Seattle made quite the impression on us. We loved the atmosphere, the people (and their dogs!), the food, the history, and the art. Seattle took its spot as one of our favorite cities almost immediately.
With iconic sites like Pike Place Market’s Gum Wall, Underground Seattle, and the first Starbucks store, we tried to find some equally iconic souvenirs.
Our home is full of items that bring back memories and start conversations, so we can relive our travels every day!
1. Pike Place Market Apron-
Pike Place Market is known for its fresh fish, fruit, veggies, and flowers. Unfortunately, these items don’t keep for very long. So, what can you buy that’s a perfect reminder of the market? An apron!
These aprons, sold in the market by Marketwear, come in a variety of colors and lengths, with an appropriate image of fish, vegetables, and flowers screen-printed on the front. The clock is set to reflect the current year (long hand on the 1, short hand on the 6 for 2016).
Many vendors at Pike Place Market wear these exact aprons. We heard that some of the florists are wearing the ones they bought back in the 70s!
2. Seattle Gum Wall Glass Magnet-
One of Seattle’s most popular tourist spots is the Gum Wall in Post Alley at Pike Place Market.
This unique, brightly-colored, slightly disgusting piece of art refuses to go away. Even after a recent cleaning, the gum wall is back with a vengeance! The people have spoken, and the verdict is that the gum wall will live on forever.
Of course, taking a piece of old, chewed gum as a souvenir is not an option. Well, I suppose it COULD BE, but…ew. We were totally satisfied with just a photo of us posing in front of the rainbow wall of chewiness…until I came across the booth for KOBO Art Garden.
Joshua Swanson and Motoko Hayashi, owners of KOBO Art Garden, create unique souvenir magnets that look exactly like the balled-up, chewed gum on the Gum Wall….but it’s made from GLASS!
Be sure to pick up one as a keepsake (we even matched ours to the color of gum we left on the wall!). You’re sure to remember you Seattle trip every time you see it on your fridge, and talk about a conversation piece!
3. First Starbucks Store Mug-
Seattle is known for its coffee culture, and most people know that it is the birthplace of Starbucks. So, it goes without saying that the first Starbucks store, located right in the ever-popular Pike Place Market, is a hit with tourists.
We stopped in for some coffee and picked up a souvenir mug. Not only does it have “The First Starbucks Store” and the location on it, but it is one of few Starbucks items that still depicts the original logo– in all of her boobalicious siren glory!
4. Seattle Underground Book-
The Seattle Underground makes for an incredible, unexpected tour. Walking through this unique location, which is mostly unused and untouched these days, we learned the story of how the Seattle as we know it today came to be…and it has a lot to do with their toilet situation!
It’s true! Seattle is totally built one story above it’s original street level. This brought the homes and business (and their plumbing, of course) above sea level.
Bill Speidel, who realized the importance of preserving Seattle’s underground, it’s history, and sharing this information with others via the first underground tours, just so happened to be a writer.
So, we picked up his book, Seattle Underground , to learn even more about the city, but also to prove to others that Seattle definitely overcame its “crappy” history!
5. Ye Olde Curiosity Shop Book-
Seattle’s Ye Ole Curiosity Shop is full of unusual, sometimes creepy, items. We wandered through this museum/store checking out numerous two-headed animals, Fiji mermaids, mummies, shrunken heads, and tons of other strange pieces of artwork and artifacts.
This is a place where every single item has its own magnificent story, and the collection has been handed down through the family, still on display for customers to enjoy.
We bought A Curious Alphabet, which features many of the items on display with their histories and descriptions. What a great way to remember the wonders and the stories that we heard from the shop employees!
6. Locally-Made Totem Pole-
Totem poles were originally made by the natives of the Pacific Northwest. These hand-carved wooden pillars were often passed down through families and depicted family history, important events, or important stories.
Today, full-size totems are still made by talented artists in the area, and the original, historic totems can be found in museums across the Pacific Northwest.
They are also found in many souvenir shops, and we found some awesome ones while browsing in Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. We definitely wanted a handmade totem pole; one created by a local artist.
Souvenir totem poles can be found in many different sizes and with different levels of detail and design.
BONUS: Donut Cat (or other local art!)-
Pike Place Market is a great place to find local art and handmade goods. I absolutely fell in love with the MarninSaylor Donut Cat booth and just had to adopt my very own maple cat!
Donut cats are handmade right in Seattle by Thomas Marnin and Skye Saylor, and it’s totally obvious that every stitch is added with love.
Not a donut fan? Sad, but that’s okay. There are tons of other local artists to visit at Pike Place! Find something that speaks to you and makes you happy!
BONUS #2: Art Made from Mt. Saint Helens Ash-
Also at Pike Place, we came across a booth selling figures and sculptures made from Mount Saint Helens volcanic ash. How cool is that?
Each piece is handmade by local Pacific Northwest artist, Kathy Parker, who uses a special technique to make the ash as sturdy as stone.
We chose a bear figure to come home with us to Mississippi. It is depicted in the traditional native style and included a description card with information on the symbol of the bear (symbolizes power and great influence!).
Though Mt. Saint Helens is technically over 100 miles away from Seattle, we though this was still an amazing souvenir from the area!
What did we miss? Do you have a favorite souvenir from Seattle? Do you collect anything on your travels? Let us know in the comments below!
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Jennifer is the founder of Just Chasing Rabbits travel blog. She lives in Mississippi with husband/travel companion, Mark, and three fur babies. After obtaining a BA degree in studio art and working in the field of photography for years, Jenni has combined her love of travel and photography to form this blog. Mark and Jenni share their experiences in hopes of inspiring others to have wonderful adventures and see the world.
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