighborhood in Seattle that I used to hang out in all the time during the early 90s, but for some reason never went back to since. I don’t really shop much when I go on vacation and I never rarely seek out stores when I visit other cities, but this year stopping by Totokaelo was at the top of my list. If there was ever one store that described my aesthetic and housed all the things that I loved, this store would probably be it. Now mind you, I’ve never actually bought anything from their website (most things are out of my price range, sadly) and I walked out of the store on our visit empty handed, but I loved everything there – from all the clothes to the textiles, to the shoes (!!) and even seeing the bubble chandeliers of my friend, Lindsey Adelman, hanging from their ceiling. It’s a stunning store.
Next to Totokaelo is Oddfellows Cafe located in the 100 year old Oddfellows Building. Comfort food is served in this beautiful, spacious space with soaring ceilings, and the interior, which includes an awesomely vintage American flag right in the entryway, is pretty much perfect. Our next stop after lunch was Elliot Bay Books right down the street on the same block. Maybe some of you might be familiar with the book store in the olden days when they were located in Pioneer Square, but Elliot Bay Books was always a destination stop when we would come up to Seattle, you know, in the days when bookstores were the only place to buy books (remember that?). They have since relocated to Capitol Hill in 2010.
With a park and playground nearby and other shops like Everyday Music across the street, this little strip of Capitol Hill is a great place to spend the day. What’s interesting about this neighborhood is that it has a slightly different feel than other Seattle neighborhoods. I don’t know if it’s because it seems more gritty or more urban, but it feels more like…NY than any other neighborhood in the city.
PS. Here’s an interesting article about the history of the Oddfellows Building.