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Shopping in Seattle

Go shopping in Seattle and you can track high-street trends, hunt for local labels, pick up original Northwest crafts, buy ocean-fresh goodies, or gear up for the outdoors.

Key areas

The downtown shopping core is between First Avenue and Sixth Avenue and Olive Way and University Street.

 

Nordstrom first opened in Seattle in 1901 and has its flagship store at 500 Pine Street. There are independent gems here too, such as Paper Hammer, 1400 Second Avenue, which sells beautiful handmade notebooks and letterpress goods made in its studio in Tieton, Washington.

Near Pioneer Square, E Smith Mercantile, 208 First Avenue South, has something of a pioneer spirit to it, stocking an eclectic mix of American-made denim, ceramic tinware, beef jerky and homeopathic hangover cures, with a tiny cocktail bar to boot.

Belltown, north along First Avenue from the city centre, has unique boutiques with locally designed clothing, imported shoes, antiques and used clothing. Sell your Sole, 2121 First Avenue, is a great spot to bag stylish second hand designer gear. In hip Ballard, re-souL, 5319 Ballard Avenue Southwest, keeps Seattleites’ feet well dressed.

 

Markets

Pike Place Market, First Avenue and Pike Street, opened in 1907 and is crammed with fresh produce, baked goods, speciality foods and a craft market representing over 200 artisans.

Shopping centres

In Downtown, Pacific Place, Sixth Avenue and Pine Street, has over 50 shops plus restaurants and a cinema. University Village, off 25th Avenue Northeast, is an open-air shopping centre with upscale names including Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Eddie Bauer.

Opening hours

Shopping hours are typically 0930-1800, including Sundays, with many larger downtown stores remaining open until 2100.

Souvenirs

The Pacific Northwest is an internationally renowned hub for glassblowing. At Glasshouse Studio (331 Occidental Avenue South), you can watch demonstrations and buy intricately designed glass art.

Seattle is home to a bounty of chocolatiers. There’s a fine selection of delectable local confectionary at Chocolate Box (106 Pine Street).

Tax information

Seattle sales tax is 9.5%. Only residents of a handful of US states and Canadian provinces where sales tax is less than 3% are entitled to a refund.

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Thompson Seattle Hotel

Housed in a spectacular Tom Kundig-designed building, the 12-storey Thompson is the hottest new addition to Seattle's hotel scene. The 158 guest rooms are the epitome of class – think dark-wood panelling with brass details – and the best rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views over Pike Place Market. There's a rooftop bar boasting a dazzling outlook towards the Olympic Mountains, a 'glam-rustic' restaurant and a spectacular events space for business travellers.

Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Fairmont Olympic Hotel captures the elegance of a bygone era - without stinting on modern luxuries. Its 450 rooms have cosy furnishings with excellent amenities, and the service is impeccable. This Seattle hotel, built in 1924, also has a sumptuous health club with indoor pool and whirlpool plus an on-site spa. Other features include two superb restaurants.

Moore Hotel

Just a couple of blocks away from Pike Place Market, the Moore Hotel and Theater date back to 1907. Rooms are basic, but clean, and a good price for the location. The theatre itself (run separately by the Seattle Theatre Group) is Seattle's oldest operating theatre and has been renovated in 2013. All the grunge-era greats played there, including Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Nirvana and Soundgarden.

The Maxwell Hotel

Wonderfully eccentric décor, friendly staff and an enviable downtown location combine to make this one of the city's top mid-range boutique hotels. Rooms are famously comfortable (some even boast views over towards the Space Needle) and guests have access to an indoor pool, fitness centre, café and 24-hour business centre. Outside, it's just a hop-and-a-skip to major attractions such as the Teatro ZinZanni, Seattle Center and Experience Music Project Museum.

Hotel FIVE

Modern and colourful, Hotel Five's guest rooms are all shiny hardwood floors, bright red accent walls and super-contemporary furnishings. It's the neat little extras that make this hotel stand out too – freshly baked pineapple cupcakes and coffee each afternoon in reception, golf umbrellas in every room (a Seattle essential), plus complimentary bikes and town car service. Max's Café is a great stop for breakfast or lunch.

Hotel Ändra

Hip Hotel Ändra's sleek décor is a tasteful nod to Seattle's Nordic heritage melded with Pacific Northwest contemporary design, featuring wood, water and stone throughout. Finnish architect's Alvar Aalto salon chairs and Arne Jacobsen's striking orange swan chairs make the living room loft a cool place to hang out. Guest rooms come with traditional Scandinavian patterns, alpaca headboards, striped chenille bedspreads, Lacava sinks and FACE Stockholm bath products.