Given that Seattle is filled with hikers, kayakers, and cyclists, it only makes sense that the city is home to the mother of all outdoor stores. REI’s flagship shop has become a tourist attraction in itself, thanks to a 65-foot rock-climbing wall (which you can pay to climb), fun gear-testing stations, and aisles upon aisles of equipment from tents and hardy backpacks to snowshoes, kayaks, and GPS devices. Frequent sales provide great deals on apparel and outerwear.
Tip: In true Pacific Northwest style, REI is not just a store, it’s a co-op. Sign up to be a member when you make your purchase and at the end of the year you’ll receive dividends on the purchases you’ve made, as well as discounts on services.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.