Hidden Gems: Back-to-School Shopping in Seattle

Erin Wing - Seattle
August 9, 2011

Have you checked the calendar lately? It seems like summer just started here in Seattle, but notebook paper and pencils are piled a mile high at the big box stores, which means it's already time for some back-to-school prep! Although summer is winding down, the fun doesn't have to end. We've rounded up some fabulous and funky back-to-school shopping suggestions to keep the good times rolling as you gear up for the first day. (Hopefully our tardy friend Mr. Sun will stick around for a while after that first bell rings.)


Located in Capitol Hill, Bootyland is your go to source for eco-conscious clothing. Inventory includes pint-sized concert T's and a wide assortment of hipster threads, lunchbox supplies, and backpacks. The products available at Bootyland are produced from eco-friendly materials and many items are made locally. You'll also find a growing collection of recycled and upcycled products. Want to add an extra-curricular activity to your back-to-school schedule? Sign up for one of their art classes!

Sole Food

Get ready for the walk to school with some stylish new kicks from Sole Food in University Village. Sole Food carries a unique mix of shoes and accessories, from playground basics to fancy pumps; local brands to upscale European lines. It's your one-stop shoe shop for the entire family! While you're visiting the Village, be sure to hit Trophy Cupcakes and allow plenty of time to play in the fountains and climb on the outdoor play structure.

Once Upon a Time

At Once Upon a Time in Bellevue and Queen Anne, you'll find the best-chosen selection of books, educational toys and gear.  Looking for raincoats and French flashcards? Art supplies and lunch gear? How about a new favorite book or a clever game to reinforce the three R's? You'll find it all! By the way, Once Upon a Time is run by a former teacher, so naturally back-to-school time is celebration time at both locations! Check for special school-themed events running from August 15 to September 15, and watch for new craft workshops and storytimes throughout the year.


Not your average consignment store, Smallclothes is a West Seattle shop that stands above the resale crowd. Founded five years ago by owners who believe "all material items deserve a second use," this shop proves that reusing can be even more fun than buying new. Smallclothes features an uncluttered selection of resale kids clothing and gifts. All items are truly high quality, gently used, (or in some cases never used), and very clean.  You can also find a small selection of new items, like shoes from See Kai Run and Eleven. You'll get outfitted for school and still have some cash left over for a yummy meal at the nearby Blackboard Bistro! How's that for smart shopping?

Bella and Max

Bella and Max is a multi-tasking children's boutique and hair salon, located in the quaint Bothell Country Village. The kids can get a new back-to-school 'do while you update their fall wardrobe.  Find a Knuckleheads t-shirt for your mini-skater dude, and don't miss the selection of organic designer duds from Kate Quinn Organics. When you're finished, grab a snack at The Village Bean and head over to the picnic and play area for some swashbuckling fun on the pirate ship play structure. For an all day adventure, play a round at the 17-hole putt-putt course or ride the train around the Country Village.


From the Parents

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