The Seattle Guide
Every Seattle native we know has some serious hometown pride. And we get why. Seattle brings together some of the best elements from all the cities we love to visit: a gorgeous Pacific Northwest backdrop, which translates into amazing hikes, views, and family-friendly parks; an innovative, tech-forward culture that coexists peacefully with the city’s beloved small businesses; and really, really good food. In many ways, Seattle is a study in contrasts: It’s the place where grunge, Amazon, and Starbucks were born—and it still has great music (although it’s different now), indie bookstores, coffee shops, microbreweries, and the like. Pike Place Market, which is arguably the most famous tourist attraction in Seattle, is also a treasured local-approved spot. And even as Seattle’s neighborhoods continue to evolve, the city seems to stay true to itself. Even perpetual rain can’t stop us from visiting.
Totokaelo1523 10th Ave., Capitol Hill | 206.623.3582
This long-standing Seattle institution has been around for years—but it continues to march a bit ahead of the curve. While it originally launched in a small, subterranean space, it now boasts the breadth of a mini-department store offering labels like Rachel Comey, Dieppa Restrepo, and Raquel Allegra. In addition to the deep racks of clothing and accessories, Totokaelo is offering more and more in the way of home goods. There are ceramics from Michelle Quan, Doug Johnston baskets, and hand towels by Kontex. There's also a location in New York.
Frye Art Museum Store704 Terry Ave., Downtown | 206.622.9250
Taking the concept of a local museum shop one step further, not only does the Frye seek out cool design goods and jewelry, but their focus is on local, Northwestern artisans and makers. Should you buy one of their ceramic fortune cookies with fortunes told by a local psychic, say, or an Alice Noon bucket bag, or even an Iacoli & McAllister light fixture, you know you’re leaving Seattle with a real Seattle souvenir.
Baby & Company1936 1st Ave., Downtown | 206.448.4077
A Seattle standby since the ‘70s, this men’s and women’s boutique in a historic part of Seattle is achingly beautiful, with a grand spiral staircase, floor-to-ceiling windows, and meticulously merchandised displays—kind if like a mini Barneys, but a bit more boutique-y. Buyer and co-owner Jill Donnelly, who’s been responsible for the assortment for over 20 years, continues to do an impeccable job of introducing under-the-radar Euro lines and supporting tried-and-true faves like Kenzo, Co., and NLST. The end-of-season sales here are known to be epic.
Bellefleur3504 Fremont Place N., Fremont | 206.545.0222
Staffed with patient and knowledgeable fit experts and stocked almost exclusively with boutique European brands, this jewel box of a lingerie shop is a far cry from get-in-get-out department stores. While by no means cheap, you’ll feel good knowing that whether you go for a complete overhaul of your panty drawer or a single, barely-there, super-sexy set, it will be worth the investment.
Book Larder4252 Fremont Ave. N., Fremont | 206.397.4271
It goes without saying that a bookstore devoted entirely to the culinary arts is a bookstore after our own hearts. This is where you want to go to find every cookbook imaginable (both current and out of print) and it’s worth checking the calendar of events beforehand, too, as the cozy space often plays host to chef demos, signings, and cooking classes.
Essenza615 N. 35th St., Fremont | 206.547.4895
Much like sister store Les Amis, Essenza takes a decidedly editorial approach to its selection of home décor, bedding, fragrances, skincare, and jewelry: The plush bedding, Diptyque candles, Megan Thorne jewelry, Santa Maria Novella lotions and potions, and more are all thoughtfully handpicked (oftentimes from overseas) and merchandised in a way that feels both approachable and special. It’s the kind of place husbands, boyfriends, brothers, and friends can turn to for gifts when striking out isn’t an option.
Filson Flagship1741 1st Ave. S., Industrial District | 206.622.3147
Filson is a Seattle institution and fittingly, the iconic outdoor-wear brand’s flagship store takes up a whopping 6,000 square feet of a massive industrial building which coincidentally, is also home to the workshop where all the design and development magic happens. Even if you’re not the outdoorsy type and camping gear and fishing rods are not your thing, a visit is a must, if only to peruse the museum-like collection of local artifacts, though there’s also a wide selection of giftables and non-camping-related accessories to sift through, not to mention, a meat jerky vending machine.
Les Amis3420 Evanston Ave. N., Fremont | 206.632.2877
In a city famous for its temperamental weather, a chunky knit is indispensable, and Les Amis, the most apparel-focused of Becky Buford’s three local shops, is the place to get the perfect one—plus, Ulla Johnson dresses, edgy Isabel Marant separates, and layering basics from Vince, Nili Lotan, and Steven Alan. With its rustic hardwood floors and vintage knick-knacks throughout, the lived-in aesthetic of the shop itself is also distinctly Seattle.
Lucca Great Finds5332 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballard | 206.782.7337
Lucca is packed from floor to chandelier-filled ceiling with an undeniably reliable assortment of giftables for any and all occasions: Astier de Villatte candles, piles of stationery both vintage-looking and modern, clean beauty favorites from Herbivore Essentials, and the kind of out-there, one-of-a-kind curios that make perfect presents for tough-to-shop-for friends.
Moorea Seal1012 1st Ave., Downtown | 206.728.2523
Other than the simple, feminine-but-not-prissy interior and robust but not-too-cluttered displays, Moorea Seal (its namesake owner/buyer has been running the place since 2013) has another major thing going for it: A good portion, 7% to be exact, of the offering—tons of dainty jewelry, accessories, home goods, stationery, and giftables—is backed by some sort of philanthropic mission. A gold-plated opal ring, for example, supports Best Friends Animal Society, while the purchase of a hand-forged brass serving set contributes to the Washington Trails Association.
Peter Miller304 Alaska Way, Pioneer Square | 206.441.4114
Seattle is home to a healthy roster of excellent bookshops, of which design-focused Peter Miller is arguably the most notable. In addition to a library of tomes that span all manner of topics from architecture to landscape design to interior decorating, the shop carries a tight selection of design-y home décor, drafting supplies, and other related goods.
Red Ticking2802 E. Madison St., Madison Park | 206.322.9890
This artfully cluttered home-goods shop and its stacks of fabrics (both current and vintage), piles of throw pillows, and rows of furniture and tabletop accessories are an interior decorators dream, whether professional or amateur. The mastermind behind the edit is Pam Robinson, who puts her fashion background to good use by sourcing the wares directly from Europe—particularly useful to anyone interested in vintage but not willing to do the legwork to find the good stuff themselves.
Prism5208 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballard | 206.402.4706
Like so many Seattle mainstays, this little-bit-of-everything shop marches to the beat of its own drum. There’s clothing from obscure international labels, beautiful—and a little bit quirky—home goods, jewelry, gifts, and a generous assortment from Seattle-made fragrance line, Blackbird. It’s also the kind of shop where there’s plenty for dudes to rifle through (skater tees, hats, records, and Pendleton everything).
The Palm Room5336 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballard | 206.782.7256
This plant design studio goes well beyond your average succulent—although you're sure to find some of your favorites here, as well as stumble upon new varieties. Curated by owner Brandon Peterson, the shop has a just-right amount of options ranging from terrariums to kokedama (the moss balls) to larger indoor tropical plants. The Palm Room also carries a good edit of pots and less common plant vessels.
Paper Hammer1400 Second Ave., Downtown | 206.682.3820
Paper Hammer's amusing graphic cards are designed and handprinted in their warehouse studio in Tieton, Washington, a few hours outside of Seattle. You can find the cards in select stationery stores around the country but if you're in Seattle, go to their lovely shop downtown, which also carries gift-y items like coasters and letterpress tags with clever sayings.
KOBO602-608 S. Jackson St., Downtown | 206.381.3000
Part gallery, part shop, KOBO carries rare finds from the art and design world, i.e. vintage Japanese tableware, handmade birdhouses, landscape paintings, and special textiles. Their exhibits, which happen six times each year, highlight Japanese artists, as well as artists from the Northwest. The original KOBO location is in Capitol Hill. The second location downtown is located in the former space of the historic Higo Variety Store—and KOBO has kept many of the vintage furnishings in homage to the almost-century-old, family-run business.
Marine Area 72814 E. Madison St., Madison Park | 206.323.9141
Local photographer Jim Henkens has an eye for finding beautifully weathered vintage kitchenware and props for shoots, so it’s only natural he’d turn his love of a treasure hunt into a brick-and-mortar shop. Tucked into Madison Park, Henkens’ buy expertly mixes old (vintage ironstone dishes, glass beakers) and new (linen dish towels, cookbooks, and earthware from Colombia) in a light-filled space you could easily spend the better part of an hour exploring. In the back of the store is a full kitchen, where he hosts a dinner series with guest chefs, Q&As with cookbook authors, and cooking classes.
Homestead Plant Shop2202 E. Olive St., Central District | 206.466.4880
We have the design world (and Instagram’s) current obsession with fiddlehead figs to thank for the current craze for bringing the outdoors in. Husband-and-wife duo Ryan and Michele Tansey who hopped on the trend, first opening the Plant Shop as a pop-up last year before making things permanent this past spring. Here, they’ve stocked the space with a darling selection of little potted cacti and succulents, ferns, Ficuses—and just about anything else your green thumb could desire.
Pacific Standard Books2316 2nd Ave., Downtown
Hands-down one of the city’s coolest bookshops, Pacific Standard Books is located in a loft space in Belltown. Here, local creative Strath Shepard (formerly of Visionaire and V Magazine) has curated a rotating selection of hard-to-find art, fashion, and photography books.
Curtis Steiner5349 Ballard Ave. N.W., Ballard | 206.297.7116
Every display here is stunning and exquisite, whether it's an array of antique rings set on an origami-like book, or pendants, set out on cut paper. It's all an extension of Curtis Steiner's imagination, who collects beautiful pieces and makes them as well. His own impossibly dainty jewelry is mixed in with what he sources. The whole shop will make you want to hold your breath.