Seattle is well-known for its waterfront, weather, the space needle and coffee, but what often goes unnoticed is a thriving market for antiques. You’ll find traditional items such as 18th and 19th C American and European furniture as well as Asian art and antiques, reflecting Seattle’s diverse cultural heritage. Two particular areas in downtown Seattle offer a concentration of shops, allowing you to see a lot in one perfect day.
Pike Place Market. Begin your day at the original Starbucks for coffee and pastry, or Three Girls Bakery. Both are located across the street from the Market itself. If you need a full breakfast, visit Café Campagne on Pine Street or Lowell’s in the Market.
Then start your quest at the Market entrance at 1st Avenue and Pike Street. Pike Place Market is a warren of shops, including several antiques and collectibles vendors on the lower levels. Look for the Seattle/Pioneer Square map of antique shops in the first place you visit.
If you are shopping for small collectibles like teacups, pots, cruets, and perfume bottles, start at Antique Touch. This shop also boasts a collection of about 2500 salt & pepper sets, including ceramics from occupied Japan. There are quirky sets, like Grandma and Grandpa in their easy chairs, as well as more traditional pairs.
Nearby is Golden Age Collectibles, featuring vintage comic books, posters, and games. On the same level, you’ll find Market Coins, where you can have your old coins appraised or find some to complete your own collection. This shop also has political memorabilia.
Close to the Market, on Stewart Street, Antiques at Pike Place offers items that date from the Victorian era through mid-20th C modern. This is really an antiques mall, with more than 100 vendors displaying a wide variety of items. You’ll find vintage Eisenberg rhinestone Christmas tree pins, estate jewelry, Art Deco lamps, and vintage clothing.
The Seattle Antiques Market, down the Market Hillclimb on Alaskan Way, is worth a separate visit; this mall features larger items, such as bookcases, bed frames, and fixtures. You may even find a vintage wooden phone booth!
Pioneer Square. Climb back up and walk or take a city bus along 1st Avenue to Pioneer Square. Have lunch at the café in Elliott Bay Books (don’t get lost in the bookstore!) or at the Grand Central Bakery and Café, also on 1st Avenue.
Start your tour of this area at Fairlook Antiques, on S. Washington Street. This lower-level shop features vintage photos, including daguerreotypes, tintypes, and snapshots from the early 20th C.
Back on 1st Avenue, stop in at Cuttysark Nautical Antiques. The collector of marine antiques will find plenty to intrigue: ship’s lights of all kinds, US Navy china, flags, and a Chinese diving helmet from the 1950s. The helmet looks like something out of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.
There are several galleries and shops that feature photography in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. Flury and Co. specialize in Native American art from the Northwest Coast, Alaska, the Southwest, and the Great Plains. Especially notable is the selection of photographs by Edward S Curtis, who spent 25 years documenting traditional Native American culture. This gallery also displays Native American artifacts dating from the 19th C.
Settlers from China, Japan, and Korea are an important part of Seattle’s history. Their legacy is evident in the shops that feature fine art, antiques, and collectibles from that part of the world. At Chidori Antiques on S. Jackson Street, you will find Chinese blue and white export china from the Ming dynasty (15th C) as well as pottery sculptures that date from the Tang dynasty (7th-10th C). There are also scroll paintings from Japan’s Edo period.
Around the corner on Occidental, stop in at John Yaconnetti Antiques to look at the latest finds from England, France, and Italy. Collectors of American pottery will want to stop at Laguna Vintage Pottery on S. Washington. This shop specializes in the pottery design styles of the 20th C, such as Rookwood, Art Deco and Art Nouveau, and hosts a fine display of Roseville.
Finish your tour at the Pioneer Square Antique Mall. You’ll find room after room of collectibles: estate jewelry, ceramics and china, postcards and books. Remember the classic pin-up art of Vargas and Petty? You’ll find sets of their cards here. And how much would you guess your vintage Lone Ranger lunch box is worth? Or your original Barbie doll? These are only a few of the surprising finds around every corner.
You’ll be finishing up your perfect day of antiquing just as the nightlife in Pioneer Square is getting started.
What and Where:
Starbucks (1912 Pike Pl; 206-448-8762)
Three Girls Bakery (1512 Pike Place; 206-622-1045)
Café Campagne (1600 Post Alley; 206-728-2233)
Lowell’s (1519 Pike Pl; 206-622-2036)
Pike Place Market
Antique Touch (1501 Pike Pl, #318; 206-622-6499)
Golden Age Collectibles (1501 Pike Pl, #410; 206-622-9799)
Market Coins (1501 Pike Place, #422; 206-624-9681)
Antiques at Pike Place (92 Stewart St; 206-441-9643)
Seattle Antiques Market (1400 Alaskan Way; 206-623-6115)
Elliott Bay Café (101 S Main; 206- 624-6600)
Grand Central Bakery and Café (214 1st Ave S; 206-622-3644)
Fairlook Antiques (81-1/2 S Washington St; 206-622-5130)
Cuttysark Nautical Antiques (320 1st Ave S; 206-262-1265)
Flury & Co (322 1st Ave S; 206-587-0260)
Chidori Antiques (108 S Jackson St; 206-343-7736)
John Yaconnetti Antiques (322 Occidental Ave S; 206-284-4967)
Laguna Vintage Pottery (116 S Washington St; 206-682-6162)
Pioneer Square Antique Mall (602 1st Ave; 206-624-1164)
Seattle’s Metro bus system is free in the area between S. Jackson Street and Battery Street along 1st Avenue. Get specific information and schedules here.
Marty Byrne is a writer and marketing project manager in Seattle, Washington. She enjoys experiencing different cultures and has traveled extensively in Europe, Latin America, and Asia. She also enjoys being a tourist in her own town, as there is always something new to discover.