5 Must Do’s on a Trip to Seattle

Every time I visit Seattle, I’m reminded of how eclectic of a city it is.

Having visited the Pacific Northwest a few times, I’ve had the chance to explore many of Seattle’s neighborhoods, and because I know a lot of people automatically think “Space Needle” whenever they hear “Seattle,” I’m sharing my top 5 things to do on a visit to Seattle.

If you’ll be in Seattle for a few days, check out my city guide to Seattle for my favorite places to explore, eat and drink.

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5 Must’Do’s When Visiting Seattle

Pike Place Market

It may be touristy, but for good reason. In 1907, the market was started as a way for the city to work around the middle-men that had gotten between the locals and the producers. Since then, it’s become one of the city’s most popular attractions.

Even though I’ve been to Pike Place a few times, I still haven’t explored all the stores and restaurants in the marketplace- it’s truly massive.

On one of my first visits to the market, I took a food tour by Savor Seattle. On the tour, you not only see the market and meet the merchants, you also learn the history of the market, and try a bunch of food bites (16+, enough for a meal!). All of Savor Seattle’s tours highlight the vibrant stories of the people and places that make Seattle a great culinary center. What’s more, at the end of your tour, the guide gives you a discount card for over 50 places around the market.

Whether you take a guided tour or decide to stroll through the market on your own, a few of my favorite places to check out: MarketSpice (cinnamon orange tea), Pike Place Chowder, Etta’s Seafood (mini crab cakes), Daily Dozen Doughnut Co., the “original” Starbucks, Piroshky Piroshky, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Beecher’s (mac ‘n cheese was rated the best by Oprah), The Crumpet Shop, Ellenos Greek Yogurt, the gum wall in Post Alley & don’t miss the flying fish!

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Caffeinate & Eat

Even though I live in one of the best foodie cities in the world (New Yorkkk), I love visiting Seattle for vacation because the city’s food & drink scene is ever-evolving. With so many unique and delicious restaurants, bars and cafes, planning a few meals can be just as exciting as visiting any other attraction.

The places below are by no means a comprehensive list, but some of my favorite spots that I find myself going back to time after time. In my Seattle City Guide, I’ve grouped my favorite spots by neighborhood in case you’re in, Capital Hill, for example, and looking for somewhere to grab brunch.

  • Elm Coffee Roasters: Filter coffee is excellent, reminds me of cafes in Portland
  • The London Plane: This place rules them all. Part cafe (best brunch!), part specialty foods grocery, part floral workshop, this place specializes in all things beautiful
  • Starbucks Roastery: Much better blends than the regular drip, and there’s a Serious Pie outpost here (win!)
  • Oddfellows: Morning, noon and night. Love having breakfast here and setting up shop to work for the day, such a lovely ambiance
  • Sitka & Spruce: Tucked into Melrose Market’s collection of foodie stores and cafes, this place excels at clean, vegetarian food. The savory seasonal yoghurt is always a must-order for me
  • Skillet Diner: Come for the giant cinnamon roll, try any of the brunch entrees- they’re all solid
  • Serious Pie: Tom Douglas, I love you and your delicious pizzas. Roasted mushroom and truffled cheese pizza is unbelievable
  • The Walrus & the Carpenter: No trip to Seattle is complete for me without stopping at this tiny, yet charming place for oyster happy hour (the rest of the menu is also stellar). There’s a line out the door for a reason. I usually go when they open, but if you end up waiting for a table, pass the time with a glass of wine at Barnacle next door
    • And, you can call me a Renee Erickson fangirl, but new-ish Bar Melusine (sister restaurant to the Walrus), and General Porpoise Coffee & Doughnuts (next to Bar Melusine, the best custard doughnuts ever) are on my list of favorite places to go in Seattle after only one visit
  • Westward: A seaside favorite- seasonal Mediterranean cuisine, fresh oysters, rose, and al fresco dining on the water with a fire pit & adirondack chairs. What more could you ask for?
  • Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery: Molten chocolate (flourless) cakes. So rich, so dense, so delicious
  • Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: Freshly baked waffle cones and unique flavors of ice cream. Salted caramel, Scout mint, strawberry balsamic, Earl Grey…really, you can’t go wrong here
  • Top Pot Doughnuts: A local chain serving up flavored cake doughnuts, ’nuff said
  • Canon: Just bring me all of the whiskey. This place is not to be missed, outstanding cocktails and more than 2,600 labels
  • Tavern Law: This place takes cocktails seriously. Upstairs, through the bank-vault door is another hidden cocktail gem, The Needle & Thread
  • Sun Liquor Lounge: Old-timey gin drinks, personally enjoyed the Mai Tai
  • Herb & Bitter Public House: The drink lists are inside of classic children’s books, but the cocktails are all grown up
  • Damn the Weather: Without a doubt, one of the best drink places in Seattle. Tipplers are on point

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Garden and Glass

I’m a big Chihuly fan, so this collection of his works was right up my alley. Stunning glass art, to say the least, the pieces in each room are absolutely remarkable.

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Kerry Park

I’m a sucker for a sunset and a good view. Said to be the best place to take a picture of the Seattle skyline, Kerry Park is located on the south slope of Queen Anne Hill. Come ~20 minutes before sunset to allow time to find a space to set-up, Kerry Park can become crowded.

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Get Outside

The Pacific Northwest is stunning. Maybe it’s because I live in New York, but I can’t imagine a visit to Seattle without an afternoon spent in one of the city’s many parks, or a morning spent hiking one of the peaceful, stunning trails just outside city limits.

Again, my list of places is by no means exhaustive, but represents some of my go-to’s whenever I’m in the city. If you’re a big hiking fan, would definitely do some of your own research or consider a trip to Mt. Rainer or a weekend spent on Bainbridge Island.

  • Gas Works Park: Built on the site of an old coal gasification plant, many of the plant remnants are part of the park. Great place to have a picnic on a nice day and take in the Seattle skyline
  • Golden Gardens Park: Sunny summer days are best spent here
  • Discovery Park: Love the paths and trails here for morning runs or afternoon walks
  • Japanese Gardens: The gardens aren’t massive per se, but they’re big enough to find a quiet spot and just enjoy the beautiful scenery around you- the ponds, waterfalls and flowers make these gardens the definition of a hidden gem
  • Two hiking trails I’ve enjoyed ~an hour outside the city: Twin Falls & Rattlesnake Ledge 
  • TreeHouse Point: Don’t expect to go hiking here, but it is a good place to spend a few hours immersed in nature. TreeHouse Point place is a childhood dream come true. I came out one afternoon for a property tour, so cool seeing all of the tree houses. If you can swing it, this would be an awesome place to stay for a night outside the city

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Bonus!

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour: Walking tour through Pioneer Square and the forgotten streets below. A bit unusual, a bit quirky, perfectly representative of Seattle

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Extra Know Before you Go Info

  • When to Go: I’ve been to Seattle during every season, but late spring, summer and early fall are my favorite times to visit. Your odds for sunny days are higher during this time of the year, and summer temperatures are pretty mild in comparison to other parts of the country (70’s/80’s with low humidity). Whenever you visit, bring a waterproof coat and footwear option. It doesn’t rain constantly in Seattle, but if it does, you’ll be glad you’re prepared
  • Where to Stay: I usually stay with friends, but would recommend either looking for an Airbnb (there are plenty!) or hotel in Capital Hill, Queen Anne, Pioneer Square (closest to downtown), or Ballard if you want to stay slightly outside the city in a part of town that’s a bit more residential, but has just as many great restaurants, bars and shops
  • How to Get Around: Seattle has a bus and light-rail system, but the most convenient way to get around is to drive or take an Uber. Fortunately, the city has ever-expanding Uber options, including Pool and a new, flat-rate carpool option called UberHop (cheaper than Pool, but the pick-up and drop-off destinations are fixed- super convenient if you’re just trying to get from one part of the city to another)
    • If you’re flying into Seattle-Tacoma, you can take Link light rail to downtown for $3 (takes around ~40-50 minutes)

Have you ever been to Seattle? What did you enjoy most about your trip?

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10 Of My Favorite US Cities

With a move to London on the horizon, I’m growing increasingly excited to live in another country and see as much of the UK and Europe as possible during my time there.

I’ve done a lot traveling around the US the past few years, and will definitely miss the breadth and diversity of cities across the country. I say it all the time, but travel doesn’t have to be expensive or far flung- so many places in America are the perfect (affordable!) destinations for a long weekend.

10 Of My Favorite US Cities

Seattle

When I hear the “Emerald City,” a few things come to mind: Quirky music and art, the great outdoors, first-rate local produce, and, of course, adventure. Every time I visit Seattle, I’m reminded of how eclectic of a city it is.

Having visited the Pacific Northwest many times, I’ve had the chance to explore a lot of Seattle’s neighborhoods, and because I know a lot of people automatically think “Space Needle” whenever they hear “Seattle,” I’ve put together a list of my favorite places to go in the city, as well as my must-sees for Pike Place Market.

Between the food, the music and the shops, you can’t go wrong spending a few days in Seattle. And, it’s close enough to Portland, Victoria, B.C., and Vancouver to warrant spending more than a weekend in this part of the country.

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Los Angeles

Every time I visit the Golden State, I fall a little bit more in love with the land of laid back. It’s a refreshing break from the East Coast- palm trees, sunshine and warm weather year-round, what more could you ask for?

Contrary to what many people may think, LA is not just Hollywood. During most of my trips to LA, I’ve stayed in Santa Monica or Venice to get my fill of beach vibes. And, if you head outside of the main areas, Malibu, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree State Park, and even Disneyland are great places to kickback and unwind while soaking up some sunshine.

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Austin

I haven’t written about Austin yet for this blog, but after living there for a few months a couple of years ago, I fell hard for the city. Known as the live music capital of the world, Austin is all about seriously good eats, strong drinks, great beats and being outside. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where people applaud sunsets.

One of the best parts about Austin? It’s compact enough to see and do a ton of stuff during the shortest of trips. I’m planning on spending a few days here as part of a visit back to the US in early March. Already excited to discover how much the city has changed since I’ve been there, and revisit a few of my favorite spots.

NYC

After calling New York City home for over six years, it’s really tough for me to imagine settling down anywhere else. Even though I (and many New Yorkers) have a serious love-hate relationship with the city, it’s a place brimming with energy morning, noon and night- you can’t help but feel so alive when you’re here.

Aside from never-ending options of things to do, I also love how walkable New York is, and even though I complain about subway delays, the public transit system really is top notch. There’s no question this city is somewhere everyone should visit at least once in their life.

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Miami

In Florida, they salt margaritas not sidewalks. My first time in Miami was during a particularly brutal February in the northeast, but it’s the perfect escape any time of the year.

With stunning beaches, a bustling art scene, great food and nightlife, and some seriously cool art deco architecture, there’s no shortage of things to do in Miami. And, because I know a lot of people think of the South Beach party scene when Miami comes up, I haven’t spent much time there, and have still loved every trip I’ve taken to the city. Although, I love a good night out, I’ve spent more time in Wynwood, Little Havana and Key Biscayne.

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Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World conjures up images of kids in strollers, characters roaming the parks and a lot of mouse shaped things. And, sure enough, as soon as you walk into the parks, you feel like a kid again- you’re excited to get your picture taken with Pluto, wait in line for Space Mountain, and buy a pair of sparkly mouse ears because, magic.

Disney may be extra special for kids, but I’ve come to appreciate it more as an adult through vacations and runDisney events. One of the best parts of visiting Disney as an adult? Seeking out the best spots to grab a drink when you need a break from the magic madness.

Whatever your reasons for visiting Disney, you have to appreciate the attention to detail everywhere from the resorts to the parks- it’s truly astounding. And yes, I recognize Disney isn’t technically a city, but it sure is big enough with enough to do to warrant a spot on this list.

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New Orleans

New Orleans is a city bursting at the seams with Caribbean vibes and Cajun attitude.

In Nola, it’s all about the details. Strings of beads are draped on cast-iron balconies year-round, an assortment of cultures, and live music bring Bourbon Street to life. There’s savory beignets for breakfast and steamed crawfish for dinner. It’s the perfect place to spend a long weekend.

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Charleston

Charleston is the epitome of Southern charm. Quaint streets lined with sprawling, pastel homes and palm trees. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. And, seriously good eats.

After spending a long weekend in downtown Charleston, I realized nothing is truer than this statement: north is a direction, south is a lifestyle.

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San Francisco & Napa and Sonoma

San Francisco is the kind of city that never gets old, no matter how many times you visit, because there’s always something new to do or explore. Having been to San Francisco a few times, I have my go-to recos for things to do or see, but also have a slew of things I still want to do on return trips.

Located on a peninsula surrounded by water, San Francisco’s climate is mild year-round, although summers tend to be on the cool side. If the weather is a bit chilly during your visit, and you’re in the mood for warmer temps, plus some wine, head an hour north to Napa and Sonoma.

My first visit to wine country felt intimidating- so many wineries! According to Lonely Planet, there are over 600 wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties. But it’s quality, not quantity, that sets the region apart – especially in Napa, which competes with France and doubles as an outpost of San Francisco’s top-end culinary scene. Sonoma prides itself on agricultural diversity, with you-pick-em orchards and roadside fruit stands.

Fortunately, one of my girlfriends has grown to love wine as much as me, and every year we plan a weekend back to the region. Rolling hills, blue skies and vineyards as far as the eye can see make California’s wine country a relaxing and fun weekend getaway.

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Portland

If you like to shop and eat, Portland is the town for you. Usually, when I’m in the PNW, it’s to visit Seattle, so I haven’t spent as much time in Portland as I’d like. If you’re visiting for the weekend, get ready for days filled with walking all over the city, popping into shops and eating and drinking all of the delicious things.

And, like in Seattle, just outside the city, there are a lot of outdoorsy activities to do, including hiking the Oneota Gorge. Off I-84 near Mulnomah Falls outside of Portland, Oregon, the Oneonta Gorge is one of those bucket list natural wonders- you kind of have to see it to believe it.

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Chicago

The third largest city in the US (by population) is known by a multitude of nicknames- The Windy City, the Second City, the City of Broad Shoulders- and for good reason. There’s a lot to do in Chicago, from cultural gems like the Art Institute to exploring the city’s booming food scene.

If you’re only visiting for a weekend, it’s impossible to do everything, but there are some things that shouldn’t be skipped over. It’s been a while since I’ve been to Chicago, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to spend a few days becoming reacquainted with the city on a return trip to the US- already excited to revisit a few of my favorite places and check out some new restaurants and bars that have popped.

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Honorable Mentions to: Denver, Savannah, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

On my list of cities to visit on return trips to the US over the next few years?

  • St. George, Utah
  • Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Marfa, Texas
  • Billings, Montana (aka Big Sky Country)
  • Portland, Maine
  • Nashville, TN (I’ve only been there once for a conference)
  • Oahu, Hawaii

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5 Tips for Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

A fan of all things Dutch, visiting the Netherlands in spring to see tulips at Keukenhof has been on my travel list for a while.

Holland isn’t the only place to see rows and rows of gorgeous tulips though. In the Pacific Northwest, millions of tulips bloom every spring.

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During a recent April trip to Seattle, I spent a morning at the Skagit Valley Tulip festival in Mt. Vernon, Washington. Known for its stunning tulip fields, visitors from all over the world come to Skagit Valley every spring- it’s truly a sight to behold.

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Tulips first came to Skagit Valley in the early 1990’s. With soil similar to Holland, it’s the perfect location for tulip crops.

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Driving through the region, you’ll see field after field full of tulips. Roozengaarde owns many of the fields in the region, their Bloom Map shows you where the fields are located and which flowers are blooming.

If you visit Roozengarde fields, you’ll pay a few dollars (~$5-8) to park at the first field, and then  be able to park at a second one for free. Your parking ticket could also be used as admission for one person to view the Roozengaarde Display Gardens, which we opted to do.

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I’d definitely recommend visiting the gardens- it’s a stunning display of tulips.

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Tulip Town is another popular destination in Skagit Valley. Although I haven’t visited Tulip Town, I’ve heard their fields and indoor flower displays are both nice. 

5 Tips for Visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

  • How to get there: An hour and a half outside of downtown Seattle, Mt. Vernon is an easy and fun half-day trip
  • When to go: The festival takes place every year during April, but when the tulips actually bloom depends on the weather. I planned a visit for mid-April, figuring visiting in the middle of the festival would be my best chance to see the tulips in full bloom- I lucked out, we had great weather! Two weeks before my trip, I heard the fields were so muddy you couldn’t walk through them
  • What time to go: If you’re visiting on the weekend, go early in the day. Traffic in and out of Mount Vernon can become heavy, so waking up early is worth it if you want to see the tulips but don’t want to spend hours sitting on the highway
    • We stopped at General Porpoise on our way out of Seattle for doughnuts and cold brew, which made getting up early on a Sunday a bit easier

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  • What to do: Beyond visiting the tulip fields, if you want to see more of the region, head to downtown Mt. Vernon to check out the local shops and restaurants
  • What to wear: Be prepared for any kind of weather, spring in the Pacific Northwest can mean sunshine, rain, warm weather, cool / windy weather, etc. If it’s rained recently, the fields can be muddy, so I’d recommend wearing / bringing rain boots or sneakers

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PS. If Mt. Vernon is too far north for you travel to, I’ve heard there are also smaller scale tulip festivals in Woodland, Washington and Woodburn, Oregon.

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What to Eat at Pike Place Market

It’s no secret Seattle is one of my favorite cities. If you’re visiting the city, Pike Place Market is a must-see.

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In 1907, the market was started as a way for the city to work around the middle-men that had gotten between the locals and the producers.

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Even though I’ve been to Pike Place quite a few times, I still haven’t explored all the stores and restaurants in the marketplace- it’s truly massive. On one of my first visits to the market, I took a food tour by Savor Seattle.

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A few of the stalls you visit on the food tour

 

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Some of the yummy food bites & drink samples from the tour

I’m the type of person that likes to explore on my own, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the food tour. On each tour, you not only see the market and meet the merchants, you also learn the history of the market, and try a bunch of food bites (16+, enough for a meal!)- I ended up loving the tour.

One of the best things about the Savor Seattle food tour is getting a chance to see the different sides of the market, and how it’s more than just a place with good food. All of Savor Seattle’s tours highlight the vibrant stories of the people and places that make Seattle a great culinary center. What’s more, at the end of your tour, the guide gives you a discount card for over 50 places around the market.

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Regardless of whether you choose to do a Savor Seattle tour or not, these market stalls are worth checking out if you find yourself in Pike Place:

  • You can’t visit Pike Place Market without visiting the Fish Market. This is the part of the market most visitors are familiar with since they’ve heard of or seen the fish throwing on TV

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  • Fruit Stand: There are fruit and vegetable stands throughout the market, but the one of the corner of the alley at the main entrance to the market (big sign overhead) is one of my favorites. They’re always offering free tastes of whatever fruit is in season

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  • MarketSpice: Great selection of teas and spices, I really love the cinnamon orange. They usually have 1-2 types of tea out for you to try and most varieties are available in regular and decaf
  • Pike Place Chowder: There’s often a line out the door for a reason- the creamy chowders and silky bisques are the perfect way to warm up in the chilly Seattle weather
  • Etta’s Seafood: Dont miss the mini crab cakes and triple coconut cream pie
  • Daily Dozen Doughnut Co.: These mini doughnuts are the cutest! Perfect for a quick snack or breakfast- love the cinnamon ones and sprinkle ones
  • Chukar Cherries: The spot for chocolate covered cherries, I always buy a bag or two to take home. They’ll let you try whatever variety you want, but I highly recommend the cherry bings or Cabernet chocolate covered cherries
  • The “original” Starbucks: This is the original Starbucks cafe, the first one to serve cups of coffee. The actual original Starbucks is nearby, but it only sold beans when it opened

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  • Piroshky PiroshkyA family-owned Russian bakery with a variety of sweet and savory pastries
  • Rachel’s Ginger Beer: So many flavors of ginger beer! Definitely recommend ordering one of their Mules mid-way through your market crawl

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  • Beecher’s: The mac ‘n cheese here was rated the best by Oprah, and we all know Oprah doesn’t lie. You know it’s good when you can watch them make the curds from the street
  • Ellenos Greek Yogurt: I can’t even describe how good this stuff is. It’s made fresh with milk, live active cultures, honey and fruit- that’s it. Big fan of the marionberry pie and lemon curd ones
  • The Crumpet Shop: The lemon ricotta crumpet is perfect for breakfast- equal parts sweet and savory with the perfect crunch
  • The Confectional: This spot is known for its mini cheesecakes and cheesecake bites dipped in chocolate, I really enjoyed the Mexican chocolate cheesecake
  • Simply the Best: Every kind of dried fruit imaginable
  • Radiator Whiskey: Get the bourbon margarita after an afternoon of wandering the market

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  • The Pink Door: Such a hidden gem above the market, keep your eye open for the pink door or else you’ll miss it. Their homemade pasta is so good, and there’s apparently a trapeze artist that performs on Monday nights
  • Steelhead Diner: Another good sit-down dining option in Pike Place, the diner is a cozy spot to relax. The clam chowder drizzled with truffle oil & lavender goat cheese were both so yummy
  • Gum Wall in Post Alley: Not somewhere to eat, but definitely worth seeing since it’s one of those things where you don’t know whether to be grossed out or impressed. The wall was cleaned for the first time in 20 years in November, but I’ve heard people have already started re-decorating it 😉

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Also, don’t miss the flower stalls in the center of the market! Depending on what season you’re visiting Seattle, you’ll see hundreds of blooming peonies, amazing tulips in every color imaginable, or other stunning flower arrangements.

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#Take12Trips: April

After a few weekend trips (Philly for a race and Cape Cod for a wedding), and a vacation to Seattle and Tulum, I’m ready for a few weeks back in the city. As much as I enjoy traveling and experiencing new things, there’s always anticipated comfort in coming home and getting back into a routine.

This weekend, I’m staying close to my home in Harlem- working from a few neighborhood cafes and taking advantage of the spring weather on runs through the park, so exciting to see everything in full bloom. Spring is definitely one of my favorite seasons in New York.

Some of my favorite moments from April’s travels:

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Working Friday @ a cute cafe in Philly, #AlltheIcedCoffee

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Post-15k Brunching

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Sun-drenched Happy Hour in Seattle

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The best doughnuts, ever at General Porpoise

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4 mile hike to Rattlesnake Ledge (uphill hike was totally worth it for the view)

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From the PNW to the beaches of Tulum

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^Me, in 80 years 😉

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Spicy margs beachside

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Perfect afternoon at a cenote

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Spa bliss at Coqui Coqui

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Drinks & dancing in the jungle

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Quick stop in Boston on the way to the Cape for a friend’s wedding

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Totally understand why people spend summer weekends on the Cape, beautiful beaches & cute towns

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A night of friendship, dancing, love and celebration #GettingMariad

Tulum travel guides and my favorite places in Pike Place Market coming soon, but if you’re heading to Seattle any time soon, check out some of my favorite places to visit.

Seattle: City Guide

When I hear the “Emerald City,” a few things come to mind: Quirky music and art, the great outdoors, first-rate local produce, and adventure. Every time I visit Seattle, I’m reminded of how eclectic of a city it is.

Having visited the Pacific Northwest a few times, I’ve had the chance to explore many of Seattle’s neighborhoods, and because I know a lot of people automatically think “Space Needle” whenever they hear “Seattle,” I’m sharing a few of my favorite haunts.

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Happy Hour at Westward on a beautiful summer day

You’ll usually find me in

  • Capitol Hill, Ballard, Fremont, Belltown or Queen Anne, which is why all of my recommendations are in these neighborhoods 😉

Get outside

  • Golden Gardens Park: Sunny summer days are best spent here
  • Discovery Park: Love the paths and trails here for morning runs or afternoon walks
  • Gas Works Park: Built on the site of an old coal gasification plant, many of the plant remnants are part of the park. Great place to have a picnic on a nice day and take in the Seattle skyline
  • Pike Place Market: Year-round farmers market, iconic to say the least (recos on my favorite stalls below)
  • Ballard Farmers Market: Every Sunday, year round. If you’re staying in Ballard, great place to buy fresh produce and check out local goods
  • Alki Beach Park: Great for a morning run or afternoon walk, views of the city skyline
  • Kerry Park: Said to be the best place to take a picture of the Seattle skyline (especially during sunset)

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Alki Beach Park

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Sunset at Kerry Park

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Gas Works Park

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Golden Gardens Park

 

Not your typical museum/tour

  • Chihuly Garden & Glass: I’m a big Chihuly fan, so this collection of his works was right up my alley. Stunning glass art, to say the least
  • EMP: Love the interactive sound lab and Nirvana exhibit, pop culture and music fans will enjoy an afternoon here
  • Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour: Walking tour through Pioneer Square and the forgotten streets below. A bit unusual, a bit quirky, perfectly representative of Seattle

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EMP Museum

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Chihuly Garden & Glass

Where to get coffee

Near Downtown:

  • The London Plane: This place rules them all. Part cafe (best brunch!), part specialty foods grocery, part floral workshop, this place specializes in all things beautiful
  • Elm Coffee Roasters: Filter coffee is excellent, reminds me of cafes in Portland

Near Ballard:

Near Capitol Hill / Queen Anne:

  • Oddfellows: Morning, noon and night. Love having breakfast here and setting up shop to work for the day, such a lovely ambiance
  • Row House Cafe: Brie on croissant french toast best enjoyed on the patio, their latte is pretty good as well
  • Starbucks Roastery: Much better blends than the regular drip, and there’s a Serious Pie outpost here (win!)
  • Stumptown Coffee: Reliable brew, great for a quick stop en route to brunch

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The London Plane

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Brunch at Row House

Where to eat

Near Capitol Hill: 

  • Mamnoon: Falafel, hummus, killer tabouleh. Go-to for healthy Middle Eastern food
  • Sitka & Spruce: Tucked into Melrose Market’s collection of foodie stores and cafes, this place excels at clean, vegetarian food. The savory seasonal yoghurt is always a must-order for me
  • Skillet Diner: Come for the giant cinnamon roll, try any of the brunch entrees- they’re all solid
  • Hot Mama’s: Quintessential pizza stop after a night out, you won’t regret ordering the pesto slice
  • Serious Pie: Tom Douglas, I love you and your delicious pizzas. Roasted mushroom and truffled cheese pizza is unbelievable
  • Glo’s: Diner heaven. The perfect post-hike breakfast if you’ve worked up an appetite

Near Ballard: 

  • The Walrus & the Carpenter: No trip to Seattle is complete for me without stopping at this tiny, yet charming place for oyster happy hour (the rest of the menu is also stellar). There’s a line out the door for a reason. I usually go when they open, but if you end up waiting for a table, pass the time with a glass of wine at Barnacle next door
  • Westward: A seaside favorite- seasonal Mediterranean cuisine, fresh oysters, rose, and al fresco dining on the water with a fire pit & adirondack chairs. What more could you ask for?

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Oyster Happy Hour at The Walrus & The Carpenter

 

Where to drink

Near Downtown / Belltown: 

  • Elysian Bar: Beautiful interior with good cocktails, but the butternut squash soup (may be seasonal) was the real winner
  • Radiator Whiskey: Bourbon margarita is a must-try (great place for happy hour if you’re visiting Pike Place Market)

Near Ballard: 

  • Percy’s & Co: Come for happy hour cocktails on the back patio, absolute heaven on warm summer nights
  • The Walrus & the Carpenter (see above)

Near Capitol Hill / Queen Anne: 

  • Bar Ferd’nand: Snacks are beautiful and the wine selection is good
  • Canon: Just bring me all of the whiskey. This place is not to be missed, outstanding cocktails and more than 2,600 labels
  • Linda’s Tavern: Fun place (divey vibe) to grab a drink at night, hearty brunch on the weekends
  • Sun Liquor Lounge: Old-timey gin drinks, personally enjoyed the Mai Tai
  • Fierabend: The spaetzle gets two thumbs up and the bartenders make a mean hot toddy
  • Knee High Stocking Co.: Cozy prohibition era speakeasy, drinks are delicious
  • Tavern Law: This place takes cocktails seriously. Upstairs, through the bank-vault door is another hidden cocktail gem, The Needle & Thread
  • Grim’s Provisions & Spirits: If you’re bar hopping in Cap Hill, this place & Unicorn should be on your list. Order the AMF here and then hit up Hot Mama’s for pizza

 

Where to have dessert

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Hot Cakes Deliciousness

 

No visit to Seattle is complete without…

A stop at Pike Place Market, check out: MarketSpice (cinnamon orange tea), Pike Place Chowder, Etta’s Seafood (mini crab cakes), Daily Dozen Doughnut Co., the “original” Starbucks, Piroshky Piroshky, Rachel’s Ginger Beer, Beecher’s (mac ‘n cheese was rated the best by Oprah), the gum wall in Post Alley & don’t miss the flying fish!

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Just outside the city

  • Sip Washington wines in Woodinville, my favorite wineries are Chateau Ste Michelle Winery and Columbia Winery
  • Go whale watching at Everett Marina (check Groupon for a deal beforehand)
  • Revert to childhood at TreeHouse Point. This place is a childhood dream come true. I came out one afternoon for a property tour, so cool seeing all of the tree houses. If you can swing it, this would be an awesome place to stay for a night outside the city
  • Bonus! My favorite day trip from Seattle: Leavenworth. I visited once in December for the tree lighting ceremony (so darling), but I’ve heard Oktoberfest also warrants a trip to this idyllic mountain town. Don’t miss the Cheesemonger’s Shop or Visconti’s (if you visit in the winter, warm up with a hot toddy and seafood stew)

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Also, on my radar to check-out during future visits: Lionhead, Salare, Eden Hill, Sushi Kashiba, Herb & Bitter, Karaken Congee, Rooftop Brewing Company, Mollusk Restaurant & Brewery, Agua Verde, The Flying Apron, Phinney Market Pub & Eatery, Little Water Cantina.

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