Within the United States, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more picturesque region than the Pacific Northwest. “The Emerald City” in particular is breathtaking – with its sparkling bays and perpetual greenness. It’s almost as if someone plopped down a very modern city within a lush wilderness.
When people think of Seattle, rain invariably comes to mind. The skies can be – and most likely will be — gloomy. It wouldn’t make much sense to come here during the height of the rainy season. With that said, this shouldn’t be a deterrent from visiting the city. An umbrella and a hooded jacket will suffice quite nicely for any random sprinkling you may encounter.
You can get a great feel for Seattle in a 24-hour period – although it’s a safe bet you’ll want to extend your stay. The first thing that stood out to me was the people. They are exceptionally warm here. They’ll go out of their way to converse and offer valuable tips. It’s an indelible facet of this metropolis.
Additionally, public transportation in Seattle is terrific. The light rail will get you anywhere you want to go – whether it’s to the airport, or the University of Washington. A light rail station connects directly with the airport, and is very affordable. Uber and Lyft also work well for shorter trips.
Seattle is a TREMENDOUS food city. The seafood is world-renowned – as is the Asian cuisine. Assuming you arrive in the morning, you’ll want to grab some breakfast to fuel the beginning of your day. Head to the Capitol Hill neighborhood. You’ll find two great spots here.
The first one is Americana. It features a rustic menu with plenty of delicious, hearty options. A personal favorite is the maple-glazed pork belly with a corn/mozzarella pancake and scallion scrambled eggs. There’s generally a line for Americana. As such, it would make sense to get there on a weekday if possible, or when they first open.
Right down the street is a place called Witness. One could say the restaurant is rooted in Southern cuisine. It has an extensive ‘libations’ menu featuring satirical religious names – such as “Son of a Preacher Man,” “Heaven is a Place on Earth,” “Purgatory,” and “Divine Intervention.” It’s great for a mid-morning jolt, or as a Happy Hour option.
Food-wise…this place is unreal. Of all the cities I’ve traveled to, this may be the top breakfast spot I’ve encountered to date. The buttermilk beignets made you feel like you’re in New Orleans. Multiple patrons I met said this restaurant had the best chicken and waffles anywhere you will find (sorry Roscoe’s).
The piece de resistance was the Savannah cakes/biscuits and gravy combination. The Savannah cakes are buttery pancakes with a bit of a gritty texture. They are finished with a raspberry glaze. Couple the fruity sweetness with the savory nature of the rich sausage gravy on fluffy biscuits, and you’ll be a very happy person.
At this point, you won’t want to move. A deep food coma may set in. If you are able to roll yourself out of the restaurant, a stop at the famed Space Needle should be in order.
A tip: Don’t go up in the Space Needle. Locals will tell you it’s a waste. It’ll cost you $30 just to take an elevator to the top floor. You can get similar views of the city (with the Space Needle in the background) in other locations.
Right next to the Space Needle is the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Created by famed artist Dale Chihuly, the exhibit is dedicated to his work with blown glass sculptures.
Describing this truly wouldn’t do it justice. It’s simply fantastic – and something I highly recommend doing. For roughly $20 a ticket, it’s more than worth it.
Seattle isn’t an overly big city. It’s easy to get from place to place. The downtown area is only a stone’s throw away from the Chihuly exhibit.
There’s plenty to do here – whether it’s shopping or eating. Seattle also has a bustling music scene. Concert venues are scattered everywhere. As such, it’s very easy to catch live music all throughout the city.
Perhaps Seattle’s biggest export is Starbucks. The main attraction downtown is Pike Place Market. For those wanting to see the original Starbucks location, it’s right across the street from the front of the market.
The market itself is massive. Literally thousands of venders come to sell their products – which can range from homemade honey to specialized soaps and lotions. You can spend hours walking around and exploring the vast array of knickknacks made available to the public.
The “fish throwing” novelty is also fun to see in person. You’ll see a huge crowd of people surrounding a seafood vender. This will instantly direct you to the famous demonstration.
Directly behind the market is the ocean. You can weave through the venders via a set of ramps and steps in order to access multiple piers.
The city of Seattle includes a number of islands dispersed throughout the region. Using one of the many ferries, you can go and travel to any of these places in a short amount of time.
A recommendation includes going to Bainbridge Island from Pier 52 (Colman Dock). For only $8, you get a round-trip ticket. The 30-minute ride across the water is truly beautiful. As you leave Seattle, gravitate towards the back of the boat. You’ll get a wonderful shot of the entire Seattle skyline. This visual must be captured via your phone and/or camera.
Bainbridge Island feels like it would be a playground for Wes Anderson. It’s a twee place with small breweries, local art galleries, record stores, and various mom-and-pop restaurants. It also houses many of the most expensive and stunning properties in the greater Seattle area. The views are simply spectacular.
Once you’re back across the bay, hit Serious Pie. Seattle considers itself one of the best pizza cities in the country – and for good reason. Serious Pie is seriously good pizza.
Seattle offers something for everyone. The summer months are absolutely striking from a scenery standpoint. You’ll see people enjoying the “warm” months to its absolute fullest. There are many opportunities on the water – whether its boating, fishing, or any sort of water sport. There are also mass amounts of hiking trails for those wanting to traverse the mountainous areas.
Foodies will love the eclectic nature of the city. Fans of art and music will be inundated by oodles of burgeoning artists.
There’s also a great sports scene here – with the Seahawks, Mariners, and Sounders all sharing two stadiums within feet of each other. In terms of passion, the respective fan bases are amongst the best in all of American sports.
When it comes down to it, the natural beauty of Seattle encapsulates a communal feel. The people here make the city nearly as alluring as the marvelous atmosphere itself.
Image Sources: Jason Fray