While shopping online is a highly convenient aspect of the modern era, some of Seattle’s most renowned retailers are well worth a visit in person thanks to in-store experiences that you simply can’t replicate on a computer.
At co-op outfitter REI’s (222 Yale Ave N) flagship in the South Lake Union neighborhood, for example, you can tackle the Seattle Pinnacle Climbing Wall, a 65-foot ascent with tip-top views of the city skyline and nearby mountains. Classes, open climbs, and private instruction mean climbers of all skill levels can participate, and of course staff can help you find the right gear to fit the occasion. Similarly, this store features a gravel mountain biking trail on-site, so you can truly acquire a feel for the suspension, grip, and other important elements of a bike on-site before you buy.
Footwear expert Brooks (3400 Stone Way N) maintains its only retail location at the edge of Fremont and Wallingford, just north of downtown Seattle and beautiful Lake Union. If you want to find the type of shoe best-suited to your body and jogging form, ask the staff at the Brooks Trailhead to perform a free gait analysis. Once they’ve assessed the way you run on a treadmill, they’ll be superbly equipped to guide you to your new favorite pair of kicks—which, naturally, you’ll want to break in on the paved Burke-Gilman Trail just steps from the store.
Filson (*1741 First Ave S) has honed its outdoor adventure gear for more than a century, and the company’s 6,000-square-foot flagship in SoDo, south of downtown, shows you how and where the magic happens. Reserve your spot in advance for a free tour of the factory, and you’ll observe firsthand the care that goes into making the high-quality hiking, camping, and fishing supplies that have kept the company at the top of its game since 1897.
Sometimes you need a little break between departments when you’re shopping for the coolest clothes, shoes, and accessories, which is why Nordstrom’s (500 Pine St) downtown location supplies its own resting places. Sit a spell at Habitant for a glass of wine, a creative cocktail, and small plates, or fuel up with heartier fare like sandwiches, burgers, and steak at Nordstrom Grill. You’ll leave feeling refreshed and ready for another round of fashion-finding.
And if you’re an avid Pop! collector, you can’t leave the Emerald City without a trip to Funko (*2802 Wetmore Ave, Everett), whose HQ occupies a 90,000-square-foot historic building in Everett, Seattle’s neighbor to the north. From toys and big-headed vinyl figures to home goods and clothing, this pop culture paradise provides endless souvenirs as well as ample photo opportunities, including a full-size replica of the Batmobile with an open seat just for you; larger-than-life Harry Potter characters; and a Deadpool statue on top of a life-size Chimichanga food truck. You can even build your own unique Pop! creation using a wide variety of available body parts and accessories, meaning you could bring to life an obscure character from your favorite show or immortalize yourself in cartoony form.
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