08/ 30/ 17
If living in the Bay Area has taught me anything, it’s that saltwater and oceanfront views are nature’s greatest forms of therapy. That’s why Seattle, Washington has long been on my list of potential places to live. It’s got the Puget Sound on its left and Lake Washington to its right, a drool-worthy foodie culture, and the perfect balance between vibrant city life and the great outdoors. What more could a girl want?
During my first visit to Seattle, Dan & I fit in quite a lot in just five days. I thought I’d share my trip highlights with you so that if you decide to visit on your own, you already have some solid recommendations. Note the odd categorization — this is how I file things away in my brain. I’m weird, I know.
You obviously have to go to Pike Place Market, one of the country’s oldest and most famous farmers markets (don’t be a n00b and call it Pike’s Place). Watch as fishmongers throw fish into customer’s awaiting arms, peruse the artisan-made crafts, and enjoy the irresistible scent of freshly-baked breads wafting through the air.
Close by is Post Alley, a quaint street lined with tucked-away restaurants and bars. After exploring the market, we headed here to grab bowls of delicious clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder. The Gum Wall is also in Post Alley, which I completely forgot to look for (but after reading these Tripadvisor reviews that deem the wall “smelly and gross,” I’m totally okay with it).
We spent the rest of the afternoon aimlessly walking around and getting a feel for the city. Recommended downtown happy-hour spots we didn’t have time to check out include Japonessa and Purple Wine Bar. For dinner, we absolutely loved Matt’s at the Market. It’s a romantic, quintessential Seattle dinner spot with spectacular views of the Puget sound.
Luckily, my cousin generously let us borrow her car for the entirety of the trip, so we spent time driving around Queen Anne and admiring the incredible homes perched atop the highest named hill of the city. We stopped at Kerry Park for Frasier-worthy views and a few photos.
For lunch, we had crispy, hot fried chicken at Ezell’s, a hole-in-the-wall joint that has fried chicken so tasty that Oprah has it flown in for special occasions. It’s honestly a must-do in Seattle if you ask me, though it’s not located in a major neighborhood.
We also enjoyed walking around University Village, a beautifully-designed, open-air shopping center that reminded me of Palo Alto, California. I spotted Kumon, a tutoring academy that played a huge role in my childhood, and hilariously thought, “Okay great, a Kumon. I can raise children here!” If you stop by UVillage, definitely check out the world-famous Din Tai Fung for dim sum (get the truffle pork xiao long bao!).
Another low-key activity is exploring Ballard. They have an incredible farmer’s market on Sundays perfect for dog-watching, grabbing brunch, and listening to local musicians. For dinner, I highly recommend The Walrus and The Carpenter, a cozy oyster bar with incredible tapas and wines by the glass.
We ended up staying at my cousin’s place near the University of Washington because we knew we’d have the luxury of a car, but most Washington natives suggested we stay in Capitol Hill, a trendy neighborhood in the center of all the action. Must-sees in the neighborhood include The Elliott Bay Book Company (a charming bookstore that has its roots in Seattle), Oddfellows (a quaint and stylish cafe), and Molly Moon’s (an ice cream shop with homemade seasonal flavors).
That evening, we met up with a few friends to dance the night away at Neumos. It seems like they always have a great music calendar packed with artists and themed events (we went during the Jay Z & Beyoncé dance party, and it did not disappoint). If you’re out in Capitol Hill, top your night off with a Seattle dog, which is smothered in cream cheese and perfect for satisfying your drunchies.
Other recommended bars that we didn’t have a chance to check out include: Havana, Baltic Room, Rhino Room, Tavern Law, Kneehigh Stocking Co, Needle & Thread, Moe Bar, Unicorn, Cha-Cha Lounge. Needless to say, if you’re in party mode during your trip, Capitol Hill is the place to be!
To get a taste of the natural beauty Seattle has to offer, rent kayaks on Lake Union or Green Lake. We took the lazy route and rented a paddle boat to drift around Green Lake, and then stopped by Shelter Lounge for rosé and afternoon bites. We also BBQ’ed at Golden Gardens during sunset, a beautiful beachside state park with views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. You can also set up a beach bonfire and hike some easy trails here.
Last but certainly not least, my favorite day of the entire trip was when we took a ferry to Whidbey Island. Just north of Seattle, Whidbey Island is the perfect way to slow down and recharge after experiencing the bustle of the city. Head to Fort Casey State Park, Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, or Deception pass for breathtaking scenic vistas.
Stop by Coupeville and get mussels from Toby’s Tavern. (Their Yelp reviews are mediocre because the service is atrocious. But hey, that’s all part of the experience, right?) Their famously fresh mussels are scooped straight out of Penn Cove, and one pound of these beauties (paired with french fries, of course) are the perfect lunch for two. Grab dessert just across the street at Kapaw’s Ice Cream.
For dinner, head to the seaside town of Langley. Their downtown area is amazing — a quaint little strip of art galleries and restaurants. We dined al fresco at Portico, a latin bistro, and enjoyed sweet plantains, tacos, and guava juice as the sun set across the water.
All in all, Seattle is an incredible place to visit that has something for everyone. Did I miss any of your favorite Seattle spots? Leave a comment below or tweet me @katerinajeng!