Seattle is an incredibly trending city. With that, comes unique restaurants, great cafes, and of course, iconic shopping. Some of the country’s biggest retailers, like Lululemon, Nordstrom, and TomBoyX are from Seattle but the real way to shop the city is to shop in our one-of-a-kind shops you won’t find elsewhere.
Seattle shopping is a lot of fun, if you do it right. While you might be tempted to head to Pike Place Market and see what the souvenir shops offer, we’re certain you can find much better goods in a more fun manner while visiting Seattle.
Simply pick the neighborhood you want to explore, grab brunch, then begin your stroll down the neighborhood’s main street, stopping at the boutiques along the way. Stop when you feel peckish or need a caffeine pick-me-up, and get back out to the shops. Start in the neighborhood of your vacation rental home, then expand to our other quirky hoods to get the best variety in town.
A shopping spree like this will give you the best of our Pacific Northwest gem while also making sure you go home with plenty of treasures packed inside your suitcase.
These are the best places to go shopping while in Seattle.
Seattle’s neighborhoods are still full of small independent stores. Ballard, Fremont, and Queen Anne are some of the best neighborhoods for browsing small shops, but you’ll also find several small boutiques and stores in Madison Valley and Madison Park.
On Ballard Ave alone, you’ll find art galleries, great restaurants, and plenty of shopping from t-shirt shops to high-end dress shops and everything in between. For even more unique goods, visit the International District, just south of downtown. Here you’ll find shops with clothing and goods from all over the world, namely a variety of Asian countries.
If you end up in Fremont, be sure to swing by the Fremont Vintage Mall. Although called a mall, it’s really just one large shop. Here you can find vintage goods, furniture, clothing, knick-knacks, and collectibles. Each visit here is unlike the last, so add this stop to your list each time you visit Seattle.
Some of the best boutiques in towns are actually thrift stores, while others are retail shops full of clothing, home goods, or art you’ll just love. For boutique shops in the downtown area, there are a few unique gift shops and clothing stores in the brick buildings surrounding Pioneer Square.
While not a boutique per say, a great place to check out local goods, foods, and plants is by visiting one of our local farmers markets. The one in Capitol Hill is a typical fan favorite.
Among our local favorite shops located near our home in Madison Park include:
- The Original Children’s Shop for high-end children’s clothes (check the sale rack!)
- Red Wagon for toys
- Martha Harris Gifts for a wide variety of gifts and home decor
- Cookin’ for kitchen wares.
If you’d like to take home a true piece of Seattle, pick up a glassybaby at the studio and original store in Madrona.
“A what?!” you ask.
We couldn’t imagine what people were talking about when we first heard mention of these, but you’ll see them at restaurants all over Seattle. They are blown glass votives available in a wide variety of colors. Each one is handmade and unique. Stop by the store to watch production and see how different each one looks when you put in a candle. They make wonderful souvenirs and gifts.
Glassybabies now adorn the homes of numerous friends and family! A portion of each sale is donated to charity with each color supporting a different cause or organization. The store offers free shipping, so you don’t need to worry about breakage on your trip home and you’ll even save on sales tax!
The studio is located at 3406 E. Union St., a short hop from most of our homes. There are also stores in U Village (see below) and at the airport for a last minute purchase.
If you need something in a pinch or the weather isn’t good enough to warrant a stroll through the neighborhoods, Seattle has a handful of department stores to choose from.
A few of the most notable options include:
- Seattle is home to the Nordstrom headquarters and their flagship store is located downtown at 500 Pine Street.
- We also have a small Macy’s.
- If you’re looking for discount merchandise, you’ll find a T.J. Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth downtown.
- In Bellevue, in addition to Nordstrom and Macy’s, there’s a Neiman Marcus.
Colder (or rainier) than you expected? Forgot your favorite jacket? No need to worry. True to its earth loving reputation, Seattle has several options for outdoor gear, clothing and accessories. While there are plenty of small shops that cater to the great outdoors, two of the best shopping spots for outdoor gear are:
- REI is headquartered in the area, and has its large flagship store at 222 Yale Ave N.
- There is a big Columbia Sportswear store at 290 Pine Street.
In addition to downtown Seattle, where you’ll find most of your standard retail stores, there is a nice outdoor shopping mall called University Village (aka U Village) located adjacent to the University District, near the University of Washington campus. It’s a nice place to walk around and you’ll find a variety of local and chain stores, including the Apple Store and the competing Microsoft Store (this is Seattle, after all).
There are also the requisite chains such as Gap, Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Banana Republic, Eddie Bauer (another Seattle headquartered retailer!), Nike, Ann Taylor, Victoria’s Secret, etc.
There are plenty of dining options as well at U Village. Most are fairly average, but it’s worth a visit to Din Tai Fung, famous for its authentic Taiwanese dumplings. Put your name in early (waits can be LONG) at Din Tai Fung and then shop until your table is ready. Or try Molly Moon’s for local ice cream or Menchie’s for self-serve frozen yogurt.
For a large mall in the heart of downtown Seattle, visit Pacific Place. This mall is 5 stories and caters to more upscale shops. It’s located at the corner of 6th Ave and Pine Street, so it’s near a lot of the other tourist hotspots in the city, making it a convenient stop.
There are a handful of restaurants inside Pacific Place and a food court to cater to all sorts of cravings.
Nearby Pacific Place is another large shopping mall, Westlake Center. You can easily walk from one to the other if you want to check them both out.
For a truly sterile shopping experience, head across Lake Washington to the city of Bellevue, home to countless shopping centers, big box retailers, and high end department stores.
There is a large outlet mall at the Seattle Premium Outlets in Tulalip, about 30 miles north of Seattle. You’ll pass by here if you go to/from Vancouver or the tulip fields. This is a good place to pick up name brand goods at a fraction of the cost, so long as you’re not too fussy with it being last year or last season’s look.
You might have heard that Washington state has legalized marijuana. And you might wonder how that is working.
For us goody two-shoes, nothing has really changed. You don’t see people smoking on the street (at least any more than before). We can’t really guide you as to where to buy, but a quick Google should do the trick for you. As for the house, please remember that our strict no smoking policy extends to all types of smoke.
Enjoy the Best Shopping in Seattle
With so many great places to shop in Seattle, you certainly won’t have a hard time finding a place you like. On the contrary, you’ll most likely have a hard time fitting all of your new goods and clothing into your suitcase for your trip back home!