A beginner's guide to Lyndale: Where to window shop

By Zena Hardt

Even brand-new Macalester students have heard of Uptown, but its wonderful nearby neighbor, Lynlake, remains unfamiliar even to students quite familiar with the Twin Cities.Here’s a selection of Lynlake businesses to check out.

I didn’t get to explore everything: in particular, I wish I could have stopped at one of the attractive tapas bars.

Take this guide as a starting point, get out there and have some fun!

Businesses are listed in the order in which I visited them, beginning just by the bus stop.

A piece of advice: wear proper shoes to explore Lynlake safely and without pain. A lot of sidewalk is currently missing due to road construction, so a plethora of sharp rocks are pound to create discomfort among the flip-flop-shod.

Heavenly Soles

615 W. Lake St.

Heavenly Soles stocks an amazing selection of men’s and women’s footwear ranging from classic to crazy.

Other wearable offerings include a variety of men’s and women’s bags, jewelry, watches, hosiery, a few graphic t-shirts and “100% Magic Boxer Shorts.” (They start out a little bigger than tin of Altoids, but put them in water for a few minutes et voil ! Life-sized boxers!)

Also for sale are some nice scented products, such as Miso Pretty “Splendid Berries,” and Demeter Holy Water and Cannabis Flower fragrances.

Alongside fragrances are stationery of all sorts and clever and unique toys.

Numerous fabulous items were difficult to categorize.

Basically, I could have spent hours in there.

Visit Heavenly Soles the next time you need to get someone a present and have no ideas. You’ll be sure to find something interesting in any price range.

Smitten Kitten

3010 Lyndale Ave. S.

A self-proclaimed “progressive adult sex toys and equipment retailer” and “exemplary model of feminist entrepreneurship,” the Smitten Kitten is not your average sex shop.

Organized and well-lit, the boutique exudes both a classy and playful vibe.

Smitten Kitten carries a variety of toys, fictional and informational books and DVDs, massage oils, position enhancers, BDSM accessories (most notably, a big, pink, rabbit fur “flogger”) and more.

Visit them this Sunday at 6:00 p.m. to join the authors of the acclaimed book I Love Female Orgasm in discussion.

DreamHaven Books

912 W. Lake St.

This store’s exterior gave me the impression that it was a haven only for the intense science fiction or fantasy fan, which is not my scene. Luckily, its labyrinthine shelves and tables felt surprisingly cozy and cater to numerous interest groups.

Stop in for old horror movie posters, new and used comic books/graphic novels of absolutely any kind (manga to Archie, sci-fi to Tintin and yes, “adult”), limited edition action figures, new and used sci-fi and fantasy novels, and art books.

DreamHaven purchases items from individuals and trades as well.

Venus

909 W. Lake St.

If you are hunting for Halloween costumes that will cover as little skin as possible but marginally resemble clothing more than underwear, visit Venus.

I didn’t drag my companions inside, but from what I saw beyond the skimpily-clad mannequins in the front windows, it is largely a lingerie boutique, and a fairly eclectic one at that.

Corner Store

900 W. Lake St.

With wood-dominated dcor and formidable collection of leather jackets and cowboy boots, Corner Store has a country-western feel.

Most of the items for sale do not fit this theme, however, and it’s a gem for the patient shopper with an affinity for vintage

In just a brief visit, I noticed numerous adorable ’60s-ish handbags, pumps and jewelry as well as some quirky skinny ties and plaid pea coats. I’m sure that time and effort would have yielded great dress or suit finds as well.

Uptown Video

(Formerly called Panorama Video)

818 W. Lake St.

It may not be feasible or worth it to check out and return videos here regularly, but if you find yourself in the area, the $1 DVD bin at Uptown Video is worth a look.

I hadn’t heard of any of the titles in it, but ended up buying “Cry of the Penguins” just because. (According to the blurb, it’s a 1971 film about a womanizing young biologist who becomes a better person after living with penguins. What’s not to love, especially for just $1?)

Don’t expect speedy service here. I waited at the desk for at least five minutes wondering aloud where the salesclerk was before he finally emerged from the little room of 18+ films.

Tatters

2928 Lyndale Ave. S.

From sand goggles to brightly-colored suspenders, this expansive (by Lynlake standards) apparel store contains a gloriously diverse array of wearables.

Tatters is ideal for those looking to spruce up their wardrobes with some punchy pieces or to just have enjoy trying on wacky things.

The delectable mix of vintage and new items begged a long visit, but unfortunately, I had a bus to catch.