Seattle Shopping


Seattle is home to excellent shopping all over the city, including downtown, in Fremont, the International District, Pike Place or the University District. Downtown Seattle shopping is a square of several blocks with large names such as Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom and Gap. Downtown is also the location of Westlake Center Plaza and Pacific Place, both large malls with various shops and eateries. Pioneer Square isn’t just the location of the original Starbucks—it also has some of Seattle’s best shopping. The International District, just south of Pioneer Square, features about eight blocks of prime shopping with roots from all over Asia. When weary from shopping, the ID has many delicious restaurants to choose from. Pike Place Market is Seattle’s famous waterfront shopping area that features local produce, fresh fish and an abundance of incredible restaurants.

Downtown Seattle Shopping

Epicenter: Seneca and 4th Ave., Seattle WA
Seattle's downtown shopping district is a compact square of several blocks with brand names like Urban Outfitters, Gap and Nordstorm. Fashion boutiques like Betsy Johnson and Isadora's Antique Clothing dot the urban landscape and offer Seattle shoppers more eclectic options. Downtown Seattle shopping can feel like Fifth Avenue, especially as you stroll by fashion stars like Banana Republic or Nike occupying their own buildings. Westlake Center Plaza, a nearby mall, features local and international home designers as well as a top floor food consortium. If the Seattle rain catches you, shoppers can duck into Pacific Place and shop at Ann Taylor and J. Crew or catch an afternoon flick on the top floor movie theatre. Seattle shoppers tired of schlepping around their shopping bags can unwind at the many fine high-end spas and salons or duck in for a latte at Nordstrom Cafe.
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First Hill Shopping

Epicenter: Madison and Boren Ave., Seattle WA
First Hill, also dubbed "Pill Hill," is located atop the downtown center and is an intensive but brief hike from Pioneer Square. Although not a main tourist stop for Seattle visitors, the Hill boasts St. James Cathedral where a mosaic tile floor is on view and the Frye Art Museum, with free admission and representational art, is just a block away. On Madison Avenue, Seattle shoppers can take a lunch break at Pizza Orgasmica or a coffee break at one of three Starbucks located on the same corner. It is easy to understand why because Starbucks caters to the doctors and residents of Pill Hill's medical community.

Fremont Shopping District

Seattle, WA
This compact Seattle shopping block attracts MWS (moms with strollers) taking in the sunshine through the Sunday Fremont Market browsing for a bargain at the retro and vintage stores while weekday worker bees shop-hop during their lunchbreak looking for atomic age martini glasses. This is also a haven for fashionistas who hate the snob factor of downtown Seattle boutiques but can find big-name designers without the attitude.

International District Shopping

Epicenter: Maynard Ave. & Weller St., Seattle WA
Seattle's International District transports Seattle visitors to the tastes and sights of Asia. The "ID," as locals call it, is a colorful consortium of restaurants, shops and cafes of a dozen different ethnic varieties. Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander are just some of the international nationalities represented in this shopping expanse of eight-city blocks just south of Pioneer Square. Visitors walking through this diverse Seattle shopping and food district will find a fortune cookie factory, bustling dim sum restaurants (Top Gun is Seattle.com's favorite), herbal pharmacies and Kinokuniya, an international bookstore that houses top-notch Asian cookbooks. Visitors in need of additional background about Seattle's International District can visit The Wing Luke Asian Museum, which depicts the neighborhood's history in pictures and artifacts. Seattle shoppers cannot miss Uwajimaya, a sprawling Asian food and products court with miles of seafood, fresh vegetables and specialty candies.

Pike Place Market Shopping

Epicenter: Pike Place and 1st Ave., Seattle WA
Seattle's waterfront Pike Place Market is one of the most colorful and energetic shopping districts in the Pacific Northwest. Serious Seattle shoppers should consider world-famous Pike's Place Fish Market a priority on their Seattle shopping list. The highlight is Pike Place Market's "flying fish," when fish merchants throw cuts of fish to each other across their stand to the delight of awestruck onlookers. A cobblestone street, lined with vendors selling handmade arts and crafts, a dazzling array of multicolored fresh flowers and photographs of scenic Seattle landscapes, winds through the Pike Place Market. For lunch, Seattle shoppers need not look far as vendors sell fresh sandwiches and hot piroshkis along the way. Seattle tourists and locals alike take advantage of Pike Place Market's waterfront park, where they can sit and take in the Elliott Bay view.
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Pioneer Square Shopping

Epicenter: Yesler and 1st Ave., Seattle WA
Seattle shoppers walking through Pioneer Square will find a coffee landmark: the first Starbucks to open its doors and usher in a new way an entire generation drinks coffee. The Pioneer Square shopping district has an eclectic choice of shops that include: imported rugs and tapestries, safari masks, antique benches and rare books. Visitors can grab a bite to eat at the pizza stands and Italian trattorias surrounding Pioneer Square. Walking through this historic Seattle district, Seattle shoppers see beautifully restored Richardsonian Revival buildings that house various art galleries. Art Walk, held the first Thursday of every month, is well-worth attending as visitors stroll through open art galleries throughout the evening.
Downtown Seattle Hotels | Downtown Seattle Restaurants

Queen Anne Shopping

Epicenter: Queen Anne and West Dravus, Seattle WA
Queen Anne, a trendy but cozy Seattle neighborhood on a hilltop, has a predominately young female population that is hip, stylish and professional. The neighborhood is populated with supper clubs, gritty coffeehouses and retro seafood restaurants like Ototo Sushi. For shopping, unique jewelry shops like Rhinestone Rosie and home accessory stores like The Homing Instinct characerize Queen Anne shopping. Seattle visitors will observe that Queen Anne residents take great pride in their Victorian homes because this comfy and lively neighborhood has one of the best postcard-perfect Seattle skyline views.
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University District Shopping

Epicenter: University Way NE & NE 45th St., Seattle WA
The University District caters to a youthful, collegiate crowd by offering the best cheap eats and shops in a small and laid back Seattle neighborhood. Visitors can take advantage of the variety of shopping at Seattle's University Village, a central mix of upscale shops, chain stores and independent boutiques offering bargain deals for Seattle tourists and students alike. On a rainy day, the University District is the perfect place to catch a flick with theater options like the Neptune, Varsity or Seven Gables. The University of Washington's campus setting and colors are reminiscent of an Ivy-league college and a great place to catch a glimpse of Seattle student life: professors and students hurriedly trekking across campus to class or lounging on the campus' placid greens. Before leaving the U-district, Seattle visitors can grab a Northwest brew at the Blue Moon Tavern, a literary hangout for poets young and old.
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--Seattle shopping reviews by Sonja Pecavar