Top 10 Shopping in Seattle Tips
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
November 16, 2011
Filed Under Shop
Contributed by Tim Brugger, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
Seattle has been likened to the San Francisco of the Northwest, though Seattleites would suggest San Francisco is actually the Seattle of the South.
Either way, they do share a number of common traits. A busy, vibrant downtown with load of shopping and restaurants, an area akin to the outdoor markets in San Fran and sometimes less than ideal shopping weather.
If you’re heading that way, no sense going in unprepared. So arm yourself with my top ten shopping in Seattle tips.
10. Bring an umbrella, but use wisely
Folks up here in the Pacific Northwest don’t mind talking about it, but non-Natives who dis the weather are going to find themselves on the wrong end of a death stare. Yes, it rains, sometimes a lot. However, be wary when breaking out the umbrella or a raincoat. Bring it along but don’t use it unless it really starts pouring. Otherwise you may as well wear a sandwich board that screams “Out-of-Towner” in big, bold letters.
9. Lunch at the Space Needle
It’s been a long, hard day of shopping; and to think it’s only lunchtime! First of all, well done. Secondly, you’ve earned a nice meal and there’s no better place than on top of the city at the Skyline Restaurant below the Space Needle’s Observation Deck. The restaurant, in addition to ridiculous views as it slowly rotates 360 degrees, is surprisingly good and affordable. I say “surprisingly” because with a view like that, it would be easy to skimp on the food; but they don’t.
8. Buy and eat local
The state of Washington, particularly Walla Walla, grows some of the best apples and other fruits in the world. If you’re heading Seattle way in the summer (See item #10 and you’ll know why) drop into one of the many Farmers Markets in the University District (up by U of W), West Seattle and the Broadway area. The former two are open year round, and the Broadway Farmer’s Market takes a few month hiatus over the winter. If you aren’t headed to Seattle, you can still partake of Washington apples, say, or superior Washington-grown bulbs if you order online.
7. Try a microbrew
Seattle, along with Portland, Oregon, are widely considered the microbrew capitals of the world. If you’ve enjoyed one of these beers, it’s either from the Pacific Northwest or was made with our microbrews in mind. So when you need to park it for a few minutes, drop by most any bar and ask for a local favorite; you’ll have several options from which to choose.
6. Seek out regional heritage
Shops that showcase Northwest tribal art are abundant throughout downtown Seattle. The Pacific Northwest has a strong American Indian heritage, and shops like this one celebrate this history. If you’re able to pronounce cities like Puyallup, Issaquah and Wenatchee you’ll be one step ahead of the game. Perhaps because of this heritage, you’ll find the Northwest seems to breed a certain affinity for natural items made by hand.
5. Husky, Mariners, Seahawks or Sounders gear
In addition to coffee and the aforementioned microbrew, there are few things the folks in Seattle take as seriously as their teams. If you’re coming in from out of town, you’ll be welcomed of course. Unless you’re wearing a rival sports jersey or hat; these include items sporting an Oregon Duck, Washington State, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps, Angels, Raiders or Broncos emblem, to name but a few. Make friendly with the locals and sport a Seattle Seahawks jersey.
4. Check out Fremont
For the urban, eclectic artsy folk, the Fremont area of Seattle is a must. If you can picture Taos meets grunge, with an ever so slight dash of Andy Warhol you’re heading in the right direction. In addition to some great shopping, you may want to take a load off at the outdoor theater. Whatever you do, don’t miss the 7-ton statue of Lenin; yep, that Lenin. I can only assume someone, somewhere has an explanation as to why there is a monstrous statue of a former Russian autocrat in Northern Seattle; though I’ve never heard it.
3. Leave before rush hour
If you’re unable or unwilling to leave the friendly shopping confines of downtown, plan on staying until the early evening, at least. I know L.A. gets all the grief about bad traffic, and for good reason. Though as anyone who’s braved the roads getting into, out of or through Seattle from 3pm to about 7pm Monday through Friday will tell you, the chances of success are slim and none, and slim just left town.
2. Be prepared to walk
Walking is not only a great workout, it is far and away the best means of shopping in Seattle. Driving around in downtown Seattle isn’t really necessary to get some great shopping in, and you’ll find securing a parking spot isn’t worth the effort. If you’re heck bent on heading up to the University District or some other area of the city out of walking range, best to grab a cab.
1. Pike Place Market
Fish tossing, locally made arts and crafts and ice sculptures that are shipped across the country are some of the cool happenings at one of Seattle’s most famous shopping destinations. Patience is a must however, as many of the folks milling about are only there waiting to catch guys hucking 25 pound salmon across the room to fill an order. Oh, definitely grab some canned salmon, sauces or other delectable treats; that stuff is gooooood.