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. 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

  • 2. Edie's Shoes

    Capitol Hill | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Supercomfy, effortlessly cool shoes can be found at this small, carefully planned shop. Plop down on the big purple couch and try on trendy...Read More

  • 3. J. Gilbert Footwear

    Belltown | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Wrap your feet in comfort and European styling by designers Thierry Rabotin, Arche, Paul Green, and Robert Clergerie. Along with limited-edition...Read More

  • 4. John Fluevog Shoes

    Downtown | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    You'll find the store's own brand of fun and funky boots, chunky leather shoes, and urbanized wooden sandals here in men's and women's styles. ...Read More

  • 5. KAVU

    Ballard | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Founded in the Pacific Northwest, KAVU's flagship store in Ballard is an outdoor shopping staple. Loudly printed fleece pullovers, thermal vests...Read More

  • 6. LIKELIHOOD

    Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    With designers ranging from Puma X Rihanna to Spalwart, this store has an extensive brand selection that's perfect for the eclectic Capitol...Read More

  • 7. Market Street Shoes

    Ballard | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    One of the best all-around shoe stores in town, Market Street stocks so many styles from so many brands that you're likely to find something...Read More

  • 8. re-souL

    Ballard | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Stocking cool but comfortable shoes from Biviel, MOMA, PF Flyers, Cydwoq, and the like, this hip space offers a small selection of crazy fashionable...Read More

  • 9. Woolly Mammoth

    Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    A conservative take on Pacific Northwest footwear, this cozy shop offers brands like Naot, Keen, Dansko, and La Canadienne. The friendly and...Read More

  • 10. 5 Doors Up Footwear

    University District | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Fashion-forward shoe lovers of both sexes head to 5 Doors Up and Woolly Mammoth, sister stores that are five storefronts apart on a busy section...Read More

  • 11. Lambs Ear Shoes

    Fremont | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    A small but fabulous collection of shoes and handbags line the whitewashed concrete walls of this high-end shoe store. With artisan offerings...Read More

  • 12. Rock Paper Scissors

    Capitol Hill | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    Savvy sneakerheads come here to buy limited-edition Nikes, Pumas, Adidas, and New Balance kicks and reissued styles from the 1980s. Vintage...Read More

  • 13. The Clog Factory

    Pioneer Square | Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

    There's a reason chefs wear them: clogs are ridiculously comfortable. If your stilettos are more foe than friend these days, pay a visit to...Read More

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