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(Here’s Cirilia’s Google Map of Seattle.)

Depending on the time of year you visit Seattle, you might be tempted to return home with tales of how the “always rainy” reputation is overblown. I was, over 10 years ago. I visited in May at the height of a botanical explosion, an annual happening I’ve come to rely on for a dopamine rush and many, many Instagram posts.

After moving here, I got to know the other side of Seattle during the persistently gray, oppressively damp season that stretches endlessly from October to April and beyond. I became friendly with the phenomenon known as June Gloom, best explained by local meteorologist Cliff Mass.

With seven rainy seasons behind me, I still marvel that I can wear wool nearly year round, and I don’t lament the months of darkness the way most do. This city speaks to my introverted, romantic soul. The balance, between long stretches of chilly, introvert-friendly weather and sparkling, zero-humidity summers, feels entirely fair.

Here are some of the charms that make the gloom entirely worth bearing.

Nerd Mecca

If you’re even a little bit nerdy, prepare to feel understood. Seattle consistently tops lists of the most literate cities. Bibliophiles will be pleased to see just as many hardcovers and paperbacks as e-readers on public transit. There is a constant stream of conventions celebrating anime, comic books, gaming and more (I’m partial to Geek Girl Con).

Geek culture is built right into our skyline. The by now retro-futurist Space Needle looms large over an IMAX theater, science museum and recently renamed MoPOP, a sprawling, shimmery Frank Gehry-designed church of pop culture.

Follow the smell of sugary cocoa a few blocks south of MoPOP to Cinerama, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen.

This theater, at once cavernous and cozy, is the ultimate destination for movie lovers. Top-of-the-line tech, a lobby full of original costumes on display, and the most delicious chocolate-glazed popcorn all fall short of my favorite feature: I’ve seen dozens of movies at Cinerama over the years and I’ve never had to glare meaningfully at a fellow filmgoer—it’s a downright reverent crowd.

For a much more laidback night at the movies head to Central Cinema, an eat-in theater with a killer mix of kitsch classics and themed, interactive events like singalongs and trivia nights. Some moviegoers stop by Uncle Ike’s first, just one block over. It’s been a few years now but it still cracks me up that it is legal to visit a budtender and purchase cannabis, in forms that include precisely measured confections from Goodship. Traditionalists can cross the street to Chuck’s Hop Stop for a flight of local beers and a rotating calendar of food trucks.

A Bookish Town

If you prefer your entertainment a little more lo-fi, head to Elliott Bay Book Company on Capitol Hill. I first visited this independent gem at its original location in Pioneer Square, but the new iteration has all the same charms.

Comfy armchairs, pleasantly creaky hardwood floors and a gorgeous cafe recently revamped by restaurant doyenne Linda Derschang. 

I’ve come to use Derschang’s name as an adjective describing any comfortable space, styled just so, that invites long conversation and leisurely indulgence.

Nordic Seattle

This is a bit of a premature recommendation, but I’ve spent many happy hours at the Nordic Heritage Museum. The museum will reopen in brand new environs this May, and I have faith that the textile exhibits and knitting books will make it over to the new post. Every other year the Museum puts on a Nordic Knitting Conference that makes a perfect centerpiece to a visit to the PNW.

More Books (+ Architecture)

For a budget-friendly but still bookish sojourn, stop by the Central Library downtown. Savvy knitters may recognize the steely cross-hatched structure as the inspiration behind Jared Flood’s Koolhaas hat.

The stunning building is an architectural marvel in a city that tends to defer to the beauty of the landscape. Once again, the city’s fondness for a future-forward outlook is on display with bold sans serif fonts and maze-like escalators that get narrower as you ascend.

The neon hues and vast ceilings make for excellent FO backgrounds, just saying.

In section 740, you’ll find a very healthy supply of knitting books, including mine, Magpies, Homebodies,  & Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style, which Jared Flood shot right in Seattle.

Like a Local

My favorite way to get a taste for a new city is simply to go about my daily routine. A languid weekend routine, but nothing particularly special, no tourist attractions. Coffee, shopping, I even get stoked on an unfamiliar grocery store.

Pike Place Market is considered a Seattle must-do. Even though it’s consistently clogged with visitors, it’s a place I try to work into my routine as a local.

There is just so much there, and if you work downtown, it’s a great place to pick up a huge bouquet of inexpensive flowers, a quick lunch (do not skip the curry beef hum bao at Mee Sum Pastry) and if you’re me, emergency stitch markers for your commute knitting from So Much Yarn.

If you’re embracing the role of tourist, be sure to head to Post Alley to see the (utterly gross) gum wall. The cacophonous mix of colors and smells is a favorite, recently scraped clean but already building back up. Another good spot for FO snapshots! Just don’t get too close to the wall …

My preferred souvenirs are wearable: a practical reminder of travels, and a way to mix up a closet with a bit of out-of-town influence. Andrea Rangel once described Seattle style as “aggressively plain,” but I’ve managed to find some pockets of greatness. She’s absolutely correct that practicality rules the day, and outerwear is here in abundance. 

For more eye-tickling fare head to SPACE at the flagship Nordstrom, a concept shop-within-a-shop that carries faux fur in acid hues from Shrimps, mind-bending silhouettes from Junya Watanabe and chunky knits from Acne Studios that will make you want to cast on immediately. 

And if you’re in Seattle before May 20, you can pick up a pair of wool sneakers at the Allbirds Pop-In.

The LYS Scene

Lastly, my knitter-specific favorites. Sadly, many excellent shops have shuttered in recent years (RIP Weaving Works, my local haunt). If you’re able to head out of the city limits, Tolt Yarn and Wool is an absolute dream in Carnation. Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island is also well worth the trip, and as a bonus, you get to ride a ferry. Truthfully, my stash is … healthy … but I appreciate these cozy, inspiring shops, and heartily recommend them to visitors. 

Cirilia’s Local List

It’s good to be a knitter here. I’ve barely grazed the surface of the things you can explore and experience, but I’ve shared the ones I hold dear (plus a few bonus reccos below). Have fun!

MacPherson’s Leather Company 

Uniquely rugged laces, metal hardware and fur accents.

Alexander’s Bead Bazaar

Deliciously witchy vibes and glittering bowls of beads, gems and fixtures.

Seattle Fabrics

Specializing in crafting for the outdoors, I love the patterns and paracord.

Uwajimaya + Kinokuniya 

Asian snacks, a bustling food court, and covetable Japanese knitting booklets.

Tenzing Momo

Incense, tarot cards and DIY essential oil perfumes.

Eighth Generation

Local artist Louie Gong’s modern solution to “Native-inspired” goods.

Rachel’s Ginger Beer

Premium ginger beer with a punch, killer cocktails, and perfect snack pairings.

Golden Age Collectibles

Pick up a script from your favorite show or an anime figure for your desk.

Caffe Ladro

I regularly mail their Diablo dark roast beans to deserving out-of-towners.


A cathedral of Seattle chic with a shoe wall that will make you go weak in the knees.

Discovery Park

Medium-to-easy hiking with spectacular beachfront views, just 10 minutes from downtown.

Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Modeled after Willy Wonka’s whimsical factory, you’ll have more fun here than you will waiting in line at the original Starbucks downtown.


A Note About A Knitter’s Weekend

Each piece in our series A Knitter’s Weekend is written by a knitter with local knowledge and a personal point of view. If you have additional places or information you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it—please leave a comment. And if you have plans to visit Seattle, be sure to save this article in your MDK account

About The Author

While studying consumer culture and aesthetics in Western Massachusetts, Cirilia Rose took a job at WEBS, a family-owned yarn shop that happened to be one of the largest in the country. It was an auspicious start: she went on to produce and promote globally sourced yarns with Berroco, Skacel and Zealana, spending nearly a decade designing and writing for knitters. Her book Magpies, Homebodies and Nomads: A Modern Knitter’s Guide to Discovering and Exploring Style was published by Abrams in 2014.

These days Cirilia is an editorial copywriter at Nordstrom, another family-owned business, in her adopted city of Seattle. She volunteers with GeekGirlCon and is thrilled to be a civilian knitter again, although somewhat intimidated by her formidable stash. You can follow her pursuits at and on Instagram.


  • I kept waiting for you to list knitting shops IN Seattle!!

    • Here are names of some in the area as there is a LYS tour:

    • Serial Knitters in Kirkland…

      • Sadly, now also closed – but some of their excellent (former) staff can now be found at The Nifty Knitter in Issaquah!

    • Sadly I can name several that closed recently, including the above mentioned Weaving Works – now online only but they pop open occasionally. I’m a fan of The Fiber Gallery, and I’ll add to the out of town list, I love my LYS All Wound Up in Edmonds.

  • I love you glasses soooooooo much! Details if you please?

  • I would save this ‘letter’ if I was able to go to Costume Society of America’s annual symposium in Seattle next year – but unfortunately, they scheduled it so it conflicts with the first two nights of Passover. Oh, well … have to save it for another time! Thanks for the hints.

  • In addition to Fiber gallery there is the tea cozy in Ballard. Both lovely small local shops

  • And zero mention of KEXP or La Marzoca…

  • Another quibble: how can you have “Seattle” and “library” in your post without mentioning Nancy Pearl, the world-famous former director of that library and the woman who introduced to the concept of an entire city reading the same book at the same time? There are even action figures of Ms. Pearl. (Other than my quibble, your article was great — now I want to return to Seattle for a visit.)

  • Also Acorn Street Yarn, just north of U Village.

  • By all means, if you’re in Seattle and a fan of MDK head to the Tea Cozy! The shop has had all the MDK Field Guides with knit up samples and plenty of appropriate and wonderful yarn suggestions. And if you make your way to Fiber Gallery, cross the street for a sweet treat at Coyle’s Bakeshop (no pot, just fine, classic baked goods).

    • A few other suggestions for Seattle knitting gems: for Northwest Native knitting and weaving check out the awesome collections at both the Seattle Art Musuem and the Burke Museum (at UW). The Burke also has an ethnobotanical garden that connects the native plants to the colors used in the knitting and weaving.

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