An influx of design and home furnishings shops and restaurants has infused once quiet Madison Valley with an energy all its own. A stretch of shops filled with gifts, home accents, and garden gear, it shoulders up to Washington Park Arboretum, whose seasonal displays are the perfect antidote to the winter blues.
Madison Valley is east of Seattle's downtown and the Capitol Hill neighborhood. The business district runs along E. Madison St. from about 23rd Ave. E. to 32nd Ave. E.
City People's Garden Store. A nursery with houseplants (look for long-lasting potted orchids this month) plus an irresistible gift shop. Info: 2939 E. Madison St.; 206/324-0737.
Oh Chocolate. Family-run for 20 years, this chocolate shop features addictively rich European hot chocolate and more than 50 kinds of hand-dipped truffles, caramels, and toffees. Info: Mon-Sat; 3131 E. Madison St.; 206/329-8777.
Veritables. Home accents and gifts from vintage vases to contemporary tea sets to jewelry and leather goods. Info: 2816 E. Madison St.; 206/726-8047.