The Seattle International District is a favorite area of the city for me to visit. Although it’s not huge, like some major cities, there are lots of great restaurants, cafes, and bakeries to try and some neat shopping too. It’s a fun option if you’re looking for a new area to explore in Seattle. Here are some of my favorites:
Fuji Bakery – Imagine a Japanese bakery with French/European inspiration. You’ll find lots of wonderful baked goods, many of which you’ve probably never had before.
85 degrees Celsius - This Taiwanese bakery is part of a large national chain, which I know kind of takes away from the charm of a place for some people. If you're able to look beyond the chain aspect, this is a great spot to discover Taiwanese bakery treats.
Dough Zone Dumpling House - There are so many things to enjoy on the menu here and the cost is reasonable. It can tend to get really busy, resulting in a long wait. Check in on the Yelp App before you arrive to shorten your time waiting in line.
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot - This is such a perfect spot for a chilly, rainy Seattle day. A delicious, generously-sized tabletop pot of Hot Pot, which if you're not familiar, is a pot of delicious broth with lots of meat and veggies you add in to the pot and it's all cooked up right there on your table. You can choose any meat/fish and/or veggies you like. If you like spicy things, I recommend the spicy broth, and if spice isn't you're thing, the classic broth is a great choice too.
Asian Food Markets:
Uwajimaya - I've visited a number of Asian food markets in the U.S. and I've never found one better than Uwajimaya. This market is really large, carries food items representing just about every Asian culture as well as some European items as well. It also houses a large household goods department that carries dishes, kitchen items, electronic kitchen items, linens, party supplies, and beauty supplies. There's also an wonderful Japanese bookstore and a large food court. Just a little note: Although the food court at Uwajimaya is tempting, I've never been wowed by my meals there. They've always been just ok. Instead, I'd recommend trying a restaurant elsewhere in the International District.
There are several more little food markets in the International District. I recommend strolling around and seeing what's available. Although the area is much smaller than other big-city China towns, there are still some charming little mom and pop owned shops with beautiful Asian produce lining the sidewalk.
Gifts and Household Goods: (My recommendations range from the high end to the dollar store here:)
Kobo at Higo - This gallery and shop is on the higher end but offers a curated selection of goods ranging from a few dollars each to hundreds of dollars each. Everything from art to books to unique household items. The service here is lovely and I have found some wonderful treasures here.
Momo - Located directly next door to Kobo lies this little shop specializing in clothing, gift, and household items and the service is wonderful.
Throughout Japan you will find 100 Yen shops that are much like our U.S. Dollar stores, but in my opinion, leap years ahead in selection. When Colin and I were visiting our friend Miyuki just outside of Osaka, we were talking about 100 Yen shops and I told her we have Daiso in the U.S. She kind of rolled her eyes, smiled, and led me to a 100 Yen shop down the street from her house that was two stories and pretty much the BEST EVER! With that being said, although we don't have anything on that level of greatness in the U.S., I still think Daiso is pretty great. You'll find Japanese household items such as dishes, baking supplies, organizational items, party supplies, craft supplies, paper goods, and candy. In the good 'ol days, everything in the store was $1.50 and pretty much still is, but there are some items now costing as much as $4. All in all, It's definitely worth a stop.
Stay-at-home mom, Serena Thompson, dreamed of creating a fun and happy little event to sell her vintage and handmade goods. In 2002, she and some friends held the first event in her neighbor’s barn. The sale became wildly popular and began attracting visitors from across the country and recognition in national magazines. Today the event fills the Spokane County Fairgrounds and features hundreds of creatively and carefully curated spaces filled with vintage and handmade goods. Many describe it as a bucket list event, magical, inspirational, and the best vintage & handmade fair in the country. Serena describes it as the happiest on earth.