Seattle

Seattleites are sometimes scorned for their fashion sense (polar fleece, sport sandals, and socks—oh my!), but as the city has grown and enough money has percolated through the ranks of retail, the city's style barometer has made a steady creep upward. Bibliophiles, foodies, wine aficionados, and design-centrists will also find
Seattleites are sometimes scorned for their fashion sense (polar fleece, sport sandals, and socks—oh my!), but as the city has grown and enough money has percolated through the ranks of retail, the city's style barometer has made a steady creep upward. Bibliophiles, foo
Seattleites are sometimes scorned for their fashion sense (polar fleece, sport sandals, and socks—oh my!), but as the ci

Seattleites are sometimes scorned for their fashion sense (polar fleece, sport sandals, and socks—oh my!), but as the city has grown and enough money has percolated through the ranks of retail, the city's style barometer has made a steady creep upward. Bibliophiles, foodies, wine aficionados, and design-centrists will also find plenty of shopping opportunities—Seattle is a hotbed of unique, independent shops stocking one-of-a-kind treasures.

Shopping in Seattle is something best done gradually. Don't expect to find it all in one or two days worth of blitz shopping tours. Downtown is the only area that allows for easy daylong shopping excursions. Within a few blocks along 4th and 5th Avenues, you'll find the standard chains (The Gap, Urban Outfitters, H&M, Anthropologie, Sephora, Old Navy), along with Nike's flagship store, and a few more glamorous high-end stores, some featuring well-known designers like Gucci . Downtown is also where you'll find department stores like Nordstrom, Macy's, and Barneys New York. Belltown and Pioneer Square are also easy areas to patrol—most stores of note are within a few blocks.

To find many of the stores that are truly special to Seattle—such as boutiques featuring handmade frocks from local designers, independent record stores run by encyclopedic-minded music geeks, cozy used-book shops that smell of paper and worn wood shelves—you'll have to branch out to Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, and northern neighborhoods like Ballard. Shopping these areas will give you a better feel for the character of the city and its quirky inhabitants, all while you score that new dress or nab gifts for your friends.

And don’t forget about Seattle’s culinary bounty, which includes the stalls at Pike Place Market; the flagship Sur La Table, which stocks every kitchen gadget known to man; and the city’s various weekly farmers' markets, where you’ll find enough locally made, artisanal offerings to fill a suitcase or two.

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  • 1. Archie McPhee

    Wallingford | Household Items/Furniture

    If your life is missing a punching-nun puppet, an Edgar Allen Poe action figure, or a bacon-scented air freshener, there's hope. Leave your...Read More

  • 2. Barneys New York

    Downtown | Department Stores

    You'll find this slice of the Big Apple anchoring Pacific Place Shopping Center, across from "Nordies." Barneys' two floors are filled with...Read More

  • 3. DeLaurenti Specialty Food and Wine

    Downtown | Wine/Spirits

    Attention foodies: clear out your hotel minibars and make room for delectable treats from DeLaurenti. And, if you're planning any picnics, swing...Read More

  • 4. Elliott Bay Book Company

    Capitol Hill | Books/Stationery

    A major reason to visit this landmark bookstore—formerly a longtime haunt in Pioneer Square, hence the name—is the great selection of Pacific...Read More

  • 5. Fran's Chocolates

    Downtown | Food/Candy

    A Seattle institution (helmed by Fran Bigelow) has been making quality chocolates for decades. Its world-famous salted caramels are transcendent...Read More

  • 6. Nordstrom

    Downtown | Department Stores

    Seattle's own retail giant sells quality clothing, accessories, cosmetics, jewelry, and lots of shoes—in keeping with its roots in footwear...Read More

  • 7. Peter Miller Architectural & Design Books and Supplies

    Belltown | Books/Stationery

    Aesthetes and architects haunt this shop, which is stocked floor to ceiling with all things design. Rare, international architecture, art, and...Read More

  • 8. REI

    South Lake Union | Clothing

    The enormous flagship for Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) has an incredible selection of outdoor gear—polar-fleece jackets, wool socks, down...Read More

  • 9. A Mano

    Downtown | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    The store's name means "by hand," and that ethos of handmade, high-quality craftsmanship seems soaked into the very (exposed brick) walls of...Read More

  • 10. Agate Designs

    Pioneer Square | Gifts/Souvenirs

    Amateur geologists, curious kids, and anyone fascinated by fossils and gems should make a trip to this store that's almost like a museum (but...Read More

  • 11. Alhambra

    Downtown | Clothing

    Sophisticated, casual, and devastatingly feminine, this pricey boutique delivers quality, European-style looks for women of all ages. Pop into...Read More

  • 12. Arundel Books

    Pioneer Square | Books/Stationery

    Since 1984, this bastion of bibliophilia has offered new, used, and collectible titles to discerning shoppers. Its shelves are especially strong...Read More

  • 13. Atlas Clothing

    Fremont | Clothing

    Atlas is loaded with previously appreciated shirts, jackets, and tees; stacks of new and vintage denim; must-have sneakers from the '70s and...Read More

  • 14. Baby & Co

    Downtown | Clothing

    There's nothing childish about this sophisticated fashion house. A longtime Seattle favorite, Baby and Co. dresses women in urban-lifestyle...Read More

  • 15. Ballard Farmers Market

    Ballard | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    Every Sunday, rain or shine, loads of vendors come to Ballard Avenue to set up colorful, welcoming tents and stands to sell produce as well...Read More

  • 16. Blackbird

    Ballard | Clothing

    This perfectly stocked and fashion-forward store is a favorite destination for stylish men. With choice clothes from designers such as RVCA...Read More

  • 17. Bottleworks

    Wallingford | Wine/Spirits

    If you love microbrews, then make a pilgrimage to Bottleworks to peruse its massive collection. With around 950 chilled varieties of malty goodness...Read More

  • 18. Broadway Farmers Market

    Capitol Hill | Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

    This small and lively market fills up a parking lot one block east of Broadway; there's fresh produce galore, plus music, samples, and plenty...Read More

  • 19. Buffalo Exchange

    University District | Clothing

    This big, bright shop of new and recycled fashions is always crowded, and it takes time to browse the stuffed racks—but the rewards are great...Read More

  • 20. Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

    University District | Antiques/Collectibles

    On the campus of the University of Washington, the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture houses thousands of Coast Salish artifacts and...Read More

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