The portion immediately west of Washington Park has quietly become one of the most artful in the city.
1. Cold Spoons Gelato
5924 W. Vliet St.
The long-running gelato and sorbetto shop complements the silky Italian ice cream with its icy, sorbet-like cousin. A dozen flavors of each means there are precisely 14,440 possible combinations for double- and triple-scoop dishes.
5921 W. Vliet St.
Lexically speaking, this restaurant combines “heritage” and “marriage.” Gastronomically, chef and owner Jan Kelly divines fun, but not overpowering, dishes from locally sourced regents, such as Maple Creek pork.
3. Valentine Coffee Roasters
5918 W. Vliet St.
All coffees here are handmade, meaning a barista steeps it specially, and singly, just for you, and starting at a measly $2. You can also expect a globetrotter’s breadth of geographic choices, carefully roasted on site.
4. Times Cinema
5906 W. Vliet St.
A local neighborhood theater and survivor, the Times has known its struggles but helps to anchor the street with Furious fare, affordable dates and Junior Mints.
5. Rainbow Booksellers
5704 W. Vliet St.
This bookstore is kids’ stuff only until it transitions gracefully into an adventurous wall of YA novels and Hunger Games titles. The kind of place you cherished visiting as a kid.
5422 W. Vliet St.
A wealth of upscale gifts and goods constructed from recycled or “upcycled” materials, including candles that smell of leather and freshly cut grass. You might even meet the owner’s dog.
7. Urban Sense
5402 W. Vliet St.
One of the most helpful and professional places in town to acquire a houseplant. Urban Sense also arranges flowers in a “European” style well-suited to the sophisticated wedding or funeral.
8. Four Corners of the World
5401 W. Vliet St.
Selling fair-trade chocolates, Tibetan singing bowls, shawls and other fineries, Four Corners specializes in gifts and household supplies that come with a pre-approved backstory.
9. Roots Underground Outfitters
5328 W. Vliet St.
Clothes, accessories and sneakers with a painted-on, graphic novel, cartoons-filtered-through-a-boom-box aesthetic, spanning both national and local designers.
10. Stella’s Salon & Spa
5050 W. Vliet St.
Performing hair extensions, eyebrow tinting, pedicures, facial treatments and microdermabrasion, Stella’s does all this and more while concealing its luxuries behind one of Vliet’s quieter facades.
11. Himalayan Yoga & Meditation
5000 W. Vliet St.
The Himalayas are a mountain range that includes the region of Tibet, which is rather known for its Buddhist tradition – and this ayurvedic and yoga center draws on all of the above to offer life-improving workshops and classes.
12. Fred’s Frozen Custard
4726 W. Vliet St.
Easy to overlook in a crowded field of custard joints, Fred’s actually makes one of the class’ best burgers: a thin, fresh-tasting patty a cut above those at competing dispensaries.