222 Yale Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
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Sure, there are multiple REI locations across the country these days, and of course you can shop for their gear online, but the Seattle location is a destination in itself. Whether you're gearing up for a planned hike at Mt. Rainier National Park during your Seattle stay, looking for a kayak rental to ply Puget Sound, or are just a helpless outdoor gadget geek, this is your place. The sheer volume of the place and the amount of gear itself is a wonder, but before you get to the ice-axe handles of the giant wooden front doors, you wander along a miniature section of Northwest trail complete with pine trees, ferns and a waterfall. In addition to wowing first-time visitors, the area is meant for trying out hiking boots and mountain bikes before buying. Parkas can be pushed to the limit in the "rain room." And if it's climbing gear you've come for, check the performance of rock-climbing shoes and carabineers on the towering indoor climbing wall (reservations required).
Best for Christmas Shopping Because: REI appeals to travelers and adventurer the world over and especially in this corner of the country. Find high-quality gear and excellent customer service.
Best for Travel Gear Shops Because: REI stocks high-quality gear perfect for outdoorsy adventures and far-flung travels. The customer service is top-notch, too.