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 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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Butch Blum

    Downtown | Clothing

    The attentive staff at this decidedly upscale retailer for men and women gives expert guidance on creations by Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna...Read More

  • 8. Clementines

    Clothing

    This tiny boutique provides a unique collection of shoes, clothing, and accessories from designer brands like Coclico and Arama, The sales personnel...Read More

  • 9. Clover

    Ballard | Clothing

    What's easily the cutest children's store in town carries wonderful handcrafted wooden toys, European figurines, works by local artists, and...Read More

  • 10. Crossroads Trading Co.

    University District | Clothing

    Another spot on the used-clothing-store offerings on The Ave, Crossroads Trading Co. carries dependably cute and trendy clothes, bags, and...Read More

  • 11. Destee-Nation

    Fremont | Clothing

    Before you buy a teenage relative—or anyone else for that matter—an oversize T-shirt that says "Seattle!" head up to Fremont's Destee-Nation...Read More

  • 12. Endless Knot

    Clothing

    An alternative to the high-end designers that are scattered throughout Downtown Seattle's shopping haven, this women's clothing store offers...Read More

  • 13. evo

    Fremont | Clothing

    For outdoor gear with an edgy vibe, locals head to evo, which specializes in snow sports gear and also carries a solid selection of hip street...Read More

  • 14. Filson

    Pioneer Square | Clothing

    Seattle's flagship Filson store is a shrine to meticulously well-made outdoor wear for men and women. The hunting-lodge-like decor of the space...Read More

  • 15. Frock Shop

    Phinney Ridge | Clothing

    The clothing in this light-filled Phinney boutique is so creative and unique looking that you'd swear it was vintage. But everything here is...Read More

  • 16. Gian DeCaro Sartoria

    Belltown | Clothing

    There is nothing quite like a bespoke suit to make a man look like a million bucks, and luckily, Gian DeCaro's offerings don't cost anywhere...Read More

  • 17. Horseshoe

    Ballard | Clothing

    A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll," Horseshoe offers girlie Western wear and hipster fare in its Ballard digs. Comfy, sassy shirts...Read More

  • 18. Ian

    Downtown | Clothing

    The hottest contemporary American sportswear and premium denim for men and women can be found at Ian, where the clientele is young and the clothes...Read More

  • 19. Kuhlman

    Belltown | Clothing

    This tiny store on the same hip block as the Ace Hotel has a careful selection of urban street wear that includes hard-to-find designers like...Read More

  • 20. Le Frock

    Capitol Hill | Clothing

    It may look like just another overcrowded consignment shop, but among the racks of Seattle's classiest vintage and consignment store you'll...Read More

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