Online shopping is easy. And often generic. Make this year’s giving season more meaningful with unique gifts, food and activities by starting in Renton.

Renton’s strong community of local, independent businesses reflect the character and diversity of the city.

“No matter where you’re from, you can come to Renton and feel you fit in,” says Lange Woon, owner of Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes.

Woon appreciates the regular customers at his downtown shop. Customers also have become friends at the Countryside Café in the Highlands, where you can make yourself at home among the eclectic coffee mugs and full plates of homestyle food.

When you shop locally, you get to experience Renton’s warmth and positive energy from business owners like Miny Tafesse of Abyssinia Hair & Beauty Clinic downtown.

Miny Tafesse, Abyssinia Hair & Beauty Clinic in Renton.
Miny Tafesse, Abyssinia Hair & Beauty Clinic in Renton.

A dose of positive energy could help shake the cabin fever we’re all feeling. Bundle up, mask up and venture out to Renton’s six retail neighborhoods for festive shopping and fun. The smaller crowds and hometown spirit will make you glad you got out of the house.

While you’re out, treat yourself to food to go from Renton’s diverse restaurants. This year’s COVID-19 restrictions have been especially challenging for local restaurants, and your support will help them stay open.

Here’s a quick tour of Renton’s six retail neighborhoods.

Benson Hill/Cascade

Unique gifts in this neighborhood include Warhammer Fantasy games from Wizard’s Keep Games, or beer-infused caramels from The Brewmaster’s Taproom.

Enjoy some fresh air on the Benson Hill/Cascade neighborhood’s parks and trails. On the way home, stop for takeout at Mekenie Pampangga’s Special.

Cedar River

For holiday shopping, introduce loved ones to local restaurants with gift cards from Burger Addict, Mezcal Fresh or iSushi. Self-care ranks high on this year’s wish lists, so consider a gift card to Nuyen Nail Care & Spa.

Youngsters will have fun with the TRACK Trail Program on the Cedar River Trail.

Fresh ingredients make their way into spring rolls, pho, noodle salad bowls and more at Papaya Viet Restaurant at The Landing in Renton.
Fresh ingredients make their way into spring rolls, pho, noodle salad bowls and more at Papaya Viet Restaurant at The Landing in Renton.
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City Center

In historic downtown Renton, focus on relaxation with gifts from 4 Sisters Holistic Remedies or the used book selection at Apparition Books. Soak in the inspiration at Wyldwood Creative or Sparkle Gifts and Whatnot.

Park once and wear comfortable shoes for your trip to The Landing. Here you can find gifts like a pottery kit from Glazed Art, a gift card to the Urban Float sensory-managed saltwater pods, or anything Seahawks from The Pro Shop.

Refuel with hard-to-find Banh Xeo (Vietnamese crepes) at Papaya Viet Restaurant or a windy walk along Lake Washington at Gene Coulon Park.

East Plateau

Pick up artisanal wines from Cedar River Cellars for your table or as a gift. Serve meats and side dishes from locally sourced ingredients at Top of the Hill Quality Produce & Meats. And Chuck’s Donuts make a tasty nontraditional dessert in this nontraditional year.

Highlands

A visit to Viet-Wah Asian Food Market is a treasure hunt and grocery run all at once. Besides fresh produce and a live seafood tank, you’ll find household gifts and imported snacks for stocking stuffers. Need something specific? Owner Duc Tran welcomes your feedback. “We want customers to be satisfied. Then they continue to support us, and we can continue to give back to the community,” he says.

Sample tastes of the world from Taqueria El Taco Maestro, Vince’s Italian Restaurant and Thai on Highlands.

Find fresh seafood, specialty snacks and hard-to-find produce at Viet-Wah Asian Food Market.
Find fresh seafood, specialty snacks and hard-to-find produce at Viet-Wah Asian Food Market.

Talbot/Valley

Find useful gifts in Washington state’s only Ikea store, or buy tickets to an upcoming performance from the Evergreen City Ballet.

To change up your workout, head over to the pickleball courts at Talbot Hill Reservoir Park.

Win a winter staycation

Post a photo of a Renton store, restaurant or experience on your social media account with the hashtag #RentonHolidays. Each posted photo with the hashtag is an entry to win a Renton winter staycation: a one-night hotel stay, $300 for dining and $200 for shopping.

The sweepstakes runs through December 31. For sweepstakes details and shopping inspiration, visit GiveRenton.com

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In Renton it’s easy to make yourself at home for the holidays. Explore six neighborhoods of shops, restaurants and experiences. Renton’s also the proud home of Boeing, Ikea, the Seattle Seahawks and the eternal resting place of Jimi Hendrix.