Tom Archer's Blog

Windows and Web developer with Social Media tendencies

20 Great Places to Visit and Enjoy While in Seattle – Part 5 of 5 (Shopping)

Part 4 (Tours)

In this – the last installment to the 5 part series on Seattle highlights – I thought I’d cover a part of Seattle that will benefit both MVP and MVP-family member alike: shopping places from which you can find that unique item to commemorate your experience in the Emerald City.



Bellevue Square Mall ( – One of the staples that I grew up – especially in the South – is the shopping mall. I’m not talking about your typical little shopping center where you have a dozen or so stores on one level. I’m talking about the overdone U.S. version where you have a minimum of 3 floors spanning hundreds of stores that enable you to spend hours wandering around “window shopping”, eating at a food court that has cuisine from all over the world and buying something special when the temptation gets too great.


One of the best shopping malls on the Eastside (the area east of Seattle – such as Bellevue and Redmond – where Summit attendees will attend Product Group Sessions) is the Bellevue Square Mall. Located just a few minutes from the Microsoft main campus, the Bellevue Square Mall offers more than 200 stores that range from established favorites (Crate & Barrel, Macy’s, Nordstrom, etc.)  to one-of-a-kind discoveries that cater to niche demographics (e.g., A|X Armani Exchange, Urban Dogs and more).


Another great benefit to the Bellevue Square Mall is its location. Nestled alongside Lincoln Square (that houses The Parlor and Lucky Strikes venues I wrote about earlier) and the Bellevue Place (which contains the famous Danny’s Broiler steakhouse), this area has something for everyone in very close proximity. While very easy to find, here’s a map that gives directions to the downtown Bellevue area.


Pacific Place ( /) Located in downtown Seattle, Pacific Place is one of Seattle’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment centers. This stunning four-story complex features many upscale designer stores such as Tiffany & Co., Max Mara, Coach, and many more as well as an 11-screen AMC Theatres cinema. Note that all movies starting before noon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday are only $5!


In addition to the beautiful architecture of the mall itself and the great stores from which to purchase something for you or a loved one, the mall houses several restaurants, one of which is sure to please your palate. If you like good Italian food, I personally recommend Il Fornaio. Another great eatery is the Pike Place Chowder – the only chowder outside of New England to ever win “The Great Chowder Cook-off”.


Pike Place Market ( – You can’t talk about shopping in Seattle without at least mentioning the famous Pike Place Market area – one of the oldest marketplaces in the U.S. Started in 1907, the Seattle landmark is home to small farmers, craftspeople, merchants, and restaurateurs.


One of the Market’s most popular attractions is Pike Place Fish Market, where employees throw three-foot salmon and other fish to each other rather than passing them by hand. When a customer orders a fish, an employee at the Fish Market’s ice-covered fish table picks up the fish and hurls it over the countertop, where another employee catches it and preps it for sale. In fact, the “flying fish” have become such an icon of this area that the routine has been shown on the sitcom Frasier as well as being featured on The Learning Channel. It’s a definite crowd-pleaser where many gather just to watch the synchronized pitch-and-catch routine!


Another place to visit is Sol Amon’s Pure Food Fish. Sol Almon has been in the Pike Place Market for over 50 years – the longest tenure of any vendor. In fact, Sol himself frequently chats with visitors and helps them to choose which fish is best on that day for that person’s taste. On a very special note, today, April 11, is Sol Amon Day (as designated by the Seattle City Council) to commemorate Sol’s dedication of service to the market and its neighborhood.


The name Starbucks Coffee and Seattle have become synonymous around the world. This coffeehouse chain was actually founded near Pike Place Market. That store was relocated to Pike Place Market in 1976, where it is still in operation. Unlike all the other Starbucks stores in the world, this store still features the original logo – a bare-breasted siren that was modeled after a 15th century Norse woodcut. The branch also features a large pig statue, which is a landmark throughout the Market.


Speaking of the pig, her name is Rachel and she’s the Market mascot! Located at the corner of Pike Place under the “Public Market Center” sign, Rachel is a nearly-600 pound bronze piggy bank! It is considered good luck to empty your pockets of any loose change and rub Rachel’s snout. Rachel receives around $9,000 annually in many different currencies where the money is used to fund the Market’s social services.


On that note, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is much more to the Market than merchants, flowers, and fish. The Market includes one of the biggest food banks in King County, giving out 50,000 bags of groceries each year and is home to a low-cost medical clinic, assisted living community, as well as a senior center.  There are over 500 low-income apartments and a pre-school and day care center for parents who work downtown making the Marketplace both a great tourist attraction as well as a wonderful community service that aids many in need.


This brings my series to a close. I hope you all enjoyed our time together and can glean from my meanderings some useful information on fun and exciting things to do while in our fair city.


April 15, 2008 - Posted by | Microsoft MVP Program


  1. Bellevue Square is one of the most profitable and successful malls in America. It will be expanding in the coming months and year. With it’s addition of many boutique high end stores, it makes Downtown Bellevue a premier destination.

    Check to find out the most current downtown happenings!

    Comment by Michael | April 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. Vicarship says : I absolutely agree with this !

    Comment by vicarship | May 29, 2008 | Reply

  3. I wish you’d write a similar series for Atlanta 🙂

    Comment by Nish | July 2, 2008 | Reply

  4. Nish! With so many social networking mediums, I’ve pretty much not doing anything with my blog for a long time. I’ve finally decided on how to remedy that one : I’m going to do private – non MSFT – stuff on my blog and Facebook, and MSFT, Office and Dynamics stuff on Twitter.

    In answer to your post, that would be a good idea if I could just find the time. I do have to ask you, Have you tried Minverva’s yet? In my opinion it has much better Indian food than anything I’ve found in this area!

    I hope you’re doing well!

    Comment by tomarcher | September 12, 2008 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: