The Best Shopping in Seattle

Seattle offers specialty and independent stores to suit every interest. Belltown has high-end salons and galleries, Ballard has stylish vintage apparel, Fremont has everything hippie-ish and New Agey, and West Seattle has local art with flair. And every neighborhood boasts its local bookstore, usually with resident cats.

85 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101, USA
Walk, cycle or people-watch along the shores of Elliott Bay, a downtown stretch known for its circusy flair and spectacular vistas. You can ride the Great Wheel or visit the beloved Seattle Aquarium, home to wolf eels, sea otters, and the world’s largest octopuses. Refuel with chowder from local favorite Ivar’s Acres of Clams, then hit the market’s 200 owner-operated shops, ranging from a radical book collection to the Northwest’s oldest magic store. Just don’t turn your back on the famous salmon-slinging fishmongers: They’ve been known to wallop selfie-photographers with a plastic decoy for yucks!
600 5th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
One of the country’s largest Asian markets, this massive complex has anchored the International District since 1928—and contains a Japanese bookstore, a 12-station food court, and a Taiwanese hot-pot hot spot: The Boiling Point. Its shelves stock everything from curry to durians and juicy kalua pork, plus surprisingly good, affordable freezer bags to preserve your haul on the way home. Fancy a quick bite in the food court first? Hit Uwajimaya’s Asian deli last and pay at the express lane. While one-stop shopping rocks, fans of Asian curios and calligraphy supplies may want to wander to nearby Kobo ( or Deng’s Studio and Art Gallery.
1521 10th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
The Elliott Bay Book Company is the Seattle bookstore and, thankfully, survived its move from Pioneer Square to Capitol Hill with soul and towering cedar bookcases intact. Elliott Bay lost a significant chunk of square footage during the move but gained a home right in the heart of Capitol Hill. Which makes it even easier to execute the ideal lazy Sunday afternoon combo: new novel + Fonte latte and one of the book-size housemade muffins from the on-site café (if it’s sunny, make a beeline for the grassy Cal Anderson park, just across the street). The food is northwest downhome—unpretentious salads with local greens, wholesome soups—but the abundant outlets and cozy café vibe make up for any food misses.

Try it there: The lemon crepe

Bring it home: Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice and tickets to a Neptune Theater reading
309 3rd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, USA
If you see a line stretching around the block and think, “No way,” then Salumi isn’t for you. But if you see a long line and think, “I want what they’re waiting for!” bring a book and get ready for one of the messiest, meatiest, richest sandwiches of your life. Owner Armandino Batali is the grandson of Seattle‘s first Italian food importer; now he crafts artisanal cured meats on-site, including lardo, lamb prosciutto, hot sopressata, smoked paprika salami, porchetta, and pancetta. You can get hot or cold sandwiches, meat platters, or meats and cheeses by the pound — and you’ll want to. It’s all rich, oily, and thoroughly delicious, a fitting reward for all that waiting in line.
1424 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122, USA
This famous Vashon Island creamery maintains a toehold on the mainland in the Chophouse Row Building on Capitol Hill. It sells cheese, including the gooey bloomy-rinded Dinah’s treasured by top Northwest chefs. But all products pale beside the simple richness of Kurtwood Farms ice cream. Churned on-site in Seattle, it’s made with Jersey cream and milk, organic cane sugar, and pastured eggs. Yes, you can order farm-fresh flavors, like bay laurel, lemon verbena, and even Sungold tomato jam. But connoisseurs prefer the real deal, straight up. “The taste is pure Puget Sound, it’s the grass the cows are eating,” notes the Emerald City’s columnist-in-chief Dan Savage.
601 N 35th St, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
If there’s such a thing as a single “Seattle style” for women, it’s probably epitomized by the charmingly craftsy, slightly bohemian, shabby-chic goods for sale at Burnt Sugar. From knitted hat to knee-high Frye boot, with all kinds of semi-precious stone jewelry and frilly scarves and graphic Orla Kiely bags in between, this boutique overflows with interesting and pretty things to admire. The striking Jonathan Adler salt-and-pepper shakers would make a great housewarming gift, while the cosmetics, scented soaps, and candles are sure to please any hostess. Check out their sale table for cute, good-quality leather shoes under $100.
222 Yale Avenue North
Sprawling over 80,000 square feet, this timbered cathedral is a monument to all things outdoors. The Seattle landmark’s spire, a 65-foot rock pinnacle, is the world’s third-largest indoor rock-climbing wall. Take a class or just reserve a 15- or 30-minute time slot for a single climb ($15 for members, $25 for nonmembers). No experience is required; REI supplies gear from its Outdoor School. The store also has a mountain bike test track outside, as well as a small café and a tree house play area for kids.
621 N 35th St, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
Portage Bay Goods describes itself as “a gift shop for the thoughtful procrastinator,” but it’s equally handy for souvenir-seeking visitors — or even locals looking for a fun little treat for themselves. They carry tons of highly giftable and inexpensive items ranging from fun to functional, including totes and wallets, Seattle-themed children’s books and apparel, local glassware and art, and novelty barware and mugs. There’s also a fine selection of kids’ toys, games, and craft kits. Add the finishing touch to your gift with a sassy, locally created letterpress notecard.
1741 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, USA
Outfitter to the Great Klondike Gold Rush, this Seattle-based company supplied stampeders with boots, sleeping bags, Mackinaw wool blankets, and rugged attire made from water-repellent Tin Cloth. “Our materials are the very best obtainable, for we know that the best is none too good and that quality is of vital importance,” explained founder C. C. Filson. His legacy lives on with exquisite craftsmanship and a lifetime guarantee for each item, right down to the 100 percent virgin-wool dog coat. Stop into the 6,000-square-foot SoDo flagship store—treasured by local “lumbersexuals"—for limited-edition finds not available elsewhere.
1914 2nd Avenue
Just down the block from Schmancy (get it?), Fancy is a charming little jewelry boutique with gorgeous, modern jewelry and art. They’re a Seattle-based company focused on producing high-quality jewelry that is 100% handmade of ethically sourced materials: all precious metals are recycled, and all gemstones and diamonds are either repurposed or Kimberly Process approved. Prices start below $100 and go up quickly, so if you can’t afford a broken heart, don’t go in and fall in love with their high-end and beautifully made designer pieces.
3419 Fremont Pl N, Seattle, WA 98103, USA
It may not look like much from the simple street entrance, but vintage-loving shoppers will find plenty to browse at this underground, two-floor antique mall. You’ll find black velvet paintings, vintage pinup magazines and comics, and antique collectibles, plus some truly impressive taxidermy mounts downstairs. For a more packable souvenir, try one of these colorful and charming Pyrex pieces or some midcentury barware.
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