For those times when the picture at the Gum Wall doesn’t seem to do the experience justice or the hand-made soap you brought home from Pike Place Market eventually runs out, souvenir shops may be just what you’re looking for. If you’re after something kitsch, unique, weird, or anything to remind you of your time in the Emerald City, check out these places before you leave town.
As the 33rd most-visited tourist attraction in the world, you can bet Pike Place Market offers souvenirs. From key chains to a First Starbucks Mug to jewelry hand-crafted in the Pacific Northwest, it’s hard not to find something you’ll love. Though a few specific souvenir shops in the market may be highlighted further down, there’s really too many to name them all, so “get lost and discover.”
A shop and gallery, KOBO translates from Japanese to “artist’s workspace”. Focused on Japanese and Northwest fine crafts both traditional and contemporary, this is a shop to visit for a less stereotypical, more unique souvenir. With products made from all types of material, including paper, metal, and clay, KOBO practices the philosophy of minimalism, of valuing quality over quantity.
For out-of-the-norm knick-knacks, make your way to the Waterfront for Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, open since 1899. Through five generations, the Standley family has kept it interesting, if nothing else. From four-legged chickens to mummies, this shop will offer unique souvenirs – as in no-one-will-want-to-touch-it, creep-out-your-little-brother, type of “unique” souvenirs! And everyone needs a little bit of that in their life. Not your cup of tea? What if you knew that this place attracts over one million visitors every year; wouldn’t that at least pique your curiosity?
The Seattle Shirt Company is one of the go-to, traditional souvenir shops. With hats and shirts that shout “Seattle, WA”, magnets with funny slogans, and Seattle-related sports, bands, and landmark paraphernalia, the place is pretty much a souvenir goldmine. They now have a second location as well on Pier 55.
Made In Washington works specifically with local artists and small businesses. Since 1984, they have grown to work with 250 vendors in the region, selling cards, pottery, jewelry, and gift baskets, among other products. Check them out to purchase a piece of Northwest inspiration that will stay with you forever. They have five locations, two of which are in the city of Seattle, and one of which is at the Seattle-Tacoma airport for any last-minute souvenir purchases!
Actually part of the Space Needle – in the base to be specific – the SpaceBase Gift Shop is just about as awesomely kitschy as it gets. Posters, puzzles, prints, umbrellas, blankets, mugs, hats, pens, key chains, snow globes: the list goes on. You have to walk through it as you exit the Space Needle, so it’s on the way during most tourists’ first visit to Seattle. The story of where you got the souvenir is practically a souvenir in-and-of itself!
Self-described as the place for the “thoughtful procrastinator”, Portage Bay Goods maintains that it offers gift items that make you look like you put in as much effort as you planned on – but didn’t get around to. An enthusiastic supporter of local arts, this store features monthly artists, and partners with both the Fremont Art Walk and the Fremont Third Thursday. For eclectic crafts, this is the place to go.
Simply Seattle is probably as accurate as it gets for the name of this shop. Including Seattle-specific sports gear, souvenirs, apparel, and gift baskets, you can also shop by theme: Bigfoot, weed, or Space Needle. Head to one of their two locations if you’re looking to show some Emerald City pride. From Seattle skyline strapped socks to Northwestern artisan snacks, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for – and then some.