If you’re looking for unique gift ideas this holiday season, look no further than Pioneer Square. Seattle’s historic neighborhood has a few surprising, eclectic retail shops that offer original gift ideas.
For the hostess with the mostest
Stop by Glasshouse Studio – the oldest glassblowing studio in the Pacific Northwest – for hand blown glass ornaments made in-house. Oftentimes you can get these delightful ornaments as a package deal – by a set and give one to the host at every holiday party you’re invited to. Bonus ideas: So you can’t cook and you’ve been invited to a holiday dinner party? Pre-order a festive U-Bake or We Bake pie from Grand Central Bakery. Or pick up a bottle of imported Japanese rice wine at Sake Nomi – sake expert Johnnie Stroud will even help you through the selection process.
For the fashionista in your life
The Clothing Company in Pioneer Square has what you might expect: CLOTHING. Clothing for young women and men at affordable prices. The store rotates inventory weekly and has all the right accessories, such as scarves and jewelry. Give the gift of fashion! Bonus shopping ideas: Check Tarboo Inc for quality men’s shirts made right in Pioneer Square; Rivet & Sway’s local showroom for designer women’s eyeglass frames; Ragazzi’s Flying Shuttle for fine silk scarves and ties; Diva Dollz for a standout holiday dress; and Utilikilts for a truly freeing wardrobe experience.
For the chocoholic in your life
Intrigue Chocolate Co. is the place to go for anyone who has a chocolate addiction on your list. But this isn’t just your average Halloween candy chocolate. Tasting these special artisan chocolates at Intrigue is something akin to tasting wine: you are encouraged to take your time, breathe, and let the chocolate melt in your mouth – “let the chocolate tell its story.” Truffle flavors are diverse and change seasonally: mojito, ghost chili, sage, scotch whiskey, carrot, and coconut ginger have all been on the menu. Bonus idea: Pair your gift of chocolate with Italian coffee beans from Caffe Umbria.
For the Pacific Northwestern-er in your life
Nature’s specializes in locally-made scrimshaw objects – the shopkeeper’s own father engraves them and the crowning piece is a gigantic engraved whale bone piece that adorns the counter. Bold Native American carvings cover one wall of the shop while the rest of the store is dedicated to more Pacific Northwest, Native American, and decorative artifacts. Can you get more local than that? Bonus tip: Get your Three Wolf Moon t-shirts here!
For the art-lover in your life
Mornin’ Noonan Night studio is located inside the Tashiro Kaplan All-Arts Building in Pioneer Square. Its proprietor, artist Barbara Noonan, is a master of mark making. Choose one of her pastel paintings and get it professionally framed at Gallery Frames, also located in the neighborhood. Lately, Barbara has been painting baseball, but her work includes landscapes, still-lifes, and portraiture. Bonus tip: Pioneer Square is home to the First Thursday Art Walk, so there are plenty of galleries and studios to choose from. (New exhibitions generally start on First Thursdays, but galleries are open and free all month!)
For the bibliophile in your life
Do some sleuthing and find out whom your giftee’s favorite mystery author is for this one. Seattle Mystery Bookshop regularly has author signings in-shop and will often have leftover signed copies. These signed copies don’t cost more than their unsigned counterparts, but their brownie points factor is off the charts. Bonus book ideas: Pioneer Square is home to a few used bookstores (Globe Bookstore, Arundel Books) where you’re bound to find an out-of-print treasure or two. Pioneer Square is also home to a few REALLY used bookstores where you can find gorgeous vintage books (Wessel & Lieberman Booksellers) or give an old book new life (Ars Obscura Bookbinding Co.).
For the vintage junkie in your life
It may be unfair to have all the fun, but go ahead and take Macklemore’s $20 “Thrift Shop” challenge in Pioneer Square. Find an outfit for the vintage lover on your list at any of the thrift shops in the neighborhood: Bon Voyage Vintage, Vintage & Moore, Something Old Something New (now Pioneer Thrift), and 7 Ate 9 Clothing.
For the nostalgic sports fan in your life
Ebbets Field Flannels makes 1950s-era wool flannel baseball jerseys. Each team jersey is carefully researched and hand-crafted down to the patches, lettering, and trim. The nostalgic sports fan on your list will remember this present for a long, long time. Bonus tip: Pioneer Square is next to CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field, so naturally there are plenty of team stores in the neighborhood to choose from: Sports Den, Seattle Team Shop, SODO Sports, and Seahawks Pro Shop.
For the best friend in your life…no, your other best friend
Pioneer Pet specializes in local, responsible and healthy pet foods, treats, supplements, toys and provisions. This little underground pet feed and supply store has a unique assortment of quality products for your four-legged friend. There’s even a counter full of fancy dog cookies and a catnip bar. Yes, that’s right: a catnip bar. Don’t forget to say hello to the friendliest shop cats in the city: Ivar and Vito.
For the lumberjack in your life
Try E. Smith Mercantile’s Caruthers Canyon Backpacker’s Cologne. Made by Juniper Ridge, which prides itself on “real fragrances that evoke the places we love.” This cologne “rearranges your insides and takes you away to the quietness of wilderness”. If the Paul Bunyan in your life tends to stare wistfully at Mount Rainier when supposedly no one is looking, E. Smith Mercantile has you covered. While you’re at it, throw in a pack of tasty Single Malt Toothpicks (because no one flosses in the wilderness).
For the kids or the kid-at-heart
No holiday shopping trip would be complete without getting something fun for the kids on your list. Stop by Magic Mouse Toys and say hello to shop proprietor Gilbert H. Gorilla, PhD (Stanford, summa cum cuddly, 1977). Stuff your stockings with flying monkeys, nano blocks, and pig poppers. Get lost in the jigsaw puzzle and stuffed animal sections. There are toys for all ages and interests: Legos, baby toys, science kits, children’s books, board games, and more. Whether Magic Mouse is at the end or beginning of your shopping trip in Pioneer Square, this toy-wonderland will get you into the holiday spirit.