There’s one city in the USA that feels like home to me and that would be Seattle, Washington. Although it is known as being rainy and grey, Seattle is anything but dull.
The last time my girlfriend and I went to Seattle we met up with some dear friends of mine. One of the best things about having friends all over the world is how great it is when you can meet up! I find it’s a better travel experience as well, as having an insider perspective and recommendations is very beneficial.
Soon after we arrived we met up with our friends and headed out to explore the city. Being the frugal people we are, we walked from our hotel, which was located by the Space Needle, to the downtown core. I had a few things in mind that I wanted to show my girlfriend as this was her first time to Seattle – so I really wanted to make it special.
No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. The Market is pretty loud and eccentric, but has a really special vibe to it that makes it memorable. The market itself is one of the oldest continuously operated farmers’ markets in the USA. The market has some memorable attractions, such as the Pike Place Fish Market, where employees throw large fish to each other to prep them for sale. We bought some tea at MarketSpice, a vibrant shop in the market that has a large variety of teas. Looking through the huge selection of different teas, we chose Sunset in Seattle tea – a herbal blend of rosehips, vanilla, chamomile, spearmint, raspberry, lemongrass, hyssop and herbs. Upon trying the tea when we got home we were super impressed how tasty it is and it has easily become our favourite tea.
I had always heard about the Seattle Underground (no, not a subway system) – the interconnecting tunnels beneath the city streets – but every time I visited the city I never had an opportunity to check them out. The tunnels were created following a fire in 1889 that devastated 31 blocks of the city’s core. Following the fire, there was a decision to regrade the streets two-storeys higher than before as a way of mitigating the reoccurring floods from the high tides and assisting the gravity-assisted flush toilets. So the former streets thus created tunnels beneath the new streets above. Taking a tour through the streets was a really neat experience and gave us an opportunity to hear more about the history of this cool city.
When looking for places to eat, we were surprised by the large number of vegan-friendly restaurants. After quite some time researching on my part (my favourite thing to do when my girlfriend falls asleep before me), I came across a Mexican restaurant called El Borracho. If there’s something I truly love (other than my beautiful girlfriend) it’s Mexican food. My girlfriend and I eat Mexican food on a weekly basis (and I secretly wish it was more often). Looking at the online menu for El Borracho, we were pleased to see lots of vegan options: vegan nachos, vegan sonoran hot dogs, vegan taquitos, etc. When we arrived we were actually surprised to notice that the restaurant was attached to Pike Place Market. Seeing as I’ve been there a number of times and haven’t noticed this, just goes to show how much there is to see. We sat down and order super cheap but insanely delicious margaritas – appropriately named “el cheapo” for $4. We then each got a few different tacos and devoured the chips and salsa. If you’re in Seattle I would 10/10 recommend!
Seattle is an amazing place to go out for a drink. Another time I was there a friend of mine took me out to two really awesome bars in the city. The first one is a speakeasy-themed bar called Knee High Stocking Co. that is literally “hidden in plain sight”. The other one is actually technically in Bellevue, but it is Prime 21 Lounge, tucked in the back of Daniel’s Broiler. Located twenty-something storeys up, this bar showcases serves old-style cocktails that are top-notch.
Finding a quiet place in a city can sometimes be a challenge. In Seattle I’ve found that there are quite a number of places where you can go and find solitude. One of my favourites is Olympic Sculpture Park. Located on the north shore of the downtown core, this former industrial site is now a pleasant green space that hosts a large outdoor sculpture museum. When my girlfriend and I were visiting, we made a point of taking a relaxing Sunday stroll through the park. After having a large “American-style” breakfast at the 5 Point Café, taking a walk was more out necessity than pleasure (yes – there are vegan options and are they ever filling).
I’ve always been a big fan of trying something new. One thing that I’ve wanted to try for a while now is glass blowing. It looks so intense but delicate and I think that contrast really appeals to me. In Seattle they do have some glass blowing classes, but since our last trip was so short we didn’t have the opportunity to indulge in my interest. What we did do, however, was get some incredible inspiration for the day I do get to go glass blowing, and that was by going to the Chihuly Garden and Glass museum. Located in the Seattle Centre, right next to the Space Needle, the Chihuly museum offers an in-depth exhibit on the inspirations, influences, and creations of artist Dale Chihuly. The exhibit includes 8 galleries, 3 art walls, and a theatre. By the end of exploring the exhibit, we all felt like we got to know Dale (yes, we’re on a first name basis after this trip) and were all inspired to try our hand at glass blowing sometime soon!
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that Seattle has some great coffee, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Being a non-coffee drinker, my opinion is not that strong; however, being dragged around from place to place in search of the best coffee I’ve learned that there’s definitely something to be admired about Seattle’s coffee. My friends suggested that my girlfriend should try a pour-over coffee and took us to Craftworks Coffee. I was told that the coffee was delicious and the barista even came over and let the coffee-drinkers try another variety at no charge! Some other cafés that I have been to and have heard talked of highly are Victorla Coffee Roasters and La Marzocco… but there are so many different ones, so go out and experiment!
Our next visit to Seattle will hopefully come sooner than later. I can’t wait for my girlfriend and I to return to the Emerald City!
- Don’t avoid all of the major tourist attractions. Checking out well-known places like Pike Place Market or the Seattle Underground will allow you to form a stronger connection with this funky city.
- Try something new! Whether it’s a new type of coffee, visiting an art exhibit, or having a drink at a swanky speakeasy, Seattle is a place where you can expand your horizons.
- If you plan on going up the Space Needle, think about going up for a meal or a drink. If you go for lunch or dinner the price includes your ride up to the observation deck.
- Despite being known as grey and gloomy, the weather can be pretty pleasant from March to November. Even still, there are a number of museums, exhibits, and other indoor activities to do in the city. So don’t let a little rain ruin your fun! Some examples include Savor Seattle food tours, the Seattle Pinball museum, the Museum of Flight, or the Seattle Art Museum.
- If you are not afraid of a little rain or water, Seattle is a great place to go whale watching. Another great activity (and my mom’s favourite) is the Ride the Ducks city tour.