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Where to Shop in Seattle, Washington

Updated on April 28, 2016

Introduction

Seattle, Washington features plenty of unique places for both locals and tourists to shop. From the famous Pike Place Market to the typical American mall, shoppers won't feel bored in the Emerald City. This guide aims to provide you with plenty of places to check out on your next Seattle trip.

Pike Place Market clock and sign.
Pike Place Market clock and sign. | Source
Flowers for sale at Pike Place Market.
Flowers for sale at Pike Place Market. | Source

History of Pike Place Market

Before the birth of Pike Place Market, Seattle area farmers found it difficult to sell their crops to the public. Most farmers didn't have the luxury of time to sell directly to the public themselves. Frequently, farmers hired third-party groups and individuals to sell the produce. Many of the farmers felt these individuals charged too much for this service. Thomas P. Revelle, member of the Seattle City Council, listened to the complaints of the farmers and took action. Revelle knew of a city ordinance that allowed the city to turn areas of land into public markets. On Saturday, August 17, 1907, Pike Place Market opened officially to the public.


Pike Place Market

It would be difficult to start this guide with any place other than Pike Place Market. This eclectic public market offers just about anything for Seattle locals and visitors, from delicious candies to lavender products and movie scripts. The entire market consists of 9 acres of retail, restaurants and much more. The arcade section, which begins just under the famous sign and clock, holds the famous fishmongers, fresh produce, flowers, food vendors and local craft artisans. Several level below the arcade house individual stores that typically have their own hours.

Outside of the main arcade, there are still many more buildings to explore. Some highlights include:

  • The original Starbucks moved from 2000 Western Avenue to 1912 Pike Place, right within the market's area. This building still features its original look from the 1970s and is a popular tourist attraction.
  • Post Alley, which is adjacent to the arcade section, features a delicious selection of used gum. Yes, it's gross, but it sure is colorful! Take some pictures if you dare, but don't stand too close.
  • The Pink Door, a delightful Italian restaurant popular with romantics, is also located on Post Alley. This restaurant features no signs or other markings beside a plain pink door.

Information About Visiting Pike Place Market:

  • Pike Place Market is popular and beloved by the locals, too. Many locals shop at the Market weekly for flowers, groceries and other items. In other words, expect crowds at just about any time. The weekend crowds are far larger than any other time during the week.
  • The Market advertises itself as being open for 19.5 hours a day, 362 days a year. Some of the bakeries open at 6 a.m. while the fresh produce opens at 7 a.m. The official opening bell rings at 9 a.m. daily. Most of the individual stores open at 10 a.m. and close at 5 or 6 p.m. The Market is only closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Many merchants set their own hours, so if you have a favorite store, it's best to contact them in advance to confirm their hours.
  • Pike Place Market is not just about selling products. The Market also provides low-income housing and social services for the inhabitants. You can donate to these causes by putting donations into the bronze piggy bank, named Rachel, near the entrance.


Farmers Market sign in Ballard.
Farmers Market sign in Ballard. | Source
Pumpkins for sale at the Ballard Farmers Market.
Pumpkins for sale at the Ballard Farmers Market. | Source

The Farmers Markets

Seattle offers an abundance of popular Farmers Markets, and just about every major neighborhood has its own. Some of Seattle's most popular markets include:

The Ballard Farmers Market:

This particular market specializes in fresh produce from local growers. You'll find delicious root vegetables, nuts, cheese, freshly-baked bread, berries and much more. The market also includes street food vendors who would love to sell you a warm treat on a chilly Seattle winter day. As you shop, you'll be entertained by street performers and musicians. The Ballard Farmer's Market is truly an enjoyable family-friendly attraction.

The Fremont Sunday Street Market:

This market, located in the Fremont neighborhood, focuses a bit more on crafts than produce. This diverse market uses both indoor and outdoor spaces to display a variety of wares. Each week, the market hosts almost 200 vendors that offer fun items, including jewelry, collectibles, vintage furniture, clothes and just about anything else you can imagine. You'll also find street vendors with food and a wide variety of fantastic street performers.

The University District Farmers Market:

The University District Farmer's Market runs all year round within the heart of the University of Washington area. This market is Seattle's first and biggest market that focuses solely on farmer's produce. Each week, more than 50 farmers sell their delicious produce to hungry Seattleites.

Addresses and Information:

The following table provides a quick guide to the above Farmers Markets in addition to the smaller markets in other neighborhoods within the city limits.

Neighborhood
Season
Hours
Location
Ballard
All year, except holidays
Sunday - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ballard Avenue NW, between Vernon Place NW and 22nd Avenue NW
Broadway
End of April to end of December
Sunday - 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Seattle Central Community College at Broadway Ave. E. and E. Pine St.
Fremont
All year, except holidays
Sunday - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
North 34th St. and Evanston Ave. N.
Madrona
Late May to late September
Friday - 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Grocery Outlet at Martin Luther King, Jr. Way and E. Union St.
Magnolia
Early June to mid October
Saturday - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
33rd Ave W & W McGraw Str in the Magnolia Village
Phinney
Late May to late September
Friday - 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Phinney Neighborhood Center at 67th and Phinney Ave N.
Queen Anne
Early June to early October
Thursday - 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
West Crockett Street at Queen Anne Avenue N.
University District
All year, except holidays
Saturday - 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
University Way NE between 50th & 52nd
Wallingford
Late May to late September
Wednesday - 3:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Meridian Park, corner of Meridian Avenue N and N 50th St.
West Seattle
All year, except holidays
Sunday - 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
California Ave SW & SW Alaska
Pacific Place Mall.
Pacific Place Mall. | Source

Seattle's Shopping Malls

Seattle has no shortage of big shopping malls to satisfy anyone's tastes. A few highlights:

Pacific Place

Pacific Place offers a good spot to do some mall shopping while you're in downtown Seattle. For high-end fashion, you can visit Michael Kors and Kate Spade. Pacific Place also features plenty of standard American mall fare, including Gamestop and Barnes & Noble. This mall also houses one of the two Tiffany & Co. locations in the Seattle area. Finally, Pacific Place also is the home of two notable Seattle institutions: Trophy Cupcakes and Top Ten Toys.

Pacific Place is located at 600 Pine Street.

Westlake Center

Westlake Center is another premiere shopping excursion in the heart of downtown Seattle. In addition to providing shopping, Westlake Center is also a huge traffic hub for Seattle's public transportation. Besides offering a multitude of typical mall stores, Westlake Center also features one of Seattle's many Made in Washington stores. These popular stores are full of products made in Washington.

Westlake Center is located at 400 Pine Street.

University Village

University Village is a peaceful outdoor mall located near the University of Washington campus. This mall's stores include a number of big national brands, including Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. This mall provides a nice alternative to the busy and crowded downtown options. Many visitors enjoy the wide variety of delicious desserts sold at this mall, from cupcakes to Japanese crepes.

University Village is located at 2623 NE University Village St.

Northgate Mall

Northgate Mall has the distinction of being one of the first suburban malls in the United States. It was also the very first American mall to have public restrooms. Today, Northgate features quality shopping away from the busy pace of downtown malls. The mall is currently anchored by JC Penny, Macy's and Nordstrom.

Northgate Mall is located at 401 Northeast Northgate Way.

And Much More!

Of course, like any other major city, Seattle has plenty of other fabulous shopping options. From the high-end shopping in the downtown area to the independent and quirky stores in Ballard and Wallingford, you can find just about anything to buy in Seattle.

Bring Your Reusable Bags!

On a final note, Seattle recently passed a law to ban the use of plastic bags in stores within the city limits. If you do need a bag, you'll have to pay a nickel for a paper bag. To avoid any fees, bring your own reusable bags from home or buy some while you shop. Many of the stores in Seattle sell their own themed bags for you to buy while you're shopping.

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