Spotlight on Galleria: Shops of Distinction

When I was in my 20s, I moved to Oregon for a year. I fell in love with the mountains and the ocean; the microbrews (Bridgeport!) and the friendly, welcoming people, but returned to Minnesota because this state will always be home to me.

About a year after I returned, one of my good Oregon-born and bred friends traveled to Minnesota to visit me. I had never entertained a native Oregonian on my stomping grounds before. How could I give her the best (brief) impression of Minnesota? What should we do? Where should we go?

Our agenda wound up including time in downtown Stillwater, a quick drive across the river into Wisconsin (she wanted to buy some Wisconsin cheese), a nice dinner on Grand Avenue (followed by a slow drive down Summit to admire the mansions, Cathedral, and State Capitol), and because Morgan loves to shop, we went to the Mall of America (the almighty “megamall”), and Galleria on 69th and France in Edina.

Unlike the massive MOA (which I would recommend to any out-of-state visitor just to experience the sheer volume of the place) Galleria is more condensed, more navigable, more relaxed, more sophisticated. It’s a pretty, classy mall filled with pretty, classy things. It’s perfect for serious shopping or simple window-browsing.

“I am seriously so in love with this place,” Morgan announced. “They have everything here.”

At Galleria—which began nearly 40 years ago by adding 25 area merchants to the existing Gabberts Furniture and Design Studio—there are specialized boutiques and designer stores that you can’t find in just any mall. It’s not about mass-production; it’s about quality. There’s Ampersand, dugo, Melly, Trail Mark, Fawbush’s, H.O.B.O, Twill by Scott Dayton, Scheherazade, Whymsy, Tumi, Tiffany & Co., BCBG, Coach, Epitome, Len Druskin, Louis Vitton, Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Bar, Restoration Hardware, Barnes & Noble, five restaurants, and so much more.

The next time Morgan comes to town, I think I’ll reserve a room at the luxurious Westin Edina Galleria hotel, conveniently connected to Galleria, so that we can shop, have a few glasses of wine with dinner, then head back to our room without ever having to brave the elements outside.

I say that’s a win-win for everyone.