City Guide: Seattle, Washington
Four Perfect Days in the Emerald City
For many of you who have been following me on Instagram (@brown.eyed.flower.child) know that I have been jet setting for the past few weeks. After my annual ski weekend at Mount Snow in Vermont with my friend Julie (click here to read my blog post on Vermont), I decided last minute to book a plane ticket with my mom to Seattle, Washington.
Seattle has been on my USA bucket list for quite a few years at this point, so when I had the opportunity to go with my mom (she was going for work), I couldn’t help but book a plane ticket. I’m not usually a last minute person, but for a trip to the Pacific Northwest, I had to get on it. During my four days in Seattle, I had the best time exploring the different neighborhoods of the city and discovering hidden gems; tasting my way through the variety of markets and restaurants; sipping on some of the best coffee I’ve had in my life and getting lost in the beautiful nature of Washington State.
I highly recommend everyone to visit Seattle, especially those who have a USA bucket list going on. Prior to heading over to Seattle, my good friend from college, Meg, sent me some awesome recommendations that I catered my trip around. Today, I am excited to share my trip with you all hoping that you could take some of these recommendations and use them when you travel to the “Emerald City”.
Day 1: Alki Beach and Pike Place Market
One of the first things I did during my time in Seattle was meet up with my good friend Brando from college at Alki Beach Park. This gorgeous waterfront overlooks the stunning Seattle skyline and offers a long beach strip. Alki is a quiet neighborhood that is perfect for outdoor activities. The beaches are also breathtaking as they feature amazing views of the mountains from nearby Olympic National Park. I also couldn’t get over how cute the sailboats were on the water.
Throughout the city of Seattle are LimeBikes you could “rent” to get around or to just enjoy the weather. These lime green and yellow bikes aim to provide a sustainable solution to help city residents travel around their neighborhood in an affordable and convenient way, while eliminating their carbon footprint. All you need to do is download the LimeBike app and start riding – it’s that simple! Alki Beach is the perfect place to ride around in these colorful bikes.
Since I was starving, I couldn’t wait to make my way into my first Seattle foodie spot! Located right on the water is a delicious Hawaiian-Korean cuisine called Marination Mai Kai that offers everything from amazing fish tacos to kimchi fried rice. They also offer a great selection of Seattle’s craft beer as well as wine and mixed drinks.
Both Brando and I had the fish tacos, which were AMAZING!!! Luckily, the day that I arrived in Seattle, the weather was 60-degrees (which felt like paradise to me, coming from snowy New Jersey), so we were able to sit and enjoy our food outside. I loved admiring the city skyline!
Pike Place Market
As the city’s most beloved public market and an icon within the downtown area, Pike Place Market is a vibrant and exciting neighborhood comprised of hundreds of farmers, craftspeople and small businesses. In fact, Travel & Leisure ranked Pike Place Market as the 13th most visited attraction in the United States. Pretty much, you could find anything that you can think of at Pike Place Market.
No matter what, you could easily spend a few hours wandering through Pike Place. Not only could you indulge in some of the city’s best foodie spots, there are several live singers and talented music artists that will keep you in the mood throughout your time in the area.
Here are some of my favorite places that I visited and ate at in Pike Place:
This is the fish market where you could see mongers throw freshly caught salmon, halibut, Dungeness and King crab over to prepare it for being sold. This is definitely a must-see when you are in Pike Place. I was amazed at how massive the fish were; that is because they are straight from the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Pike Place Fish Market is a great place to grab fresh seafood for dinner (if you are looking to cook during your time in Seattle) and they even offer great recipes on their website.
Located underneath the iconic Public Market sign and through the entrance to the famous Seattle gum wall is Ghost Alley Espresso. This adorable coffee shop was actually my favorite throughout the entire city. Even my mother loved this coffee spot and she is a coffee addict (LOL). As I am writing this blog, I am dreaming of Ghost Alley’s delicious salted nut latte and vanilla chai. These drinks were amazing and comforting! They even sell Bazooka bubble gum for 50 cents so that you could contribute to the art of the gum wall.
The Original Starbucks:
As the home city of Starbucks coffee, not only does the corporate headquarters reside in Seattle, but so does the first-ever storefront location. The original Starbucks café is located in the heart of Pike Place Market and keeps to its roots of only serving coffee and espresso. What is awesome to know is that the store boasts its original logo and sign outside of the door. No matter what time of the day you decide to visit the original Starbucks, there is always a line out the door. Since I am able to get Starbucks whenever and wherever, I decided to not go inside, but to take a few pictures from the storefront windows instead.
Another awesome place that was recommended by my friend Meg was Le Panier – a French bakery that offers freshly baked breads, croissants and coffee. When I first visited Pike Place, I was craving dessert, so Le Panier was the perfect place to grab an ooey gooey baked treat. I got the Sablé chocolat, which is a buttery shortbread with hazelnut and chocolate chips. It was delicious and it melted in my mouth.
Located inside of Pike Place is the comforting café of Crêpe de France. This petite café offers 17 different types of crêpes ranging from sweet to savory. During my last day in Seattle, my mom and I went to this delicious crêperie for breakfast and we both LOVED it! I enjoyed the crêpe des tropiques, which included Nutella, banana, almonds, whipped cream and powdered sugar. My mom had the crêpe aux pommes, which consisted of apples and cinnamon sugar. In addition to our crêpes, we also enjoyed their coffee.
Pike Place Market was founded in 1907 to provide Seattle citizens with direct access to local producers. As you wander through Pike Place, there are several produce stands and endless amounts of floral arrangements. I truly enjoyed walking through the market and admiring all of the colors that surrounded me. If I lived in the city, I would definitely be picking up a bouquet of flowers every week. There are so many beautiful options to choose from to brighten the day.
No matter what it is, you could find anything at Pike Place. Some other places that were recommended for me to check out (I didn’t have enough time) are listed below:
- Piroshky-Piroshky (Russian Bakery)
- Pasta Casalinga (Italian)
- Ellenos Real Greek Yogurt (Greek Yogurt)
- Caffé Ladro (Coffee & Bakery)
- Caffé Vita Roasting Company (Coffee)
Market Theater Gum Wall
The famous gum wall of Seattle is located in Post Alley, under Pike Place Market. I knew prior to visiting the city that I had to make my way over to this local landmark. Parts of the wall can be covered several inches thick. What is cool to know is that the tradition began in 1993 when patrons of Unexpected Productions’ (an “improv” company) stuck gum to the wall, placed coins in the gum blobs and made art out of it. The theater workers tried to scrape the gum away twice, but eventually gave up.
The gum wall became a popular tourist attraction around 1999. It was named one of the top 5 “germiest” tourist attractions in 2009, second to the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Even though it is disgusting to think that all of this gum came from hundreds of thousands of mouths around the world, the alleyway smelled like bubblegum (which isn’t something to complain about).
Since it was my first night in Seattle, I thought I would experience a sunset dinner along the beautiful Elliot Bay with my mom and her coworker. Located downtown near the famous Seattle Great Wheel (the iconic Ferris wheel) is a delicious seafood restaurant called Anthony’s Pier 66. We obviously chose to sit next to the water so that we could enjoy the gorgeous views of the sunset as well as the famous Mount Rainier mountain from the distance. Let me tell you, there is nothing better than enjoying delicious Alaskan Dungeness crab with an amazing Seattle sunset.
Day 2: Snoqualmie National Forest (or Mount Rainier and Wenatchee National Park), Capitol Hill and Fremont
Snoqualmie National Forest
It didn’t take long before I was itching to get out into Washington’s nature. Unfortunately, I traveled to Seattle at the end of winter/early spring where a lot of the national parks are still closed due to a high capacity of snow and hazardous driving conditions.
Prior to heading to the mountains, I did some research to see what national parks and nature spots were open to the public and easily accessible, since I was exploring on my own. Luckily, the weather was close to 60-degrees during the day I was in the mountains, so I was able to see three great nature areas in the famous Snoqualmie National Forest.
Snoqualmie National Forest is nestled between the famous Mount Rainier National Park to the south and Wenatchee National Park to the north. This national forest extends more than 140 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade Range from the Canada-US border and is located only a half hour from the city. As much as I wanted to see Mount Rainier, Wenatchee and Olympic National Park, I will need to save those areas for when I come back (hopefully in the summertime).
Since the weather was beautiful and it was also the first day of spring, I decided to start my day off at Snoqualmie Point Park. This park is a picturesque place that offers a lookout as well as access to the Rattlesnake Mountain Trail. When I arrived at this beautiful park, I fell in love with the gorgeous scenery of the snowcapped mountains from afar. I am a nature junkie, so it was nice to get some peace and quiet in this area and savor the fresh Washington State air.
After visiting Snoqualmie Point Park, I wanted to head a little deeper into the mountains to see the snow, so I looked up places that were open and had clear/safe driving conditions. Thankfully, the Summit at Snoqualmie, a ski resort, was open for me to drive up to and catch even more wondrous views. The Summit is located another 35 minutes east from Snoqualmie Point Park, but I didn’t mind because the drive to the ski resort was breathtaking. Even though I thought nothing could get better than the scenery in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the beautiful Cascades were right up there in terms of being in God’s country! The ski resort was unfortunately closed, but I enjoyed being surrounded by the snowy wonders around me.
The last adventure in Snoqualmie National Forest was taking in the views from Snoqualmie Falls, located a half hour back west from the Summit. Unlike the past two places I visited, Snoqualmie Falls is a little more populated. Once I parked my car, I walked over a bridge to the waterfalls and enjoyed listening to the water crash. The views were absolutely stunning! In addition to viewing the falls, there is also a little hiking area that features gorgeous evergreen trees and sequoias. It was my first time seeing a sequoia and I couldn’t believe how massive they were.
After my amazing time wandering through Snoqualmie, I decided to head back to the city to explore a new area – Capitol Hill. Since I had a big breakfast at my hotel, I wasn’t in the mood for a big lunch, so instead I decided to get a snack. My friend Meg recommended that I visit Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream. This place is just as amazing as it sounds. This homemade ice cream spot partners with local farmers and producers to turn the freshest flavors into outstanding ice cream. In addition, Molly Moon’s gives 1% of their sales each year to non-profits in the community and they work hard to fight local hunger through food bank giving.
Since I was a little sweaty from walking through Snoqualmie, ice cream was the perfect mid-afternoon snack. Molly Moon’s daily menu offers 14 flavors with several toppings. They also have seasonal favorites and different cone options. I got the melted chocolate and maple walnut scoops with Girl Scout Thin Mints on top of it. Yes, if you are wondering, it was absolutely delicious!
The Capitol Hill district is a fun area to hang out or walk around. There are several hip bars, tasty eateries, laid-back coffee shops and indie stores. Since the weather was beautiful, I loved walking around this area. I even grabbed a cup of tea at Capitol Coffee Works, a cute café amidst all the fun.
Some other great places that were recommended to me in the Capitol Hill area are listed below:
- The Wandering Goose (Breakfast)
- Cal Anderson Park (Park)
- Slab Sandwiches & Pie (Sandwiches)
- Bakery Nouveau (Baked Goods and Coffee)
- Montana (Dive Bar)
- Momjii (Sushi/Japanese)
- Unicorn Bar (Fun Bar/Arcade Games)
Dinner in Fremont
In addition to Capitol Hill, Fremont is also a fun area that offers great places to eat and explore. Since it was my friend Brando’s last night in Seattle, we got dinner at a delicious Japanese noodle bar called Kamonegi. What is cool about this Japanese restaurant is that their soba noodles are made by hand and can be ordered as seiro (cold noodles with warm dipping broth) or nanban (hot noodles that are already in the broth, like traditional soup). You could also get toppings and even order from a variety of tempura options. I enjoyed a mushroom seiro with a delicious Seattle craft beer on the side.
Here is a list of other recommendations in the Fremont area:
- South Lake Union (Park)
- Milstead and Co. (Coffee Shop)
- Fremont Troll (Landmark)
- Revel (Bar)
- Boutique Shopping
Day 3: Bainbridge Island and Ballard
Breakfast in Bellevue
On my third day in Seattle, I was going to be exploring by myself during the day again, so I decided to pack it in with more fulfilling adventures. I started the day by grabbing breakfast with my mom in Bellevue, where we were staying. In addition to the city of Seattle, Bellevue is another large city in Washington State that offers edgy shopping areas and fine dining. Even though I didn’t have the time to explore Bellevue as much as I had hoped for, I still was able to get a taste of what it is like.
During that morning, my mom and I got a delicious crêpe breakfast at The French Bakery. This high-end bakery offers everything from delicious pastries to fresh omelets and quiches. In addition to their baked goods, The French Bakery also offers delicious coffee and latte options to wake you up!
As a town rich in history, culture and natural beauty, Bainbridge Island is a small island that offers a lot. Connected through Seattle by ferry over Elliot Bay, Bainbridge Island offers a charming and quaint downtown area that features a number of restaurants and cafés, artisanal wineries (tasting rooms), a brewery and organic distillery as well as a variety of trailheads and historical sites.
Since I had a car, I could have driven over an hour around the water to get to Bainbridge Island, while making a pit stop in the popular city of Tacoma, or take my car onto the 20-minute ferry ride to the island. I chose the later and was thankful that I did so that I could have more time to wander around.
When I finally got to Bainbridge Island, the first place I went to was a private beach area called Manitou Beach. At this beach, you could get nice views of the island’s beautiful evergreen trees and hangout on the rock beach that features drifted trees along the shore. From some areas of Manitou, you can catch views of the Seattle skyline.
After driving around for a bit and admiring the beautiful homes and nature on Bainbridge Island, I decided to go to the adorable downtown area and hang around there for a few hours. I first enjoyed walking around Egg Harbor and admiring the sailboats. Afterwards, I made my way into the adorable shops. There were bookstores, holistic shops, home good stores, clothing boutiques and so much more! For lunch, I was craving pizza, so I found a Neapolitan pizzeria called Bruciato. This artisanal pizza place was so good and they even offered crafted drinks to enjoy with your meal.
Once I was done with my pizza, I had to walk it off, so I headed over to Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve. Formerly an old roadbed, the trail begins as a flat path through mossy forests and meadows. Coming in second after Lapland, Finland, Gazzam Lake Nature Preserve was a place to achieve all around peace and silence. I fell in love with the greenery and nature around me; I didn’t want to leave!
Before I headed back to the ferry, I enjoyed a delicious cup of chai at Cups Espresso & Café. The coffee at Cups is the finest hand crafted European-style espresso. In addition to warm and comforting beverages, they also have a selection of beer, wine and food.
Evening in Ballard
At night, I met up with my friend Meg from college in the Ballard area of the city. Ballard was probably my favorite area of Seattle, since it was more localized and less touristy. I loved all of the breweries, boutiques, trendy restaurants and live music spots that aligned the streets.
I met Meg and her boyfriend at Bitterroot, a rustic northwest BBQ joint with a wide selection of crafted local beers and cocktails. I enjoyed a delicious pulled chicken sandwich on a pretzel bun with a craft beer from a Ballard brewery. Overall, I had a great time catching up with Meg and reminiscing on college days!
Ballard offers a great selection of breweries. Some of the breweries that Meg recommended are listed below:
Day 4: Pike Place Round 2, The Space Needle, a Sporting Event or Bellevue
During my time in Seattle, I was grateful to have gotten lucky with gorgeous weather. It wasn’t until my last day, the only day I got to spend with my mom, that I got to taste true Pacific Northwest weather. Since my mom hadn’t gone before, I went back to Pike Place Market with her. Since this public market is so big, you could easily use two or more days to fully explore everything. My mom loved it as much as I did!
Some other fun activities to do in Seattle is explore the city’s iconic Space Needle. This observation tower offers 360-degree views of Seattle, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains. Other activities are exploring more state and national parks, attending a Seattle sporting event or even making your way through the city of Bellevue.
Looking to experience the jewels of the Pacific Northwest? We have the perfect travel package just for you!
Check out our 6-Nights Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver package where you could experience the three vibrant cities, its beautiful scenery and their fun experiences. Some of the highlights of this Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver tour include a mini-cruise from downtown Seattle to Victoria where you will have a chance to witness amazing views and spot wildlife. Between Victoria and Vancouver, travel through the Gulf Islands, enjoying the scenery along the way.
Some other highlights to this amazing trip are Seattle’s Pike Place Market and Space Needle, Victoria’s famous Government Street and Vancouver’s Robson Street.
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