Best Artisan Shopping Districts in the Northwest

The Northwest is known for its unique style, and when it comes to shopping, there’s no exception. While you’ll find plenty of malls, this region is also home to a number of fabulous artisan shopping districts – here’s a look at the best of the best.

Pike Place Market

While some outsiders might think Pike Place Market is a place targeted at tourists, it’s arguably one of the most exciting markets in the country. While you will find kitschy souvenirs and the like, along with fresh produce, flowers and seafood, there are also rows and rows of vendors selling unique foods, handmade arts and crafts and vintage goods. There’s also wide range of entertainment to be enjoyed, and usually more than a few eccentric characters.

Dean Moller
photo credit: @pikeplacemarket

Dean Moller, pictured above, re-purposes old cigar boxes using “fine carpentry and electrical wizardry,” into “beautiful stringed instruments that sound as incredible as they look!” as the market notes on its Instagram account.

Historic Ballard Avenue, Seattle

If you love boutiques, head to Ballard Avenue NW, just north of downtown Seattle where you’ll find an abundance of small indie shops, funky jewelry and all sorts of stylish hipster aware along with must-have, unique home decor. Some of the standouts include the dramatic reproduction costume jewels at Filthy Rich of Seattle, and Monster Art and Clothing, renowned for its quirky oddities like spirited toe socks and even a bronze meat cleaver necklace.

Fremont Neighborhood, Seattle

The Fremont neighborhood has been called the “center of the universe for vintage wear and statement accessories.” Check out the underground classic Fremont Vintage Mall – a highlight here is Atlas Clothing, known of its vintage apparel that ranges from 1930s flapper chic to the hippie styles of the ’70s. Fremont also hosts the famous Fremont Sunday Market each week, year round, with plenty of rare hidden treasures just waiting to be found along with artisan goods, flowers and delicious farm fresh foods.

Lounge Lizard Vintage
photo credit: @loungelizardvintage

Portland is home to nearly 50 vintage shops at last count, attracting visitors from around the globe. There are also plenty of places to purchase unique handcrafted items too.

Hawthorne District, Portland

The Hawthorne District in Portland is truly not-to-be-missed, not only is the people watching some of the best in the city, it also offers some of the best shopping an eclectic mix of boutiques and independent shops. You’ll find just about anything and everything your heart desires, and even things you didn’t know what wanted, like that incredibly cool but odd retro 1950s lamp at the Lizard Lounge or an awesome vintage stereo you can play your classic albums on. Hawthorne Boulevard is also home to one of the famous Powell’s book stores, with over 10,000 square feet of retail space and more than 200,000 used and new books.

Alberta Arts District, Portland

On funky Northeast Alberta Street you can shop for local art, handmade crafts, clothing and more. Antler showcases both contemporary art and handmade crafts, while Best Food Forward features stylish handbags, jewelry and other local and handmade accessories. Check out Tumbleweed for its fantastic selection of locally made dresses and vintage slips.

North Mississippi and Williams, Portland

On these walkable North Portland streets you can shop for clothes, toys, vinyl and even gourmet salt. Mississippi Records, specializes in international, blues and soul recordings, and offers turntables, listening stations and even its own line of releases on vinyl and cassette. Paxton Gate is known for its exotic plants, taxidermy, animal skulls, curios and mounted insects for the Victorian naturalist.

Lithia Artisans Market, Ashland

If you’re in Ashland on a weekend between mid-April and mid-November, check out the Lithia Artisans Market. an outdoor market featuring handcrafted art and craft by regional artisans and artists.

Hood River Saturday Market, Hood River

The Saturday Market is located in Hood River is a perfect excuse to visit the magnificent Columbia River Gorge. The market showcases work and products from some of the finest artisans and growers you’ll find anywhere in the country, a long with live music and other activities.

Cedar Street Bridge Public Market, Sandpoint

Cedar Street Bridge Market, Sandpoint

In Idaho, Sandpoint’s new Cedar Street Bridge Public Market boasts multiple boutique shops, local artisans, bistro and coffee shops and entertainment.

Ketchum Farmers’ Market, Ketchum

The Sun Valley/Ketchum area is great for shopping too, including Ketchum’s Farmers Market held downtown from early July through early October. There are the usual produce and flower offerings along with gourmet fare, health products and lots of artisan goods, including pottery, jewelry, handmade wood products, items for your pets and more.