Best of Seattle

The Markets, Shops, and Stores Well Worth Your While

Seattle Weekly readers share their favorite points of purchase.

Best Boutique

Monster: Art, Clothing, and Gifts Ballard’s Monster connects those in need of the perfect gift or look with enough Seattle artists that they are bound to find something just right. The shop features up to 60 local makers at a time, and participates in the monthly Ballard Art Walk, which it celebrated last February with a “grand STILL OPEN party” after the shop faced a period of uncertainty until changing hands to current owner Rosalie Gale. Stop by the shop to support your local artists or perhaps pick up a pair of funky socks. 5000 20th Ave. N.W., 789-0037. First Runner-Up: LeFrock Vintage Second Runner-Up: Glasswing

Best Clothing Resale

Buffalo Exchange The very first Buffalo Exchange was opened in Tucson, Ariz., back in 1974. Now there are 49 stores in 20 states, including two in Seattle (one in the U District, one in Ballard), and it still ranks as one of the coolest and most affordable shops for stocking your wardrobe with things you’d actually wear. Funky boots, leather jackets, frilly dresses, scarves galore—the place has everything, at starving-college-student prices, and will also buy your discards for store credit or cash. And if you can’t be bothered to heft your bags across town and wait in line for a buyer to look at them, now you can even sell your stuff online: The Buffalo Exchange Sell by Mail program lets you log in and request a prepaid UPS bag to be sent to your home. Put your (clean!) used clothing in it, drop it off at the nearest UPS store, and wait for the cash to roll in. Various locations. First Runner-Up: Lifelong Thrift Store Second Runner-Up: Crossroads Trading Co.

Best Farmers Market

Ballard Farmers Market In 2016, the Ballard Farmers Market extended its site along historic Ballard Avenue to 22nd Avenue, making it the largest farmers market in the state with 150 vendor stalls. Open year-round, the market has all the produce you could desire, as well as fish, beer, cider, and wine. It was almost obliterated by the “Missing Link” Trail Project, but was ultimately saved, which is good because it is visited by half a million people a year, generating $4.5 million in sales—which stays in the local economy. First Runner-Up: Pike Place Market Farmers Market Second Runner-Up: Columbia City Farmers Market

Best Grocery Store

Trader Joe’s Trader Joe’s is where you buy your groceries if you’re on a budget but still want decent food and want to interact with a human being while acquiring the items to stock your fridge and pantry for the week. It’s cheaper than the Co-op, happier than Safeway, and more reliable than Grocery Outlet. You will not believe Trader Joe’s’ variety of chocolate-dipped nuts and organic TV dinners. Go on a weekday during work hours if you can, to avoid shopper rush hour. Various locations. First Runner-Up: Central Co-op Second Runner-Up: PCC Natural Markets

Best Home Furnishings

Reclaim Decor Reclaim Décor launched in 2014 to strike back against the furniture industrial complex. Originally focused on fine consignment pieces, Reclaim has phased out secondhand furniture and now carries new furniture from thoroughly vetted producers who are often based in North America and create furniture that doesn’t exploit the environment, the people who make it, or the people who buy it (it’s guaranteed to last for 10 to 20 years). Reclaim moved to a new location in Belltown last year. First Runner-Up: Loft 63 Second Runner-Up: West Elm

Best of Pike Place Market

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese Since 2003, it’s been fun to watch Beecher’s Handmade Cheese being made in the huge open vats behind the picture window at the corner of Pike Street. Equally good in a recipe or on its own, with a dozen or so variations on offer in addition to their classic Flagship, it’s even more fun to eat. Also, their signature mac ’n’ cheese is one of the best quick and cheap lunches the Market has to offer. 1600 Pike Place First Runner-Up: Can Can Second Runner-Up: Three Girls Bakery

Best Sex Shop

Babeland Babeland takes all the taboo out of sex toys. With the goal to make sex shops more women-friendly since opening in 1993, Babeland is all about being sex-positive, and not just when it comes to putting batteries correctly into a new vibrator. They have constant programming (like a night dedicated to blow-job tips), raise funds for Planned Parenthood, and provide quality products. As of July, Babeland was acquired by San Francisco’s sex-positive company Good Vibrations. This change of ownership comes with a bigger retail imprint that will allow Babeland to serve its community on a larger scale. While bigger is not always better, we’re excited to see what’s to come. 707 E. Pike St., 328-2914. First Runner-Up: Wild at Heart Second Runner-Up: Castle Megastore

Best Tailor

Tran’s Tailoring Like many people, you may have an old pair of hand-knit socks given to you by your grandmother, or perhaps a neon balaclava you kept as a souvenir from your first Ecstasy-driven bank robbery. Or maybe your one pair of trousers has developed a hole in the crotch from repeatedly mounting and dismounting your bicycle. Whatever the garment, whatever the sentimental or practical value it affords, rest assured: Tran’s can patch it for you. 2520 Beacon Ave. S., 328-2013. First Runner-Up: Adam Tailoring & Alterations Second Runner-Up: City Custom Tailor & Dry Cleaners

Best Tattoo Shop

Slave to the Needle The highly talented artists at Slave to the Needle create breathtaking, colorful, sharp tattoos that almost look like special effects on your body. If you’ve seen a tattoo in Seattle that made you go, “Wow, how is that even possible?” There’s a good chance that this is where it came from. Each artist at Slave to the Needle’s Wallingford and Ballard locations has unique specialties and skills, and folks are encouraged to review their previous work to find the best fit. Pieces by these artists are routinely featured in tattoo media. Various locations. First Runner-Up: Blue Geisha Tattoo Second Runner-Up: Two Birds Tattoo

Best Toy Store

Archie McPhee You know that miscellaneous corner of a retail store? The one with shelves of bacon Band-Aids, playfully offensive Jesus memorabilia, and other useless stuff that’s sure to make your friends giggle and your nana blush? All those knickknacks and absurdities are supplied by Seattle’s own proprietor of weird, Archie McPhee. Based in Seattle since 1983, Archie McPhee has only one brick-and-mortar store, but maintains a global presence. Part of that can be attributed to social media, where items like the store’s creepy, tiny rubber hands have become an immortal fad. Consequently, it’s become a big tourist destination, as well as a local favorite. 1300 N. 45th St., 297-0240. First Runner-Up:Top Ten Toys Second Runner-Up:Magic Mouse Toys

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