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Seattle Shopping Guide – where and what to shop and buy

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Seattle is a paradise for those who like their shops unique and stylish, and you'll find many boutiques and thrift stores, as well as local sellers focusing on antique and vintage items. From high end consignment stores where you will find racks of second-hand designer wear, to tiny independently owned nooks selling handmade goods, there's plenty of different styles on offer, and the city even manages to squeeze in malls with the big brand favorites.
Ballard Avenue



The focus of the eclectic Ballard Avenue is on the handmade and boutique, with lots of small, independently owned shops where you can be sure of an old fashioned friendly welcome. You'll see geek chic wares everywhere in the mis-matched, adorably shabby shops. Among the highlights you might discover are reproduction jewels based on classic items worn by the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, kaleidoscopically colorful hoodies, and vintage menswear for modern day dandies. The fact that it's all found within retro architecture – the district's on the National Register of Historic Places – just adds to the throwback vibe.


University Village



Just north of Downtown, the University Village area is a stylish open-air shopping center, with all the favorites you'd expect from a larger mall. You'll find high street names selling the most up-to-date styles, not to mention the latest gadgets and gizmos. It's not all chain outlets, though – there are also some quirkier gems to be found, tempting passers-by with handmade wooden ornaments and Persian rugs. If all the browsing gets you peckish, you can stop off for jewel-like sushi, deliciously crispy wood-fired pizza, and hearty plates of pasta at one of the on-site restaurants.


Pike/Pine Corridor



The Pike/Pine Corridor might just be Downtown Seattle's coolest shopping district, with large, bright open plan stores that have been created within historic buildings. While this neck of the woods is particularly famed for its hipster nightspots and bohemian atmosphere, it's also a good place to poke around for unexpected Seattle keepsakes, from retro clothing to eye-catching shoes and accessories. You can also count on the fashion being eco-friendly and socially conscious, with fairtrade being the order of the day.


Shopping tips



Parking in Seattle's Downtown shopping areas can be limited, so consider taking one of the buses, or zip between Downtown and the Seattle Center in just a few minutes on the monorail. There's also a streetcar which connects many of the most popular shopping destinations. It almost goes without saying there are markets all over the city, selling items from spices to antiques. With a local community as creative as this, it's always worth seeing what they've come up with to sell.