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Seattle Travel Guide

Seattle Travel Guide

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Rain whips my face as I follow my nose down a cobble stoned path where the smell of the sea is getting stronger with each step. I arrive at Pike's Place Market to a fish monger throwing a salmon over my head. This has always been my vision of Seattle which I had visited a few times to see my cousins who grew up there. 

Last summer, my sister interned for Amazon and when we went to visit her we saw a completely new side of Seattle (including one quite memorable Burlesque show with my entire family). Last July, she moved there to work for Amazon full time so we headed out to experience a different side of the notoriously rainy city this past October. Then, last month, I went with Nick to hang out around my sister's neighborhood and it was equally amazing. We both said it was our favorite part of our five city West Coast adventure.

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Last summer, we had seen all the great tourists spots. We spent an afternoon at Chihuly Gardens--an incredible glass blowing exhibit that truly took my breathe away. Seattle is surrounded by water, and we definitely took advantage of that with the warm weather. We went kayaking and took the ferry over to Marination Ma Kai, a delicious Hawaiian Korean place right next to the water.

We, of course, did Pike's Place and saw the gum wall (disgusting but quite a sight!) and I clutched my sister's hand and deep breathed through the ferris wheel ride (I hate heights!). We also headed to what we thought was a drag show one evening with my very open minded parents. It ended up being more of a burlesque show that was fun, but maybe not with the whole family. We also had a great underground tour of the city and learned all about its' history. 

Seattle is great in the summer because it doesn't get too hot and there's a ton of exciting outdoor activities. Being a tourist was a blast but I was excited to experience a different side of the city and feel a bit more like a local. 

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When we came this past fall, we hung out in a different area. My sister lives in Capitol Hill, a bustling neighborhood with great restaurants, night life, and about a ten minute walk to Volunteer Park which was created by the same man who made Central Park. We spent our mornings walking to the park and exploring the many different paths. There's a gorgeous look out if you exit the park called Louisa Boren Look Out where we watched the sunrise (thanks jet lag!). My sister led us through all of her favorite shops including a plant store that looked like Mother Earth's closet. Drawers were stacked with succulents and sunflowers, terrariums covered the slate floor, and wood-scented candles burned throughout the store. 

We hit up Pike's Place (of course) and London Plane which has the best avocado toast. One morning, we weaved through the Ballard Farmer's Market which hummed to life as the sun rose with sellers showcasing fresh caught salmon, picture perfect blackberries, and honey cakes. Filling our basket to the brim, we all picked a few items to put together for a dinner with Sam's friends and our family. There was a lovely dinner with my cousins, a brunch I'm still dreaming about, a shopping spree at Nordstrom, and lots of meandering up and down the Seattle hills. And Kombucha. The West Coast knows how to Kombucha. Literally everywhere we went, I was provided 20 options for the bubbly drink. It. Was. Awesome. 

Perhaps my favorite part of the trip was a murder mystery party that one of my sister's friends did for her birthday at The Juice Joint. We all received characters beforehand, and dressed up in our best 1920's gear to determine who killed a very infamous mob boss. It was so fun and felt like we had stepped back in time with old fashioned drinks, tons of feather boas, and even old-timey accents her friends put on. 

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This summer, I returned with Nick and we went hiking in Discovery Park, hung out at happy hours in twinkle lit bars and hid from the rain in cozy park cafe's. We saw a Mariner's game and wandered around Capitol Hill. 

I highly recommend you spend a weekend exploring Seattle! I've but together some recommendations based on my last three trips as well as my sister's always fabulous recommendations that are the greatest hits! 

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STAY

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If you want to go fancy... The Four Seasons Seattle

I don't ever ball out on hotels but I've stayed her for my cousins' bar/bat mitzvah's and it's definitely a sight to see. Right on the water with stunning views, close to Pike's Place market and with the nicest hotel shower I've ever been in that's literally bigger than my NYC apartment. 

If you're looking for something unique... The Anderson School Hotel 

On the outskirts of Seattle and run by the same group who have The Kennedy School is Portland. I've been wanting to stay here for awhile, it's a converted school whose classrooms are the hotel rooms complete with speakeasy bar and lots of history. 

If you want to feel like a local... Airbnb

I feel like Airbnb should pay me commission at this point but there's no better way to feel like a local and have affordable accommodations. My family stayed in an amazing Airbnb by the park ten minutes from Capitol Hill and it couldn't have been more perfect. 

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EAT & DRINK

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If you want a cozy breakfast… Volunteer Park Cafe

On a beautiful corner, right off of Volunteer Park, a sprawling green space created by the same person who made Central Park in New York City sits the cutest cafe you’ve ever seen. Books dot the walls, the soup is healthy and warming, and they have a great turmeric latte.

If you want lunch with a view... Marination Ma Kai

Like I said, right on the water, this is a great jumping off point for an afternoon of kayaking or exploring by boat. Hawaiian Korean food served in Chinese takeout containers, it's deceptively delicious for being such a casual spot. 

If you are feeling basic... London Plane

Best avocado toast ever. They have a gorgeous interior that they share with a flower shop so you can get your basic toast with a side of succulents. Crazy high ceilings, beautifully crafted wood tables, and a small shop with candles, table books, and craft salts makes this the perfect brunch location. Located in Pioneer Square, it's also a great jumping off point for a day downtown. 

If you want simply great food... The Whale Wins

Farm to table deliciousness in a stunning spot makes this restaurant the ideal spot for dinner or brunch.  The seasonal menu always has a fresh rotation of delicious vegetables and fresh fish that has you feeling healthy and satisfied by the end of your meal. 

If you need an immunity boost... Pressed Juicery

While Seattle is full of more coffee and Kombucha options than I've ever seen, I had a hard time locating juice spots. Luckily my favorite and cost efficient Pressed Juicery is fairly close to Capitol Hill and I could stock up on all my favorites. 

If you don't want to make a fuss... Oddfellows

Oddfellows has a fairly big menu with lots of healthy salad and soup options along with some delicious juices and cocktails (if you're drinking). They also have a spot in the bookstore next door serving coffee and gluten free treats. It's a casual spot with solid food every time.  

If you want a cozy dinner... Thackeray

This spot has fire pits outside and a cozy space indoors with a great menu. Definitely get the cornbread to start and the basil ice cream is not to be missed! 

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SHOP

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If you want to do it for the insta... Glasswing 

This is the one with plants coming out of drawers. It's beautiful and has a great selection of clothes and accessories. It's also right down the street from Pressed Juicery.

If you want a unique find... Horseshoe

Located in Ballard, you can stop here while you're weaving your way through the Farmer's Market. Lots of pretty dresses, silky blouses, and nice tapered pants that you won't find on the East Coast.  

If you want to have an experience... Georgetown Trailer Park

Contrary to what you may believe, this is not a place to get camo pants and overalls. From their site, "The GT Trailer Park Mall offers independent artists, designers, makers and collectors to sell their goods direct in a one-of-a-kind environment thriving with community.  Each trailer houses a permanent, independently run shop." I haven't been here yet but it's definitely on my list. 

If you want department store shopping... Nordstrom's Flag Ship 

Nordstrom's started in Seattle so this store is a must see. It's huge and department store shopping at its best. 

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EXPLORE

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If you want to be the ultimate tourist... The Space Needle

Built for the World's Fair, the Seattle Space Needle has great views of the entire city and lots of history that's interesting if you're in the city for the first time. Crowds are pretty intense, especially in the summer months so get there early if you want to go. 

If you want culture... Chihuly Gardens and Glass

This is by far my favorite activity to do in Seattle. Chihuly is native to the area and has spent his life creating stunning works of art through various glass blowing techniques. I'm not a museum or an art person but I was absolutely floored by the incredible works. It's almost like stepping into a fairytale and well worth the money to see. 

If you want to be in the center of it all... Pike's Place Market

It's touristy but worth the hype. There's such an energy here and checking out all the stalls really gives you a sense of the food culture in the city. Don't forget to head to the left down the alley to check out the gum wall which is totally gross but a sight to see. 

If you want to go beyond Seattle... Bainbridge Island 

Bainbridge Island is a quick boat ride from downtown offering beautiful views, outdoor activities, picnic spots and more. Take the ferry over for the day to explore and don't forget to visit some of the wineries that now are there! 

If you can't resist a Farmer's Market... Ballard Farmer's Market

This is the market I went to with my sister and it was so fun. It's huge and runs on for blocks with fresh caught fish, fruit, gluten free breads, organic beauty products, and hand poured candles. If you're staying somewhere with a kitchen, this is definitely the place to go to stock up for an epic dinner.

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ACTIVITIES

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If you are a first timer to Seattle...Underground Tour 

This tour takes you underneath the streets to learn about how Seattle came to be. It was an absolutely fascinating few hours where we learned about how Seattle was built and rebuilt after flooding (with sidewalks so high sometimes people walked off and fell into the water!) and it was great to get an understanding of the city prior to exploring further. 

If you're not afraid of heights... Seattle Great Wheel

Right down the street from Pike's Place you'll find a ferris wheel that segments the waterfront. It's definitely fun to go on and has a beautiful view of the water and downtown Seattle. I'm terrified of heights so spent most of the time clutching my sister's hand and screaming but everyone else enjoyed it! 

If you want a hike... Discovery Park

If you're looking to get your hiking in, Seattle is a great place to climb mountains and rock climb and be outdoorsy. If you are hiking lite (aka me) (aka you like to think you're outdoorsy but would not be able to handle a 3 day camping trip in the backwoods) then head to Discovery Park where lots of trails give you a choice of easy or challenging hikes. Head to the lighthouse by the beach for a beautiful view. 

If you want a unique experience... Julia's Queen of The Brunch Drag Show

This one was recommended by my cousin who had gone before and said it was an absolute blast. Located in Capitol Hill, they offer Saturday and Sunday brunch and a drag show which sounds like tons of fun. My entire family went one weekday evening which ended up being more Burlesque than Drag so just be careful which night you choose! 

If you like sports... Mariners Game

As a serious Yankees fan, I had my doubts about going to the Mariners' game. Yankee stadium is unrivaled, the team is incredible, and it's in the heart of NY. How could anything else compare? While I still love the Yankees most, this was such a fun night. Every time there's a home run, fireworks go off. If it rains, this immense Star Wars like cover comes over the entire stadium. They even have chocolate covered strawberries in place of your typical peanuts. A great way to spend a Friday night. 

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FITNESS

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I usually go for hikes with my sister or use her gym so I can't say I've tried most of these but they're on my list to go to the next time I'm there! 

If you want to be on the water... Kayak

This one I did with my family two trips ago and it was a blast. Head out on the water for two hours and enjoy the incredible views, the breeze, and a little calm from the city. 

If you are into Pilates... Barre3

This is kind of like a mix between Pilates, Barre, and Ballet. It looks great for alignment and core strength. 

If you want to get your "om" on... Grinning Yogi

This is the yoga studio my sister goes to and she really loves it. There's two locations and they also have retreats which look lovely. You know I'm not a yoga girl, but including it in the event any of you are! 

If you want to bike but not outdoors... Burn Cycle

There's SoulCycle as well and that is my sister's preferred spot but if you want to go to a local spot this place looks great. 

Did you go to Seattle? What are your favorite places?  

 

Blackberry Maple Vegan Ice Cream

Blackberry Maple Vegan Ice Cream

Los Angeles, Here We Come.

Los Angeles, Here We Come.