REI is like an attraction in itself. Even if you are not looking to buy anything, if you have an interest in the great outdoors, you'll love walking around and checking out their equipment. This cooperative was set up by a climber couple back in 1938 and while it has become much more mainstream, it remains a cornerstone in the outdoor equipment market. Members pay $20 once and receive 10% of their purchases back at the end of the year. Non-members may also shop there.
The one is Seattle is the original flagship store. It's massive and quite a sight. There is a big climbing wall as soon as you walk in and floors of great gear. You won't believe you are in a store strictly selling stuff for the great outdoors.
What to buy: REI carries mostly high end products though their own line of equipment, especially the tents are quite affordable. Tents, sleeping bags, mats, cookers, hiking poles, boots, and socks are all well-stocked. We replaced our tent at the one in Oakland on our recent trip when our old one kicked it. We got D some new boots at this Seattle store after she shredded her old pair with mega miles in the summer of 2008.
The also carry lots of great clothing, some perfect for hiking/backpacking so if looking to get into these sports, it's a great place to shop.
They have bikes, kayaks, and canoes. If it involves being outside, they have it.
What to pay: Good equipment is not cheap and REI is not a bargain store but they are competitive.
One great time to go is for their used gear sales. We hit one while in Seattle. They open up the top floor and sell returned stuff. You have to do some hunting but there are some great deals to be found. I would be careful with boots. If returned, they may be leaking but clothing should be easy enough to see if they are okay.
REI is one of the best places in the world to buy outdoor gear.
these stores are enormous and incredibly well equipped with everything you would ever dream of when being active.
i spend a whole day in there checking out things there.
compared to most european countries it's also quite cheap to buy outdoor gear in the US.
What to buy: anything associated with the great outdoors.
I reckon this is the mecca for all people who engage in outdoor sports. There is a huge variety of outdoor gear and clothing, and the Pinnacle, one of the tallest freestanding indoor climbing wall, is an attraction in itself. A fair distance away (walking-wise) from downtown, so avoid looking for it by foot on a dark rainy day.
Lots of shops
Pike Market for souvenirs food and fish.
Plenty of FISH.
REI is a great place to shop for all your hiking and camping trips. If REI don't have it you don't need it.
Click the link to REI.
What to buy: Souvenirs, mementos you will wonder why you bought them. And Fresh Seafood a plenty.Gifts to send home including Fish.
What to pay: $-$$$ Arts Crafts
The flagship REI store is more amusement park than shopping experience. A three story climbing pinnacle, a path outside to test the latest mountain bike models, and a trip planning section where you can peruse all their travel books without having to feel guilty about not buying anything are only a few of the pleasure to be found here.
What to buy: Instead of buying rent! REI rents everything from skiis and snowshoes to paddling gear and camping stoves making it a great last stop before heading off on a trip.
REI is one of the greatest outdoor sports stores ever, and this, the flagship store, it truly amazing. They have everything thing you could ever want for hiking, camping, paddling, climbing, biking, skiing.... you name it. They have a good travel section, too, with luggage and accessories. There's also a book section, with guides, adventure tales, and all kinds of maps.
One of the big draws of this store is that they have a climbing wall. Never done it myself, but there's usually a line on Saturday mornings waiting to get in.
The REI Store in Seattle is sure a flagship. They build this massive climbing rock for it, and the rest of the store is huge and immaculate.
The climb cost is not large but I knew I had nothing. Not enough strength to get up there. Oh well it was still worth checking it out.
What to buy: Outdoor gear.
I only went in one store while in Seattle - the REI flagship store and headquarters.
I love outdoor camping stores and this one is like being in heaven. 2 huge floors and eveything you see on their website you can touch and feel - no virtual shopping crap. They have a 65-foot rock climbing wall and mountain bike / hiking trails surrounding the building for your pseudo-outdoor adventure in the middle of Seattle.