The question: I'm planning a weekend of holiday shopping with the girls. Where should we go for stylish gifts and for great gal time too?
TRAVEL CONCIERGE: While fashion mavens in the East flock to New York, stylish spenders in the West head for Seattle. And here, if you want to zip through your Santa list in one walkable, historic hood, settle on Ballard Avenue, says Kate Calamusa, the fashion and lifestyle editor for Seattle magazine.
"Ballard has become this really fun kind of industrial-chic neighbourhood. There's stuff for everybody."
For children, there is Clover, a toy store featuring leafy crowns, Tintin bedroom posters and rainbow-striped rubber boots. For music lovers, Sonic Boom Records is an institution teeming with finds and the Field House, with its Mackinaw caps, moss cologne and caramels flavoured with absinthe and black salt, offers something for the woodsy-urban type.
"It's teeny, but it's a very manly place," Calamusa says of the Field House. "They do classes there on like how to debone a chicken."
For women - and yourself if you've been good - Calamusa's favourite shop is Velouria. Here, locally made finds include tunics with clusters of vintage buttons, purses made from recycled wool and teal laptop cases. The store buys on consignment, so the goods are good deals too.
For fortification between credit card swipes refuel at Cupcake Royale with mug of Stumptown coffee and a rumball cupcake. Or mark a day well spent at La Carta de Oaxaca, a Mexican eatery with "an amazing tequila bar," Calamusa says.
E-mail your travel questions to The Concierge.
Karan Smith is a former Globe Travel editor.
Special to The Globe and Mail