Trippy Seattle - Shopping
Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue... the following are not the greenest acres, but there are any number of commercial areas with plenty of good eats, street music (or not), plus hustle and bustle. Yes, you guess correct: these are the places where you can shop and amass more crap for your pile back home! Yee haw!... or just get a coffee and save the planet: people-watching is free.
- The Ave. - University Avenue in the University District. THE student strip. Many cool little stores, The University Bookstore!!!, ethnic restaurants, street punks who might equally return to a mansion or a storefront doorway at night, etc.
- Broadway - straddling Capitol Hill and running north-south, sometimes Broadway is the freak show. At other times it's a homeless row for (sometimes-pseudo) street kids. If nothing else, it's great for people-watching, hairdo- (and hairdo-coloring-) watching, pierced-body-parts-watching, etc. And there's no shortage of hipster (or trying to be) little stores, too.
- 1st Ave. - More upscale shopping to the north, more down and dirty (ever less so) to the south. Great frou-frou restaurants all around. Look for Metzker Maps, a personal favorite.
- Pike Place Market - the granddaddy shopping stop. Fresh produce, seafood, tea, spice, coffee. Curiosity shops, food stands, artist stalls. You can get pleasantly lost in this massive turn-of-the-century building - that's not a bad thing. For all its hype, you'll actually find a lot of cool stuff there. Oh, the original Starbucks, too.
- Design companies on southern Western Ave. - Caught between 1st Ave and the waterfront's Alaskan Way, you'll merely find just the coolest furniture stores in town here, that's all...
- International District - authentic Asian goods, from food to knick-knacks. There are smells here that remind me of living in S. Korea back when (like early-70s back when, when S. Korea was still in the "Third World"). There is roughly a Chinese area (the core area), a Japanese one (north of Jackson - check out the Panama Hotel Cafe display), and a Viet Namese one (east over I-5 centering on 12th and Jackson). Beyond those you'll find the random Thai restaurant and whatnot. If not, the Asian superstore Uwajamiya (with a focus on its supermarket) has it all, too.
- Elliot Bay Book Company - the best and richest (in-depth) book store in Seattle, this gem was long formerly in Pioneer Square. Now it's on Broadway in Capitol Hill. I miss its anchor to the PS area... but good luck, EBBC!
- REI Flagship Store - in the Eastlake/Cascade neighborhood fronting I-5, this is simply the coolest store for anyone who likes outdoor gear. It has a rain room to test rain gear, hiking and biking trails, a waterfall and a massive fireplace, the biggest free-standing climbing rock in the world, etc. NOT cheap, but thorough. A couple of other outfitters can be found nearby, too.
- Westlake District - The heart of the corporate Seattle shopping district. Your outdoor/indoor mall. But best of all is the scene out front - street musicians, activists, coffee shops, the fountain, bums,...
- Ballard - Formerly the Scandanavian and fisherman's locale, now they just pay homage to that while steadily moving toward boutique barfdom and ever-more-hoity-toity restaurants. Still, some cool things and good eats can be reasonably found, too - for now. Check out the new-ish library (north of Market) with the living roof, then wander over to the skateboard park at Ballard Commons (with its ground-squirting fountains) kittykorner from it. Both Market and Ballard Avenues form the heart and bulk of what there is, with Ballard running into Market at an off-kilter T-intersection.
- Fremont CBD - More antiques and kitsch than you can thow a stick at. Or poke your eye out with. Even some boutique stuff to further gild the former hippie Fremont's soul. Then get run over by a bike when you walk down to the water and cross the Burke-Gilman Trail. "ON YOUR LEFT!" And your right. And rolling over your forehead. Seriously, some folks just don't get that the Burke-Gilman isn't the place to train for the next ironman/criterion competition. What it IS is a place for passive-aggressive behavior, something Seattle in particular generally excels at.
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